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The Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

1896 to 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  December 1st 2014

Established September 2001
by Steve Hammonds

December 2014

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

Dr Douglas Rees a physiologist and former pupil, (ABGS 1955-63), was recently featured on a government website for his work in developing a new product which keeps donor transplant organs and tissues functioning for three times longer than was previously possible. The article can be seen here.

Cynon Valley Museum & Gallery Encouraging news about the future of this civic facility was reported in the local press on December 17th.

In Memory of
Past Students of
Aberdare Boys’
Grammar School.

We Will
Remember Them.

The Remembrance Ceremony at Aberdare took place in November. Philip Walters, (ABGS 1949-57), arranged with the British Legion for a wreath bearing the school crest to be laid at the cenotaph on the occasion of the anniversary of the Great War and on Remembrance Sunday. Laid by the Head Boy of Aberdare Community School, it was one of many, including those from the current secondary schools.

The ceremony took place in heavy rain and the participants resolutely stood their ground in front of the Cenotaph, many without any protection from the weather. A photograph of the wreath being placed in position can be seen here; and in its resting in place on the cenotaph here; these photographs are two of the large number taken by John Rees Photography of Aberdare.

Local authority mergers in Wales: Although there seems to be considerable opposition to the recommendations of the Williams Commission to cut the number of councils in Wales by roughly one half, talks continue locally. See the BBC report and the Wales Online report.

Aberdare Buildings from yesteryear: Bethania Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, built in 1853, and rebuilt 1884, has recently been demolished due to structural instability. The chapel was located in Wind Street next to the former Black Lion Hotel. The chapel closed circa 1990 and has been derelict since 2004. Calfaria Baptist Chapel on the corner of Monk Street and Griffith Street has also closed.
The Employment Exchange, on the opposite corner of Monk Street and Griffith Street, was sold for £45,000 at auction on December 8th. Readers should ignore any mention here, or here, of the building being a former workhouse - Aberdare never had one. The Merthyr Poor Law Union did have buildings in Llewellyn Street, Trecynon but these were initially the Union Infirmary. See here for further details of the Trecynon buildings.

Aberdare Community School: Past students can keep abreast of the developments at the newly opened Aberdare Community School by visiting its website, which is at http://www.aberdarecommunityschool.org.uk/. 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.

Former Aberdare High School

The 28-page colour commemorative booklet, “End of an Era”, distributed at the final Prize and Speech Evening of Aberdare (Boys’) High School can be read, or downloaded, here.

Former 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 Community School (Plasdraw Campus), Cwmbach Road, Aberdare, CF44 0NF. Tel. 01685 872460.

Former Blaengwawr Comprehensive School
The online archive that has been set up to celebrate the school’s history can be found here.

 
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 (opens in new window). 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 then 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 are at the former Blaengwawr, Aberdare High and Aberdare Girls (Plasdraw) buildings. 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’ 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.

Contact Us

If you have any comments, or contributions for the site, click here for a feedback form, or contact the editor via email:
contacts

Related Link

Aberdare Girls Grammar 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.