Brinley Thomas Evans
(Aberdare Boys County School: 1919 - 1925)
Brinley Evans was born 29 June 1907, the son of a miner, and lived at 58 Glanaman Road, Cwmaman. He was the eldest of four children (two sisters and one brother) to Thomas1 and Mary Evans (née Lewis2), and adopted son of Mr and Mrs W. Davies of 54 Brynhyfryd, Cwmaman.
Brinley attended Glynhafod Elementary School where he passed the scholarship examination to the County School in Trecynon in 1919. He passed the CWB School Certificate (1923), Supplementary (1924) and Higher (1925). He left school for U.C. Cardiff where in 1928 he gained a B.A. in Welsh with subsidiary subjects of English, History, Economics & German. At Cardiff he held the Sir D.R. Llewellyn Scholarship. He stayed for a further year and obtained his teaching qualification in 1929.
He commenced his teaching career in Cricklewood New Schools, north London but this was brought to an early and tragic end during his first term. As a result of a leak from a gas fire at his lodgings, he was poisoned by coal gas3, and died at the age of 22 in the Park Royal Hospital4, Willesden on 2 November 1929. Brinley was brought home and was buried in Aberdare Old Cemetery.
Brinley was for many years the organist at Shiloh Welsh Wesleyan Chapel in Aberaman. He also held the post of secretary to the Welsh Wesleyan Gymanfa Ganu (Aberdare Circuit). His father Mr T.R.Evans was also a musician and held the A.T.S.C. qualification, (Associate, Tonic Sol-fa College of Music).
Brinley's younger brother Gwydol also attended the County School, but entered the school in 1925 the same year as his brother left.
Many thanks to David Evans, nephew of Brinley Evans, for supplying the information and photographs for this article.
1 Thomas Rowland Evans was a local man, born in Railway Terrace, Cwmaman, in 1882.
2 Mary Lewis was from Pembrey in Carmarthenshire. Brinley's parents met as a result of a railway excursion that his father took from Cwmaman. The GWR occasionally ran passenger trips starting from Cwmaman leaving the valley along their Dare/Aman branch. The trains continued over Brunel's two wooden viaducts, which crossed the Dare and Cynon, and then on to the GWR 'main-line' at Gelli Tarw Junction (ex Vale of Neath Line) to Neath and beyond. After such an excursion, the two met in Llanelli and subsequently married in 1906; Mary was brought back to Cwmaman to set up the family home.
3 By 1977 Great Britain had converted to non-toxic natural gas (methane). Prior to this time gas manufactured from coal was used universally throughout the country. This consisted mainly of hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide, all of which were fuels and burnt in air. However, carbon monoxide is highly toxic.
4 Park Royal Hospital has changed its name several times, but was situated on Acton Lane. After 1931 it was known as The Central Middlesex County Hospital.