From the 1930’s throughout the second world war and into the 1950’s the licensee of the Swan Inn, St. Asaph , was Mr. Edward Jones. Not only was he well known in the community as a local ‘mine host’ but he was also a talented conjurer and was well known throughout North Wales under his stage name of ‘Professor Jeson’.
Although skilled at slight of hand and with a repertoire of magic tricks to delight his many audiences from on stage or behind the bar, he would, no doubt, be amazed by the current turn of events which now sees his great great grandson, Matthew Ryan, behind the bar which was his home for so many years.
Edward Jones (Ted) and his wife Florrie were the parents of Gwen Hodgkinson and grandparents of Ken and Beryl Hodgkinson and Matthew is the grandson of Ken & Denise Hodgkinson and son of Gareth and Jill Ryan.
Matthew, who is 22 years old and a former pupil of Denbigh High School, took over the management of The Swan in February of this year having previously gained experience in the hospitality industry at Bod Erw and at the Cricket Club where he is a former captain and playing member with the lst XI and, as a junior player gained a Welsh Cap.
Matthew has worked behind the bar at the Swan for several years and, as a keen sports enthusiast, enjoys the camaraderie of the clientele at The Swan where sporting matches are screened, a keen darts team operates, and St. Asaph FC gather post matches.
Not a great deal has changed at The Swan in the years since “Ted” was in charge. The bar is now larger having taken in what was originally a dairy between Ellwood House (now the Vetinerary Practice) and the original Swan Inn, the choice of beers is no longer controlled by Marstons Brewery, and The Swan is now owned by Gwyn Williams of Spring Gardens who has plans for future improvements to ensure that The Swan, one of the oldest remaining public houses in the city, has an even longer and more successful future.
In the North Wales Directories for1818-1936 Mr.Jones is listed in 1932 as the proprietor of The Swan as a “fully licensed CTC House catering for parties” and during the Second World War the bar hosted many serving soldiers from all over Britain and America who were stationed at Kinmel Camp.
Matthew Ryan told the City Times this week “I’m looking forward to helping to build the business and, hopefully, develop an attractive beer garden at the rear of the premises which will provide a really good space for customers during the summer months with space for barbeques etc. It’s amazing that this pub was once run by my great great grandfather and I hope he would be pleased to know that I am now behind the bar which was once such a big part of his life. and where my grandfather spent much of his early life.”