Gwilym Williams (1917-1977)

Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School, September 1970 to January 1977
& Teacher 1939 to 1970

Gwilym Williams as new Head

Gwilym Williams
in the year of his appointment to the post of Headmaster

Gwilym Williams was brought up in Mountain Ash. His elementary education took place at Dyffryn Boys’ School; he then progressed to Mountain Ash County School, staying there from 1928 to 1934. He studied at University College, Cardiff from 1934 to 1938 and graduated with a first class honours degree in chemistry, and a Teaching Diploma.

After a short spell at Caerphilly Training & Technical Institute, he joined the staff of the Aberdare County School for Boys in September 1939 and stayed there for the rest of his career.  In his younger days, he took a keen interest in rugby coaching at the school, as well as performing his duties as a teacher of chemistry.

In September 1964, he was promoted from Head of Chemistry to Deputy Headmaster, a post that P.E. Phillips previously held. He was appointed Headmaster in September 1970. Tragically however, on January 14th, 1977, Mr Williams suffered a heart attack and died unexpectedly whilst still in post.

He was a keen supporter of the school musical society and together with Mr Ambrose, PEP and Gethin Evans worked hard to maintain the annual musical concerts that began in 1941.  His wife Nesta also taught for a short time at the school in the early 60s; Mrs. Williams taught a range of subjects including Religious Instruction.

Outside school, he was a member of the Mountain Ash Choral Society, and secretary of Bethlehem Welsh Presbyterian Church, Mountain Ash. He was also an official of the N.U.T.

Mr Williams was in post at the school for almost 38 years.  During his period as Headmaster the size the school averaged about 610 pupils, and the following issues were of some importance: the reorganisation schemes for the introduction of comprehensive schools were in their final stages of discussion; some disruption caused by strike action due to union action within and external to the school caused some closures; some problems with the heating system in the new buildings persisted; a decomposed stick of gelignite was found on the school field that required the evacuation of the school; a 75th anniversary concert was organised and took place in the Coliseum; there was a good success rate of pupils gaining entrance into Oxbridge colleges; collections for charitable causes were successfully carried out; John Morris Q.C., Secretary of State for Wales, visited the School. Mr Williams also saw the introduction of a Parents’ Association.

Generations of pupils owe a great deal to him for his expert tuition in Chemistry, and for his unfailing efforts and dedication to the school.

here for the Certificate Ceremony at M.A.C.S. for the awards to the 1934 examinees.
Click here for the obituary notice from The Aberdare Leader.
The extensive tribute article and funeral report from The Aberdare Leader of 3 February 1977: Transcript or image.


GW graduation

Thanks to Nesta Williams who generously made available her husband’s graduation photograph.

Nesta in 1978

Mrs Nesta Williams, in 1970

This account was written in 2006. Since that time the death of Mrs Nesta Williams has occurred. She died on April 2, 2012 at the family home, Pennar in Clifton Street, Aberdare. Her funeral service took place on April 16 at Siloa, Aberdare prior to a committal service at Llwydcoed Crematorium. Mrs Williams was originally a member at Bethania (Wind Street), moving to Trinity (Canon Street), and finally to Siloa on the occasion of the closures of the former chapels. Nesta taught at the Trecynon school on two occasions when full time staff were away for protracted periods: in 1961 to teach Welsh; and in 1962 to teach Religious Instruction, R.I.
Mr & Mrs Williams were both from Mountain Ash and were married in 1947. They raised two boys, Stephen and Kevin.