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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


Latest additions

Updated  July 1st 2015

Established September 2001
by Steve Hammonds

July 2015


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.


Sale of Girls’ School Building and land at Plasdraw
The Plasdraw Road school buildings and the almost three acre plot of land were sold for £415,000 on Monday, July 13th.
See the auctioneer’s details of the sale here.
(The school is not Victorian as stated by the auctioneer, it was built in 1913.)

Philip Morris Walters
We were shocked to receive the sad news that former pupil Philip M. Walters died on the morning of June 24th. Philip was a pupil of the school, 1949-57, leaving for UCW Aberystwyth to study law where he graduated Ll.B. He became articled with Aberdare solicitor Graeme John and qualified as a solicitor in 1964. He then went into a partnership with his colleague Peter Jenkins until 1998 and from that time became a consultant with the firm, remaining as such until his death. In the early 1980s, he became HM Coroner for Mid Glamorgan, later Bridgend and Glamorgan Valleys, and retired from that post in 2008.
Philip was the son of Ted and Ann Walters, (née Morgan). He was brought up in Siop y Parc, 63 Gadlys Road, premises that the Morgans and later the Walters occupied for a total of 67 years until 1964. With his parents, he attended Carmel Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Trecynon. Philip was a family man, but always had serious interests in sport, and in later life particularly bowls, where he played at the Harlequins Club. He had held the post of President of both Aberdare RFC and Aberdare Athletic Club. At school, he played for the 2nd XV and was scorer to the school cricket XI. He was a strong advocate for the Past Students Association, and in this respect was actively involved in the organisation of the large reunion in 2011. Philip lived in Elm Grove, Aberdare.
The funeral service took place on Tuesday, 7 July at St Fagan’s Church, Trecynon, and at Llwydcoed Crematorium. The death notice can be read here in English, and here in Welsh.
He shall be sadly missed by the many people who will remember him, above all, as a genuine and good person.

Ynys School Building
All pupils of this school have now transferred to the new building. The temporary accommodation at Blaengwawr, Cwmdare Road and Cwmbach Road is now shut.

Video of Plasdraw School Eisteddfod 2015 a last chance to see the interior of the Plasdraw School Hall, as well as the eisteddfod competitors, click here. NB Scroll to the bottom of the page to get to the video player.

Reunion 2015

Advert Reunion

click the image for a larger version

Act now if you want to request a ticket, there very few remaining. If you wish to attend, please contact Richard as soon as possible. The function will take place on Friday, July 31, 2015 in the clubhouse of Aberdare Golf Club, 7 for 7.30. The cost will be £17.50 for the 3 course dinner.
The guest speaker will be Nigel Owens who is recognised as one of the top rugby union referees in the world and a highly entertaining after dinner speaker.
There will also be an opportunity for those who wish to play golf to start the day earlier, and spend the afternoon at the club. Green fees for non-members will be £12 and we will be teeing off around noon.
Please contact Richard if you wish to attend the dinner on either 07850 129272 or

Richard Evans

The organisers look forward to seeing you at the end of the month.

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

Cynon Valley History Society Past students with an interest in the history of their home town may be interested to know that the society has produced various publications over the last forty years. Those currently in print are as follows:
Old Aberdare (Volume 10), (2008) ed. Geoffrey Evans. £5 plus £1 p&p.
Churches of the Cynon Valley, (2012) by A.V. Jones. £20 plus £6 p&p. (Details of the 32 Anglican churches in the valley)
The Men Who Marched Away,(2014) by Geoffrey Evans. £12 plus £2 p&p. (Details and stories of the valley’s WW1 casualties)
The Land Your Fathers Possessed, (2011) by Geoffrey Evans & D.L. Davies. £10 plus £2.50 p&p.
A Digital Archive of ‘Hanes’, (July 1984- Autumn 2011), the newsletter of the Society, plus more, a DVD-datadisk. £5 plus £1 p&p.
and Special Offer :
Chapels of the Cynon Valley, (2004) by A.V. Jones. £2 plus £3.50 p&p. (Details of the 180 chapels built in the valley). Hardback, 425 pages.

Details of these books and how to purchase them can be found on the homepage of the CVHS website, and on its publications page, or contact the society’s publications officer directly via email at

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 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.
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.

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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.