Cambrian Photography shop, Colwyn Bay

Cambrian Photography shop, 87-89 Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay

Cambrian Photography has been a feature of Colwyn Bay since 1962. In the era of Box Brownie cameras, holidaymakers would queue outside at opening time to have fresh film loaded into their cameras in readiness for the day ahead.

The business has remained in the same family since it was established by Dick Duncalf in 1946, when he began taking portraits at his studio in Tywyn, Meirionnydd (now Gwynedd). He also photographed weddings. In 1962 he opened his second studio in a former greengrocers’ shop in Colwyn Bay, the right-hand half of today’s shop. When travelling between the two became too onerous, he withdrew from Tywyn.

Dick and his son Mark, who now runs the business, photographed some famous people, including Queen Elizabeth II. Mountaineer Chris Bonnington was a regular customer – the Duncalf family’s services even extended to babysitting for his child!

As the Colwyn Bay business evolved to cover sales of film, photographic equipment and binoculars for birdwatchers, the next-door shop, formerly a drapers’ shop, was taken over (where the entrance is now). Abergele Road was the main route across North Wales until the 1980s, and the original doorway to the shop went out of use after an articulated lorry jack-knifed and crashed into the frontage in the 1970s.

In 2014, layers of paint were stripped from the original grocers’ shop furniture to reveal the smart joinery and the brass plate of shopfitters Parnall & Sons. The small drawers in the lower section once held pulses and spices, which can still be scented when the drawers are opened today. In the late 1940s and 1950s, the grocers’ shop was run by Norman Jones, who also owned this building.

With thanks to Graham Roberts, of Colwyn Bay Civic Society

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL29 7SA

Website of Cambrian Photography