The Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
1896 – 1978
A personal record of the life and times of the
Updated February 1st 2016
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 death of past student Professor Alec Smith occurred on November 12th, 2015. Alec attended ABGS from 1942 to 1950 and lived in Aberaman near St Margaret’s Church. He has an entry in the Former Pupils section of this website.
The death also occurred of Mrs Gweno Lewis in mid January at the age of 102. She was deputy headmistress at Mountain Ash Grammar School, and teacher of German. She was married to the Cwmaman poet Alun Lewis. Alun did not attend ABGS, but his brothers Glyn and Huw were pupils, in the years 1928–33 and 1931–38 respectively.
The former Plasdraw School A group of developers are showing interest in the Plasdraw site of the former Girls’ School. Ideas being considered include conversion of the 1913 building for flats, and the clearing of the buildings at the rear for new bungalows. See this application, 15/1556/23, near the top of page 2 on this document.
Disposal of School Properties Both Blaengwawr Comprehensive School and Aberdare High School (Upper building and field only) have been put up for sale. If you would like to buy one, take a look at the advert here. Details of each are on the pdf files on each advert. Bids for AHS must be in by 12 noon on Friday, 12th February 2016 !
Another loss to the town will be the HSBC Bank. The company has announced an April closure date. Known to many past students as The Midland Bank, in Cardiff Street, the building was purpose built as a bank and opened in January 1858 by The West of England and South Wales District Banking Company.
Coleg y Cwmoedd The local press has reported that the college previously known as Aberdare College will relocate to a site very close to Aberdare railway station. The college is now part of Coleg Y Cwmoedd which has other campuses at Nantgarw, Llwynypia and Ystrad Mynach. The press report can be found here.
The ABGS Old Clock Tower House asking price has been reduced by a further £25,000 bringing it to £250,000 Freehold. WalesOnline has a report about the proposed sale dated October 8th.
Cynon Valley History Society
Some Background Information about Aberdare County School
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.
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