William Rees Williams, b.sc. (wales)

Aberdare Boys’ County School, 1937 – 1940

WRW in 1938

Mr. Williams (from the 1938 School Photograph)

William Rees Williams
b. 1878, d. 1942

Mr Williams was the third Headmaster of the school. He was born on August 9th 1878 and attended Blaengwawr Boys Elementary School and the Higher Grade School* in Aberdare, which was housed in the school currently called Caradog, in Clifton Street. He attended University College Cardiff from 1893 to 1898 and graduated with an honours degree in Physics as well as Board of Education certificates in mathematics and chemistry.

He commenced his teaching career in September 1898 at Towyn Intermediate School and stayed there for two years. Then, in 1900 he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, leaving in 1902. Whilst there he was secretary of the Cambridge Welsh Society. He resumed teaching with an appointment at Cardiff Boys Intermediate School leaving there at the end of the autumn term in 1903. He was then appointed to Aberdare Intermediate School and started in January 1904. He spent the rest of his career there and retired at the age of 61 on January 10th, 1940. His period as Headmaster commenced on Jan 11th, 1937 and lasted three years.

Mr Williams was originally appointed to organise and teach Physics and Chemistry, but he also taught mathematics throughout the school from 1912. He was also the organiser of evening classes at the school and taught certificate classes in science and advanced chemistry to the adult students.

As a teacher, he served for just one year under W. Jenkyn Thomas. Then, in 1905 his staff colleague Walter Charlton Cox became headmaster and WRW served under him for 32 years. Mr Williams’ position in staff photographs in the 1930s suggest that he had become a senior member of staff, possibly deputy headmaster.

Mr Williams was probably present for the 1906 staff photograph. His identity is not certain but he is probably the male teacher, wearing a patterned waistcoat, standing on the left in the first row behind those seated.

In the years before the First World War, he supported the past students’ association in its early years; an advert for a talk that he gave can be seen here. Although there is no evidence that he was active in the association in the inter-war years prior to his headship, he assumed the post of President and chaired the committee meetings from February 1937, a role that was customarily performed by the Headmaster.

Mr Williams was the son of John and Gwenllian Williams of The Rock Inn, 167 Cardiff Road. On April 2, 1913, he married Margaret Price, eldest daughter of David William and Mary Price, The Ivies, Mill St, Trecynon. Shortly afterwards, he entered the forces serving from 1916 to 1919. When appointed headmaster, he declined the opportunity to live in School House, as was the practice of the two previous headmasters. Instead he remained in Broniestyn House which is at the top of Broniestyn Terrace and is probably as close to School as the ‘official’ residence. Apart from his teaching duties, Mr Williams was the first secretary of the Aberaman Institute, stage manager and coach to the Past Students Dramatic Society, and was for a period, president of the Glamorgan N.U.T.

Mr Williams retired to Torquay in Devon, where he lived at 3 Clarence House, Upper Terrace. Sadly, he did not live long enough to enjoy his retirement fully, and after just two years there, died on November 29th 1942 at Wellswood End, Torquay aged 64.

* The Higher Grade School in Aberdare opened in 1890 in Clifton Street, in some of the rooms of the Aberdare Town Board School which had opened earlier in 1875. The Gadlys School, originally named the Higher Standard Schools, took over the function of teaching to the higher standards but did not open until about 1905 when the Higher Grade School ceased to function.

† There were several sisters: one was Mrs C.M. Rowlands (Rock Inn); another was Miss Margaret Williams, headmistress of The Higher Standard School, (later Gadlys Central School).

Thanks to Mr T.J. Evans & Sons for providing information from the W.W. Price archive about Mr Williams.