Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

School Uniform, School Houses, and Various Badges

school building

 In the 1950s, 60s and 70s the school uniform consisted of dark grey trousers, white shirt, black blazer, school blazer badge, and a school tie. The school tie came in two forms, a broad black and amber stripe for juniors (up to form 3?) and a narrow amber stripe on black for senior boys. In the junior school a cap was also part of the uniform but I don’t remember wearing the cap for very long! 

Before the 1950s the school photos suggest that a uniform was not worn, although most boys in this earlier period appear to be reasonably smartly dressed in a suit, or jacket and trousers, with a white shirt and tie. Photos from the late forties and early fifties suggest that an early form of the junior tie was a horizontal stripe rather than the diagonal stripe used later. However, the school cap is seen in Edwardian class photographs in a pattern identical to that worn in the 1960s.

cap Click here to see some preserved examples
of items of school uniform

Pupils were placed in School Houses which were used to define teams for various sporting and other competitive activities (such as chess). Originally, Houses were named after certain of the Masters, then a six-House system was introduced and finally in the Headmaster’s report for 1937-38 we read that the earlier six-house system was replaced by a four-House system and these four houses were called Dewi, Llewellyn, Penri, and Tudur. The origin of these house names hasn’t been exactly determined but it is possible that they refer to the famous Welsh men of the same name. Dewi is almost certainly named after Dewi Sant (Saint David). Llewellyn must be named after Llewelyn ap Gruffydd. Note the spelling of the name of our School House used here is taken from the Headmaster’s report mentioned above and so is assumed to be the spelling used at the time, though this is a bit contentious! All the other House names have the proper Welsh spelling. Penri we think must be named after John Penry, a religious martyr. Again note the variant spelling. Tudur is probably named after King Henry VII (Henry Tudor), but it could conceivably be his father or grandfather.

The two Houses that were abolished in 1937 were called Caradog (Green) and Glyndwr (Yellow).

Head Prefect badgeClick here to see some preserved school badges

Lapel badges were an important tradition in the school in my time. There was a different lapel badge for each School House which all boys in school were given (or bought?). The colours of the badges were reflected in the coloured numbers we wore on our shirts on sports days. If we became prefects in the sixth form we had a new badge, again in the House colours, with the word “Prefect” written across at an angle.