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
Aberdare High School (Cwmdare Rd), Aberdare Girls School (at Plasdraw
& The Gadlys), as well as Blaengwawr Comprehensive School all closed
at the end of the summer term in July. At Plasdraw in particular
the closure was felt with strong emotion by the Old Girls
who assembled there on July 14th, as for this school it also
marked the end of one hundred years of continuous education
of girls at this site.
Three of the buildings will be used temporarily from the beginning
of next term in September to accommodate the pupils and newly
appointed staff of the mixed Aberdare Community School.
They will vacate these buildings when the new school currently being constructed
at The Ynys becomes available. The Gadlys School, whose building is 107 years old,
will not be used.
The 28-page colour commemorative booklet, “End of an Era”,
distributed at the final Prize and Speech Evening of Aberdare
School can be read, or downloaded, here.
Gadlys School Buildings
The auction of Gadlys School buildings took place on the morning
of Monday, July 14th when the school building was sold for
£188,000. However, the plot of land behind the school, and which was auctioned
separately failed to sell on this occasion.
Gadlys School, designed by Aberdare architect Thomas Roderick,
was opened on 7 October 1907 as The Higher Standard Schools,
and took over the function of the Higher Grade School, opened
in 1890, that was housed in part of the Town Council School
buildings in Clifton St. These schools, which operated under
elementary school regulations, taught the higher standards,
VI, VII and VIII, which smaller elementary schools were not
able to provide. Initially, the intake to the County School
was dominated by the pupils from the Higher Grade and later
the Higher Standard Schools. Pupils spent one or two
years at these schools after leaving their original elementary
school. A photograph of the Girls’ Department
side of the Gadlys School in its early days can be seen
note the fence running from the central tower separating the
from that of the boys! The school in its initial form was laid
out symmetrically about the tower, with separate assembly halls
for the boys and for the girls. The cost of building the school
and it was opened by Rees Llewellyn of Bwllfa, as chairman
of the Education Committee. When declaring the building open,
his speech was straight to the point: he hoped that “all
would come out better than they went in.” The Aberdare Leader report
of the opening ceremony is on page 3 in the issue dated 12
October 1907, and is available
Girls’ School Centenary Booklet
The Aberdare Girls’ School Centenary Booklet is available
for purchase from the school, price £4 plus £1 UK p&p, Aberdare
Girls’ School, Cwmbach Road, Aberdare, CF44 0NF. Tel. 01685 872460.
Aberdare Community School
Past students can keep abreast of the building developments
at the new Aberdare Community School by visiting its website,
which is at
A video presentation including an interview with First Minister
Carwyn Jones, Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Education and Skills,
Headteacher Mrs Sue Davies & student Elis Nash can
be found in the ‘News’ section.
Some Background Information about Aberdare County
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 (opens in new window). The school adopted a new badge, which shows
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
is now a large sports hall on the site, behind the two-story block on the right.
The new hall is both a school and a community facility. The decision has been made
by RTCBC to close the Boys’ High School, the Girls Comprehensive (at Plasdraw
and The Gadlys) and Blaengwawr Comprehensive School. It is intended that the pupils
of all three schools will be housed in a new school to be built at The Ynys, near
the centre of Aberdare, and which is planned to open in September 2014. Aberdare
would then have three secondary schools instead of the current five.
For further details of the reorganisation scheme, 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’ is £275,000.
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. 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 current owner
is Ray Radnedge of Radnedge Architectural Antiques in Llanelli. In the article he
says 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.
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.