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
David Graham Bevan Friends of Graham Bevan were
saddened to hear of his death which occurred on January 10th
at his home in Llwydcoed. Graham was a very well known and
respected in Aberdarian. In his youth he was involved with
schoolboy football at a national level. He spent nearly all
his teaching career at Park Junior School in Trecynon, where he continued his interest
in football by
organising school teams and taking part in the organisation
of the game in the valley. His funeral will take place on Friday, January 30th at
12.45 at Llwydcoed
Kenneth Collins We were also very sorry to hear
that former pupil Mr Ken Collins passed away recently. Ken
was raised in Cwmbach, attended the Grammar School 1944-50,
after which he initially entered local government, but most
of his career was spent in the Fire Service. In his retirement
he studied in the humanities and gained the Bachelor of Arts degree. He
served as a committee member of the Cynon Valley History Society
and was for 30 years its Treasurer. His funeral
took place on Wednesday, 28th January at
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
Cynon Valley Museum & Gallery
news about the
future of this civic facility was reported in the local press
on December 17th.
In Memory of
Past Students of
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
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
The head teacher reflects on the
school’s first term.
Former Aberdare High School
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,
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
online archive that has been set up to celebrate the school’s
history can be found here.
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 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
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
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.