Site of St Mary's Convent School, Rhyl

button-theme-evacbutton-theme-womenSite of St Mary’s Convent School, Rhyl

On the south side of this wall was St Mary’s Convent School, from 1900 to 1967. Its past pupils included the Mills & Boon novelist Roberta Leigh, who also created early puppet shows for children's television.

The building was a large residence called Bryntirion Hall before the school moved in. The school was linked to a convent in Namur, Belgium, and some of the nuns were Belgian. After much of Belgium was occupied by Germany in the First World War, the nuns arranged for refugees to come to Rhyl. The school was demolished in 1971 and the site re-used for housing.

Roberta Leigh was educated at the school after being evacuated to Prestatyn during the Second World War. She was a prolific writer of romantic fiction. She began her writing here at the convent at the age of 14, scribbling away by torchlight under the bedclothes!

She developed a reputation among her school friends for her ability to compose an instant plot. Born Rita Shulman in 1926, she wrote under a variety of noms de plume. Her first novel was published in 1950 and she went on to have over 160 titles published by Harlequin and Mills & Boon. She became the youngest writer to be given a Foyles Literary Lunch.

She also created and produced popular puppet shows broadcast by ITV during the late 1950s and 1960s. People of a certain age will fondly remember The Adventures of Twizzle, Torchy the Battery Boy, Space Patrol and Sara and Hoppity. She died in 2014.

With thanks to Ruth Pritchard, of Rhyl History Club, and Toni Vitti

Postcode: LL18 3RA    View Location Map

More about the wartime refugees – Belgian Refugees in Rhyl website