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The Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

1896 – 1978

A personal record of the life and times of the
County Grammar School for Boys
published by the old pupils of the School

Contents

Latest additions

Updated June 1st 2016

Established September 2001
by Steve Hammonds

Old_School

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.

Notices
 

 *** July Reunion *** 
Owing to the relatively small number of past students who have signed up for the proposed July reunion, it has been decided to cancel the event. Many thanks to Richard Evans for his efforts to get the reunion organised.

Acknowledgements
ABGS and ABCS PICTURES 1970-present

Users of the website might like to note that Mr Graham Jones, the school caretaker from 1980–2014, played a vital role in rescuing a great number of the school photographs for posterity. He also sounded the alarm to alert others. Without his efforts, many photos might have been lost.

It’s worth relating an incident at the school in the early 1990s. There was a break-in via the roof into the Lower school Music room which set off the alarm. The police attended together with Graham. The thieves scarpered of course. Graham, in pouring rain then replaced the roof tiles at 4 a.m. to prevent further damage. Graham is a man in a million.

Sincere thanks go to the P.E. staff, in particular to Mr Andy Price for his assistance with collecting photos for the website. Mr Graham Powell, ex Head of P.E., has also played a major part in the process over the years.

Mr Terry Harding was able to supply many of the photos of the Jazz Band.

Mr Bernard Evans, Deputy Head 1980-1997, arranged for photographers to call at the school regularly in the face of the indifference perhaps of some. Most of the photos would not have existed otherwise.

Lastly thanks must also go to Mr Ian Machin the final Head of the Boys’ School and to Mrs Sue Davies OBE, the first Head of Aberdare Community School for their cooperation. Various office staff have also been very helpful.

An Apology — A great number of past pupils and others have contributed names for the photographs on the site and these individuals are usually named alongside the photos. However a small number of contributors are not named as their details have been mislaid for whatever reason. The following list is intended to try to make amends. Any omissions are purely accidental.
Nathan Drewett 1992-1999
Lewis Miles 1995–2002
David Williams 1997–2004
Chris Lewis 1985–1992
Mark Blackmore 1987–1994

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.

The former Plasdraw School
On May 19th last, the local press reported the latest news of the plans for the old Aberdare Girls’ Grammar School Building and grounds, giving details of the conversion of the 1913 building into flats, and the building of bungalows in the grounds to the rear. The article can be seen here. A planning application, 15/1556/23, can be seen near the top of page 2 on this document.

The co-developer is Swallow Hill Homes who show on their website an example of another former school that they are converting.
On May 30th, the local press reported opposition from local residents to the proposed conversion.
There is also news about the disposal of furniture and equipment in the schools that have closed.

2016 Tour of Britain : A date for cycling enthusiasts is Thursday 8 September when Stage Five of the Tour begins in Aberdare, heading across South Wales and through the Forest of Dean into Gloucestershire before the finish in Bath.

Archie Bucknell Andrews, ABGS 1912–13
Aberaman residents may be interested in taking a look at a 10-minute silent film made by Aberaman pharmacist Archie Bucknell Andrews in 1945. Archie filmed street celebrations in Aberaman after the end of World War 2. His shop was at 218 Cardiff Road, where a similar shop exists to this day. The film is held in the The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, (NSSAW), which is based at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. The film can be viewed on-line here. (Available only to those with UK IP addresses.)

The ABGS Old Clock Tower House asking price is still £250,000 Freehold.

 
Cwmdare Rd School

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.
For further details of the reorganisation scheme published in 2011, click here.

 
Lower School 2013
Aberdare High School, The Lower School, Summer 2013.
 
Upper School 2013
Aberdare High School, The Upper School, Summer 2013.
 

Trecynon School Clock

clock tower

The asking price of ‘The Old Clock Tower’ house was reduced to £250,000 in early October 2015. The tower and adjacent room have been converted into a new home that 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 fittings. Details of the property can be seen on the estate agent’s website by clicking here.

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.

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contacts

Related Link

Aberdare Girls Grammar School
Former Blaengwawr School

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Aerial Views

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.