Moss Evans Shop, Market Street, Rhos

by dave edwards

Moss Evans Shop, Market Street, Rhos. Standing beside Capel Mawr on Brook Street and looking towards Market Street, you will see Berlin House and to the right of it is number 48 Market Street, the former home of Moss Evans’ Ironmonger’s shop.  In 1911, Berlin House was a Drapery Establishment run by Mrs E. T. Bates and number 48 was Mr. M. C. Evans’ Ironmongery Stores.

During a Facebook discussion on the subject, Graham Evans told us that the two brothers who worked there were called Bert and Powys Evans.  Moss Evans was their father. According to Anne Evans, Moss Evans’ wife was a teacher in Ponciau school infants.

Grev Jones mentioned that Bert and Powys were identical twins and that Powys enlisted in the Great War but Bert was given exemption to help his father Moss in their hardware shop.

Philip Phillips spent a lot of time in their shop with his father.  He too remembers them as twins and thought that their shop was like the old curiosity shop. Repairs were labelled and some had been there for years.  Philip actually bought his first car from Powys – an MG Magnette TUN 793 1959 with 27,000 miles on the clock.

Grev Jones commented, “As Philip Phillips said, the shop was really like a curiosity shop.  You could even buy single screws or nails there! I remember a bicycle hanging for years from hooks in the ceiling and buying an element for my dad’s kettle which took an age to boil the water. Bert said that slow heating elements lasted much longer than others and were a better buy. Almost put us off drinking tea!!Bottom of Form“

David Maddocks remembers, “if you wanted anything for the home, doesn’t matter what, go to Moss Evans and guaranteed they have got it.”  Ieuan Roberts recalled that Moss Evans’s was a wonderful shop and there was always a blow lamp with a low flame on the counter so they could light their fags. Ieuan’s dad may have got it when the shop shut and Ieuan says it may still be in his house somewhere.

Ray Griffiths would go to Moss Evans to collect the charged lead acid battery to run the radio at home.  “Just fancy carrying one of these batteries across Pant works and swinging it overhead with today’s health and safety”, said Ray.  Carole Jones also remembered that when she was four or five she carried an old fashioned battery in a jar to be charged at Moss’s shop.

Berlin House is on the corner of Butcher’s Row and Market Street and next to Berlin House was Moss’s shop.  Megan Rowley lived just a couple of doors down from there as a child and recalls another entrance (like an entry) to the right of Moss’s shop that took you to the back of the living accommodation.

Kerry Griffiths thought that Moss Evans shop was a wonderful shop to visit.  He remembers their huge cabinet, with hundreds of drawers, filled with all sorts of things, such as nails of any size, screws, nuts and bolts, small tools etc.  The drawers were numbered.  Kerry said you could buy panes of glass from there if you just told them what size you needed.

Hilary Brown mentioned the Welsh shop, near the Stiwt in Broad Street, which was kept by Edward and Olwen Jones, whose son is called Emyr Prys Jones.  Ieuan Roberts told us that “after Emyr Prys Jones retired (from Llysfasi College I think) he and his wife Joan opened a Welsh shop in the former premises of Moss Evans’ shop on Market Street.”  Emyr explained to me that, “Joan and I sold our home and bought an old house and shop in Rhos which had been empty for some years.

People said that we were mad to try and start a business there at such a difficult time but we sold the things we had some knowledge of and what we knew the area liked and always concentrated upon quality.  We both believe that is what made our business a success and we had a good life for ten years.”  Before opening the shop, Joan was a nursing Sister in the Wrexham hospital and gave up her profession for the shop.

They had a beautiful home above and behind the shop and the back door was up the entry along side of the shop as was previously described.  A few months after opening, they were able to purchase Berlin House too, “to be able to get full access to the warehouse which belongs to Shop Prys.”  

Hilary Brown said her mother always bought her wool from there. Andrew Hopwood remembers that “they sold wool and sewing kit brushes for painting and water colouring kits”. Andrew remembers Joan as being “very proud Welsh; strong willed and no nonsense,” but Andrew was only young then and probably needed a few stern looks 😉

Emyr Prys Jones is, of course, the artist who created the beautiful stained glass window in the Stiwt and his Market Street shop was known locally as Siop Prys.  Sheila Gracie worked in Siop Prys for Mr and Mrs Prys Jones.  Rhianon Jones had a Saturday job at Siop Prys and remembers Mrs Jones buying cream cakes for their tea break.  I told Joan about this and she answered, “Of course I remember Sheila and her mum and sister etc.  She was my right hand lady, and very very good at the job.  Rhiannon was a Saturday girl so she was not there as much as the others, but I remember her … where is she now?   It was nice that she remembered the cakes; she probably was the one who went for them.”

When Joan retired from the shop it was rented out to the Halifax Bank.  They kept Berlin House for a while and rented it out, but they became too busy in number 48, so they sold Berlin House.  Joan and Emyr still own number 48 Market Street.

Berlin House became Nightingale Hospice Charity Shop, which now rents number 48.  Berlin House then became a Community Café.

COMPILED BY: Dave Edwards April 2015

SOURCES: 1911 Census; Graham Evans; Grevin Jones; Emyr Prys Jones; Philip Phillips; Ieuan Roberts; Ray Griffiths; Carole Jones; Megan Rowley; Kerry Griffiths; Andrew Hopwood; Rhianon Jones; Hilary Brown; Joan Jones; David Maddocks

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