Updated July 1st 2016
Established September 2001
by Steve Hammonds
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.
We regret to inform readers of the deaths of the following former
Ray J. Davies (Lt. Cdr., RD, RNR) of Werfa House, Abernant, died
on July 9, 2016, aged 85. Ray attended the County School 1941–46. His funeral
service took place on Tuesday July 19 at St Elvan’s Church,
followed by burial at Aberdare Cemetery.
Richard George Jones of Penrhiw, Monk Street, died on Friday July
8, aged 73. Richard was a solicitor in both Mountain Ash and the
Rhondda. He was one of the three sons of Mrs Margaret & Mr Maldwyn E. Jones (Builders’
Merchant of Duke Street). Richard attended Caradog Junior School,
ABGS (1954–62) and
UCW Aberystwyth. He was noted amongst other things for his proficiency
at the game of chess. His funeral took place on Monday July 18,
with interment at Aberdare Cemetery.
Christopher Jones ABGS (1958–1965). Christopher was associated
with Lewis’s Shoe Shop in Canon Street, situated next to The Palladium. He
died aged 70. His funeral will be held at St John’s Church,
Aberdare at 12:15 on Friday July 29th, followed by burial
at Maesyarian Cemetery, Mountain Ash. Any former pupils who intend to go to the funeral
should confirm these details.
Graham Bevan ABGS (1958–1964) has died recently aged 71. Graham
was captain of the school rugby 1st XV in the 1963–64 season.
Thomas John Price ABGS (1948–56) died at the end of May aged
79. His funeral service took place at St John’s Church on June 14th, 2016.
We extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of
these former pupils of the school.
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.
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
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
David Williams 1997–2004
Chris Lewis 1985–1992
Mark Blackmore 1987–1994
Malcolm B. Lloyd has contributed many items to
this website. Malcolm, who was at school 1942–50, has lived in Virginia, USA,
for many years, but he was back in Aberdare in June revisiting
his old haunts. He was brought up in the Beecham grocery store
in High Street marked in the photo.
While he and his wife Pam
were looking around the town, they met a lady near St. John’s
Church who knew Malcolm’s mother - née Mary Beecham! They talked a while
and then had coffee in what was the Town Hall, now
Bradley’s Coffee Shop.
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
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
A planning application, 15/1556/23, can be seen near the
top of page 2 on
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
opposition from local residents to the proposed
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
(Available only to those with UK IP addresses.)
The ABGS Old Clock Tower House asking price is
still £250,000 Freehold.
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.
Aberdare High School, The Lower School, Summer 2013.
Aberdare High School, The Upper School, Summer 2013.
Trecynon School Clock
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
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
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.