Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Visits to Aberdare in 2004

Old School

August 2004
Views of Aberdare

While we know that some of the visitors to this site either live in Aberdare, or visit it frequently, we are also aware that up to 30% of you live abroad. We hope that some of the pictures of Aberdare and its surrounding area will be of particular interest to those who cannot return home as frequently as they may wish.

After our reunion lunch, several of us took a walk around the park. Most of the area has been cleared of the dense rhododendron bushes and a great deal of new planting has taken place. Nevertheless, you can still see some of the trees that were there in our school days, for example, the monkey-puzzle trees and the redwoods.

In his schooldays, Steve did Zoology and Botany at A level and was able to visit the Park in lesson times. He recalls: “We used to have odd free periods in the sixth form when Dai Cube wanted us out of the lab. So, we went over to the park on the pretext of collecting plant specimens (buds, leaves, and the like). The Park Keeper wasn’t very happy with the idea, though, so we often came back empty-handed.”

Another recollection that we remembered was a game that involved running at full speed towards the redwoods with a twig in our hand brandished like a dagger. The idea was to stab the tree with your twig; the winner was the boy whose stick was embedded highest on the tree. Terry Evans recalled punching these trees but the bark was so soft that no pain was felt.

Here are some photos taken during our walk.

Click on each thumbnail to get an enlarged picture.

bandstand1 The Bandstand bandstand2 Bandstand - looking south Gorsedd The Gorsedd Stones - looking West into the sunset Monkey Tree A Monkey Puzzle tree
Redwood Two Redwoods New Houses Looking over the Park wall
at the new houses in the playground
Park Schools Looking up Hirwaun Rd
towards Park School

The following day, we took a brief walk around town, starting from the library car park. It was there that we saw Russell George at the door of Green Street Methodist Chapel where he was acting as usher. He was very insistent that we joined the congregation but alas, time was not on our side. However, we did enjoy hearing some of the hymn singing and Sheridan George playing on the refurbished organ. I think the last time I heard Sheridan playing was at one of the school carol services in Bethel Chapel in Tudor terrace; over 40 years ago.

Russell Russell outside the Chapel Green St M Green St Methodist Chapel Green St M Colin leaving the Chapel Old Town Hall Old Town Hall and
Constitutional Club
Siloa Siloa, opposite
Green St Methodist Church
LibraryThe Library

From the library, we walked down Canon Street, up through Victoria Square and then down High Street back to the library. You can see that The Palladium has had its frontage altered. Victoria Square has not altered much except that all the shops have changed either their names or function, or both. Of course, The Rex has long gone, being replaced by a car park from which a view of St Elvan’s Church can be enjoyed. The main post office has altered its function; it currently belongs to a large pub chain.

The old St David’s church building (English Presbyterian, closed 1952) is still there next to the old post office; it became the telephone exchange in our time but that moved again to a large new building opposite built where the Toc H used to be. The Rock Buildings housed the education offices and at the end were the Rock Outdoor Swimming Baths. Both buildings remain.

Palladium The Palladium
Canon St
Bute Arms The Bute Arms
Victoria Sq
Victoria Sq Outside Emrys Evans
- as was!
Black Lion The Black Lion - or The Black? Monk St to the right
Caradog Caradog
Victoria Square
Rex CP The Rex was here St Elvans View of St Elvan’s from
the Rex Car Park
Old GPO The old Post Office
now a pub
St David's Old St David’s
Presbyterian Church
Rock Buildings The Rock Buildings, High St Library Steve: making his way
down High St
back to the library
High St The junction of High St
and Canon St
Milestone Milestone: looking up High St

After lunch at the Gadlys Arms, we walked across to look at the Cynon just beyond the old school playing field. The water level in the river was low due to it being high summer. If you ever did cross-country running for games, you may remember traversing the bridge as it was on one of the routes we used.

R Cynon The River Cynon, near
the old school playing field
Steve Hammonds Steve: on the bridge
over the Cynon

After a night at the Dare Valley Country Park, it was time to leave; but not before looking around Cwmaman - now more famous than Aberdare!

Country Park The courtyard of the
Dare Valley Country Park Centre
courtyard Another view of the courtyard
Brynmair Rd Brynmair Rd looking towards Cwmaman N View Terrace Looking east from
Brynmair Rd to
North View Terrace,
with Cefnpennar in the background
Shepherds Arms Shepherds Arms
Glanaman Rd Glanaman Rd
looking up to the
end of the valley