Welcome to the website of the old Aberdare Boys’ Grammar
School. The web server continues to provide pages to visitors from all over the
world, and the website continues to grow thanks to your contributions. If you have
any photos or documents to share please let me know - my email address can be found
in the panel on the right. Alternatively, you may wish to make a suggestion for
an entry in the Former Pupils section, if so please let me have details, and a picture
if possible. To see full details of what has been added recently, click the link
shown below ‘Latest Additions’ in the column on the left. Thank you
again to all those who have already made contributions by writing short articles
or by sending in photos.
The ABGS Old Clock Tower House
The estate agent for the sale of the clock tower property
shows it be sold subject to contract.
ABCS Cwmdare Road Building
It has been reported
in WalesOnline by Sam Tegeltija that a planning application for the construction ‘98
residential units’ has been made by W.D. Lewis Homes. This would take place
on the plot occupied by the 1964 Upper Comprehensive School building on Cwmdare
Road. The Lower
School building is now the Ty Gwyn/Coleg Tai Education Centre.
Plasdraw Girls’ School
It has been reported
by WalesOnline that
the conversion of the old Aberdare Girls’ Grammar School building into dwellings
has been recommended for approval and may get planning permission
at a committee meeting of RCTCBC in the first week of October.
Update, planning permission was granted, see Sam Tegeltija’s latest report.
New Cynon Valley Political Party
A new political party for the Cynon Valley received approval
from the Electoral Commission in mid-September. Businessmen
Andrew Chainey, (ABCS 1982–87), and Graham Marsh, (ABGS
1970–75), are behind
the initiative which aims to have a candidate stand in
every ward of the Cynon Valley for the local government
election next May, and subsequently to represent the Cynon
Valley on Rhondda Cynon Tâf
County Borough Council. WalesOnline have presented this
article about the development.
Cynon Valley Coal
Past students who no longer visit Aberdare regularly may not be
aware that very large shipments of coal are still made from
the Cynon Valley, specifically by rail from the open cast operations
at Hirwaun via Aberdare to the Aberthaw B power station. However,
these shipments may soon be coming to and end because the European Court of Justice
has ruled that
nitrogen oxide emissions from the power station are too high.
Consequently, the owner of the station, RWE AG, is downgrading
its operations at Aberthaw from April 2017. It is thought that this will impact the
several coal operations in south Wales that currently supply
the station, and will probably end 160 years of coal production
in the Aberdare area. Aberthaw B opened
in 1971 and can generate 1555MW of electricity, sufficient
to meet the needs of a population ten times that of Cardiff.
You can read more about this from BBC News,
Coleg y Cymoedd
Progress on the new build of Coleg y Cymoedd (Aberdare Campus),
aka Aberdare College, can be followed on this
webpage. This development is taking place between the railway station and the
River Cynon, and is on the road that links Robertstown to the bottom Abernant Road.
The County School War Memorials
Both the First and Second World War Memorials are now safely housed, and
on display, at the Aberdare Community School. This relocation
of the plaques was achieved by the determined endeavours of the Headteacher and
her staff for which they must be thanked. However to return the plaques to a state
which they deserve, both are in need of professional restoration.
Some Background Information about Aberdare County School
The school building was completed in July 1894 but, for reasons explained
in the History section of this website, opened two years later on September 28th,
1896 as The Aberdare Technical and Intermediate Schools with Head Master W. Jenkyn
Thomas and four assistant teachers: two men and two women. There were 141 pupils
present by the end of the first term, 88 boys and 53 girls, taught in mixed classes
for the majority of their subjects, although the building had separate entrances
for boys and girls.
The school soon became known as The County School and remained
so until the early sixties when the Grammar School name became more widely used.
The pupils from the lower end of the Cynon Valley left in 1907 when Mountain Ash
County School opened initially at Gwernifor, Miskin, moving to Dyffryn House much
later in 1926. Then in 1913, the girls together with the women staff left for their
own school in Plasdraw.
There was little significant change at the County School in terms
of the nature of staffing and curriculum over the years until the Trecynon buildings
were vacated in 1964 and the school relocated to the bottom of Cwmdare Hill.
In 1978 the Boys’ Grammar School closed and there was a
fairly smooth transition to comprehensive status, when the Aberdare Boys Comprehensive
School opened. Many of the existing staff were reappointed to the new school which
was housed in the ex-grammar school buildings on Cwmdare Road, as the upper school.
The buildings of Rhydywaun Secondary Modern School in Penywaun, which had also changed
status, housed the lower school. The lower school at Rhydywaun was eventually brought
to a new building at Cwmdare Road after two serious fires at Rhydywaun caused almost
complete loss of its buildings.
From September 1st, 2009 Aberdare Boys Comprehensive School,
was renamed Aberdare High School. The school adopted a new badge, which showed a
similarity to the original grammar school design with ‘dragon and book’.
The picture, above right, shows the school as it was in 1978, but additionally there
was a large sports hall added to the site, behind the two-story block on the right.
The new hall was both a school and a community facility.
In 2011, the decision was made by RTCBC to close the Boys’ High
School, the Girls Comprehensive (at Plasdraw and The Gadlys) and Blaengwawr Comprehensive
School. It was intended that the pupils of all three schools would be housed in
the new school to be built at The Ynys, near the centre of Aberdare, and which was
initially planned to open in September 2014. By September 2014 Aberdare had three
secondary schools instead of the existing five. The new Aberdare Community School
did open in September 2014, but only in name, and a move into the incomplete new
school buildings was deferred until 2015. The temporary homes of the new school
were at the former Blaengwawr, Aberdare High and Aberdare Girls (Plasdraw) buildings.
Pupils started moving out of these old buildings and moving into the new building
in the summer term of 2015, with examination candidates remaining in the Cwmdare
Road building to take their examinations. The Girls’ School and its 3 acres
of land in Plasdraw was sold at auction on July 13th 2015 for £415,000.
Aberdare High School, The Lower School, Summer 2013.
Aberdare High School, The Upper School, Summer 2013.
Trecynon School Clock
The tower and adjacent room
have been converted into a new home that was featured in both
the South Wales Echo and the Cynon Valley Leader in July 2009,
and again in
October 2015. The Echo article was particularly impressive with a three-page
spread, including a full-page photo of the building on the
front page of the homeWALES supplement. The owner at the time
of the Echo article was Ray Radnedge of Radnedge Architectural
Antiques in Llanelli. In the article he said he initially purchased
the clock only. But he then heard that the tower was to be
demolished by the developer, so he bought that too. The inside
pages show several views of both the exterior and of the internal
property was reported ‘sold subject to contract’ in October 2016.
A gallery of photographs showing the reinstatement of the clock
can be found in the School Building section of this website. The weather vane now
completes the architectural fittings at the top of the dome, and the clock faces
are now illuminated at night. The clock, which had been removed for restoration
and repair, consists of a two-and-a-half tonne structure made of solid oak with
cast iron facings, copper roof, and a 10 ft pendulum.
If you have any comments, or contributions for the site, click here for a feedback
form, or contact the editor via email:
Use the box below to find something or someone on this site:
Aberdare is one of the areas in the UK where the online satellite maps from
Google Maps are of a high resolution.
Go to Google Maps to look down on the old school site and to explore the rest of the town.