Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

School Buildings

school building

The Builders of the Trecynon School, circa 1894

from School Archives

School c 1899

This photograph was probably taken at the end of the construction phase of the school in 1894. The location is at the Girls’ entrance, which was demolished in 1901 to make space for the clocktower extension and turret.

The only person who is identifiable is the man on the extreme left wearing a top hat. He is the Revd Benjamin Evans who was the Clerk to the Local School Governors, and who organised the planning and liaised with the builders and equipment suppliers during the construction phase. Revd Evans, (Telynfab; 1844–1900), was also known as Bishop Y Gadlys, and he ministered at Gadlys Welsh Baptist Chapel just behind the school. He lived at 46 Gadlys Road; his best known work is the biography, (1891), of Revd Dr Thomas Price of Calfaria Baptist Chapel, Monk Street, Aberdare.

The builder was Mr David Jenkins, of Swansea, but it is not known whether he is present in the photograph.

The school building lay empty for two years after its completion due to a legal difficulty with the overall scheme for secondary education in the whole of Glamorgan. This dispute concerned the distribution, or retention, of existing endowments held by much older schools who were to join in the Glamorgan scheme. Eventually in 1896 the school at Pengam that had the sole use of its own ancient endowment lost its legal challenge, and the monies were put to the benefit of all the Glamorgan secondary schools. This ruling allowed all the new Glamorgan secondary schools to open in the autumn of 1896. Some schools in other counties and boroughs opened a few years earlier, such as that in Caernarfon which opened in February 1894.