Former military science college building, Rhyl

Former military science college building, Rhyl

The Twiltex flooring and furniture shop occupies the former Westcliffe Garage, which was commandeered in the Second World War for military scientists.

In the 1930s the garage provided parking for holidaymakers who preferred not to leave their cars in Rhyl’s streets, exposed to rain and salty air from the sea. The business had enough spaces for 150 cars.

The Royal Military College of Science grew out of the Royal Artillery Institution, established in Woolwich, London, in 1840 for the study of science and foreign languages. By the late 1930s the college had several professors and covered a variety of subjects including electrical engineering, metallurgy, chemistry and mechanical traction (such as propulsion of tanks).

In 1939 the college was evacuated from Woolwich to escape the expected aerial bombing of London. First it went to Kent. After the Nazis occupied France, Kent was feared to be vulnerable to attack and the college moved north, to three different towns.

The college’s mechanical traction section came to Rhyl and took over several garages, including this one. In 1941 it was separated from the rest of the college and renamed the Royal Artillery Mechanical Traction School. It continued to use the garages until the second half of 1944, when it moved to a nearby camp. It relocated to Bordon, Hampshire, in 1945.

Military chaplain Major Norman Copeland (1900-1995) belonged to the college and lived in Rhyl during the war. His book Psychology and the Soldier was first published in the USA in 1942. It was well used across the world for many years as a guide to training and leading soldiers.

With thanks to Taras Hrytsevych and Rhyl History Club

Postcode: LL18 1LG    View Location Map

Website of Twiltex Rhyl

Rhyl History Club blog - more about the science college in Rhyl