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SOLOMON LAWRENCE PARKER 1908 - 1999
Solomon Lawrence Parker was born in Blackpool in 1908,
In 1928 at the age of 20 he got his first experience of working in the amusement industry when secured the position of key-man at Mr Bestwicks amusement Arcade in Rhyl
it was there that he met Mary Gizzi, Mary was the arcade cashier, Romance blossomed and He and Mary married in September 1930,
they went on to operate a number of arcades around the north Wales coast, The Black Cat Arcade on Rhyl's promenade being the one everyone remembers the most.
In the American prohibition years of the 1930s he imported quantities of illegal one arm bandits that had been confiscated by the American police,
some he converted into new cabinets before selling them on through the trade,
after the second world war he did the same thing with German Beromat type machines.
In the 1940s and 50s he owned and trained race horses at his stables on Dyserth Road Rhyl. At one time he had 20 horses stabled there.
The horses could be seen regularly being put through there paces on the sands on Rhyl sea front.
Mary also had an interest in horses and
Solomon bought her a horse named “Ships Bell”.In 1950 it was entered in the Grand National, it finished in 6th place.
Solomon was also a keen sailor and boat owner, in 1977 at the age of 69, he took part in the first ever Mini-sat 650 Transatlantic race,
He sailed his boat "The Spirit of Talardy" single handedly acrossed the Atlantic from Penzance to Antigua,
He finished the race just in time to celebrate his 70th birthday.
Solomon remained active in the family business right up to his death in 1999 at the age of 90 years.
His legacy lives on to this day under the watchful eye of his two sons Jimmy & Brian Parker.
And without Jimmy's help this page would not have been possible.
SOME OF THE MANY TRADE EXHIBITONS THAT PARKERS ATTENDED IN THE 1950S & 60S
Sorry about the play on words “when Harry met Solly”
One day in 1958 Solomon was working his trade stand at the Amusement Caterers Exhibition in London, when he was approached by four well dressed
West Indian men, Hi said one of the four, my name is Harry Wilmot and we are the Southladers, They were very interested in the jukeboxes that
were on display, I am not sure if they purchased one but they did draw quite a crowd around the stand as they posed for photos and signed autographs.
SOLOMON & THE SOUTHLANDERS
Parkers first started making allwins in the 1950s mainly for their own arcades, but once word of the quality
of the machine got known orders started to come in from other showmen & arcade operators.
As you can see from the photos Parkers offered 2 styles of cabinet, you could have the standard square box style,
or the more desirable deco style with its rounded corners and polished veneer finish,
around 2000 allwins were produced over the years, They also brought old "Beromat" type wall machine from Germany,
a lot of which were re-manufactured into new more modern cabinets, again some were kept
for their own arcades and others were sold on through trade shows and word of mouth.
Mr.BESTWICKS ARCADE RHYL.
Photos Courtesy of Peter Trehearn (Bernard Bestwicks Grandson).
This is the arcade were Solly got his first job as keyman in 1929,
it is also where he met his wife Mary.
the other photo shows Solly smoking his pipe and talking to Bernard Bestwick outside the arcade.
PARKERS BRIGHT SPOT ARCADE RHYL. 1960s
The Bright Spot arcade was the first arcade that Solly owned,
he stared out renting it from Mr Groves, and after a few years he bought it outright.
PARKERS SECOND ARCADE. 1930s
This arcade had a sign above the door which read " UKANCUMINANHAVSUMFUM",
it was sited down near the funfair, as you can see the sign was also used on the bright spot arcade in the 1950s & 60s.
PARKERS BLACK CAT ARCADE RHYL. 1960s
PARKERS BLACK CAT TOWYN Nr. ABERGELE. 1960s
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