As work on a history-focused Conwy app moves up a gear, scooter riders have opened their photo albums to share unseen photographs which show Colwyn Bay’s days as a mecca for mods.
Drawing admiring glances and crowds of enthusiastic devotees during the early 80s, scooter groups would descend on the town’s old coal yard near Station Road. These get-togethers would attract people from across the country, sparking a lifelong love affair with two wheels for some.
Now, for the first time, those heady days are being explored in a new app dedicated to capturing the history behind famous landmarks, stories, events and places in Colwyn Bay and beyond.
Called Imagine Trail, the app is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and being pulled together by a range of partners, including TAPE Community Music & Film, Colwyn Bay Heritage Group, and Conwy County Borough Council. It will bring some of Conwy’s area’s rich history to life through animated videos, sound recordings and interviews.
And for Llanfairfechan’s Frank Allison and Towyn’s Derek ‘Degzy’ McFee, taking part in the development of the app was a chance to take a trip down memory lane. Both are founder members of the Skull Snaps scooter group, which has been going for 10 years. But for Degzy and Frank, their love of scooters dates back to the 1960s and 1970s when they started riding.
63-year-old Frank, who still has his very first scooter, a Lambretta Li150, said having the Colwyn Bay scooter rallies included in the app meant local history would not be ‘forgotten or fabricated.’
Frank got his first scooter aged 17 but said it was the release of the film Quadrophenia, which sparked an explosion in the number of mods.
Opening up his picture album publicly for the first time, Frank said the Colwyn Bay rallies were good-tempered affairs, something not always experienced outside of the area.
“There has always been talk about the conflict between mods and rockers, and it very definitely wasn’t an urban myth. Sometimes it was terrifying. In the early days, I was chased out of one North Wales town by bikers – or greasers as we called them – wielding chains, and on an outing to Frodsham, I had to ride into a poor guy’s garage to escape.
To this day, it’s hard to say what the animosity was about – clothes, music and bikes, I guess – but at the time, it was terrifying. We were young lads, and the greasers were often much older than us. Fortunately, the Colwyn Bay scooter rallies were better tempered, although the police still came out in force. To have the memories, sounds, and stories captured on the Imagine app means important parts of Colwyn Bay’s cultural history won’t be forgotten.”
Frank’s gallery of pictures shows the Colwyn Bay rallies through the years and trips to neighbouring resorts. When he is not helping as a volunteer at a Covid vaccination centre, Degzy, 71, is out and about with fellow riders.
TAPE’s Neil Dunsire said the Imagine app would be ‘packed’ with inspiring and exciting history.
The app will be released across all platforms in September.
Keep an eye on https://tapemusicandfilm.co.uk/imagine/
TAPE Community Music and Film
Tel: 01492 512109 Charity number: 1151513
TAPE Community Arts Centre,