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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  October 1st 2015

Established September 2001
by Steve Hammonds

October 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.


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.

Victor Carney
News came from Swansea at the end of September about the death of former pupil Vic Carney who was aged 80. Until his retirement Vic had been the Registrar at Swansea University. He was brought up in Maes-y-Dre in Aberdare, and attended the National School in Cardiff Street before arriving at ABGS in 1945. A keen sportsman at school he played in the cricket 1st XI, and for three consecutive years in the Rugby 1st XV. His grades in his A level Geography, History and Economics examinations gained him a State Scholarship, which took him to UCW Aberystwyth. He returned to Aberdare, and in the 1970s, and became a member of the local council. His work at Swansea University resulted in a move to Langland Bay where he remained until his death. In the Mumbles he again involved himself in local politics and was instrumental in the formation of The Mumbles Community Council, which was established in 1983. Vic was a great reader, and was a keen golfer and bridge player.
In 1961, he married Anne Bevan, a local girl, and together they raised two children.
In recent years Vic took an interest in this website, and contributed items of his own and of his father who attended the school, 1903-05.
The funeral service will be on Wednesday 14th October, 1:30pm at Margam Crematorium. Further information may be obtained from William Pressdee Funeral Directors, 1/2 Stanley St, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4NE.

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:
Special Offer
 Just £2  — Chapels of the Cynon Valley, (2004) by A.V. Jones.
plus £3.50 p&p. (Details of the 180 chapels built in the valley). Hardback, 425 pages.

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.

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. 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.
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’ house was reduced to £250,000 in early October 2015. 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, and again in October 2015. 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 owner at the time of the Echo article was Ray Radnedge of Radnedge Architectural Antiques in Llanelli. In the article he said 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:

Related Link

Aberdare Girls Grammar School
Former Blaengwawr School


Use the box below to find something or someone on this site:

ABGS/AGGS sites only

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.