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The Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

1896 – 1978

A personal record of the life and times of the
County Grammar School for Boys
published by the old pupils of the School

Contents

Latest additions

Updated June 1st 2021

Established September 2001
by Steve Hammonds

June 2021

Old_School

Welcome to the website of the former Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School. The web server continues to provide pages to visitors from all over the world, and the website continues to grow thanks to your contributions. If you have any photos or documents to share please let me know - my email address can be found in the panel on the right. Alternatively, you may wish to make a suggestion for an entry in the Former Pupils section, if so please let me have details, and a picture if possible. To see full details of what has been added recently, click the link shown below ‘Latest Additions’ in the column on the left. Thank you again to all those who have already made contributions by writing short articles or by sending in photos.

 

Notices

Rhigos Mountain Zip World Tower This attraction opened on Monday, April 26th, and was featured on BBC1’s The One Show on the following evening. More details on the Zip World website and on the BBC News website.

Peter Ballinger We have been informed that Peter Ballinger died recently. He was at school 1959–66, and came from Blaennant-y-Groes, Cwmbach. He was well known at school for his musical talents, particularly as a baritone soloist. After school he went to U.C. Cardiff to study for a B.Mus. However, we believe that later he qualified as a solicitor and lived and worked locally.

Jeffrey H Cummings, a student at ABGS from 1952 to 1956, recently passed away. His funeral service took place on March 5th at Margam crematorium. Jeff was born in Cwmbach in 1939 and grew up in Richard’s Terrace. Prior to his death he was living in Clydach, Swansea, and during his working career as a surveyor, he worked with the NCB, Pontardawe UDC and Port Talbot UDC. He leaves behind a wife and three sons, two of whom are working and living in Sweden. Many thanks to Frederick K. Jones, (ABGS 1952–58), for passing on the sad information about Jeffrey.

Roy Brackston sadly passed away after a brief illness on 9th February 2021 in the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport at the age of 84. Roy was from Abercwmboi and was at school from 1947 to 1956 and followed the sciences at Advanced Level. Notably, he played in the school’s 1st XV rugby team for three consecutive years, and can be seen in the 53-54, 54-55 and 55-56 team photographs. He was a teacher at Duffryn Comprehensive School, Newport. Roy’s wife June predeceased him, and he had one daughter. His funeral will take place on 8th March at 2.30 pm. It will be held at the Langstone Vale Crematorium in Newport. The funeral directors are Tovey Bros, 9-11 Cardiff Road, Newport.

David Dore We have also been informed of the passing of David Graham Dore at the age of 79. David was at school 1953–58, and was brought up in Unity Street, Foundry Town. His funeral took place on 24th February at Llwydcoed Crematorium . He is in the the 1957 panoramic photograph where he is No. 4.

School Clock The Trecynon school clock is working again after a period of several years inactivity. The project to get it going again was a team effort organised by Adrian Harford, ABGS 1972–77.

New webpages During the lock-down Cynon Valley Museum volunteers have been busy writing up some aspects of local history. Their results have been placed online at
http://cynonvalleymuseum.wales/stories-from-the-collection/

Another online local history resource is the transcript of Rev Ivor Parry’s evening class lectures. The 72 lectures were delivered between 1962 and 1965. Notes were taken by attendees Tom Evans, (Geography), and Dafydd Roberts, (dental surgeon). Their notes can be found here:
http://www.cvhs.org.uk/RIP_history/contents.html


 

Some Background Information about Aberdare County School

Cwmdare Rd School

The school building was completed in July 1894 but, for reasons explained in the History section of this website, opened two years later on September 28th, 1896 as The Aberdare Technical and Intermediate Schools with Head Master W. Jenkyn Thomas and four assistant teachers: two men and two women. There were 141 pupils present by the end of the first term, 88 boys and 53 girls, taught in mixed classes for the majority of their subjects, although the building had separate entrances for boys and girls.

The school soon became known as The County School and remained so until the early sixties when the Grammar School name became more widely used. The pupils from the lower end of the Cynon Valley left in 1907 when Mountain Ash County School opened initially at Gwernifor, Miskin, moving to Dyffryn House much later in 1926. Then in 1913, the girls together with the women staff left for their own school in Plasdraw.

There was little significant change at the County School in terms of the nature of staffing and curriculum over the years until the Trecynon buildings were vacated in 1964 and the school relocated to the bottom of Cwmdare Hill.

In 1978 the Boys’ Grammar School closed and there was a fairly smooth transition to comprehensive status, when the Aberdare Boys Comprehensive School opened. Many of the existing staff were reappointed to the new school which was housed in the ex-grammar school buildings on Cwmdare Road, as the upper school. The buildings of Rhydywaun Secondary Modern School in Penywaun, which had also changed status, housed the lower school. The lower school at Rhydywaun was eventually brought to a new building at Cwmdare Road after two serious fires at Rhydywaun caused almost complete loss of its buildings.

From September 1st, 2009 Aberdare Boys Comprehensive School, was renamed Aberdare High School. The school adopted a new badge, which showed a similarity to the original grammar school design with ‘dragon and book’. The picture, above right, shows the school as it was in 1978, but additionally there was a large sports hall added to the site, behind the two-story block on the right. The new hall was both a school and a community facility.

In 2011, the decision was made by RCTCBC to close the Boys’ High School, the Girls Comprehensive (at Plasdraw and The Gadlys) and Blaengwawr Comprehensive School. It was intended that the pupils of all three schools would be housed in the new school to be built at The Ynys, near the centre of Aberdare, and which was initially planned to open in September 2014. By September 2014 Aberdare had three secondary schools instead of the existing five. The new Aberdare Community School did open in September 2014, but only in name, and a move into the incomplete new school buildings was deferred until 2015. The temporary homes of the new school were at the former Blaengwawr, Aberdare High and Aberdare Girls (Plasdraw) buildings. Pupils started moving out of these old buildings and moving into the new building in the summer term of 2015, with examination candidates remaining in the Cwmdare Road building to take their examinations. The Girls’ School and its 3 acres of land in Plasdraw was sold at auction on July 13th 2015 for £415,000. The Cwmdare Road Boys Upper School building is being demolished during the first three months of 2017.

 
Lower School 2013
Aberdare High School, The Lower School, Summer 2013.
 
Upper School 2013
Aberdare High School, The Upper School, Summer 2013.
 

Trecynon School Clock

clock tower

The tower and adjacent room have been converted into a new home that was featured in both the South Wales Echo and the Cynon Valley Leader in July 2009, and again in October 2015. The Echo article was particularly impressive with a three-page spread, including a full-page photo of the building on the front page of the homeWALES supplement. The owner at the time of the Echo article was Ray Radnedge of Radnedge Architectural Antiques in Llanelli. In the article he said he had initially purchased the clock only. But he then heard that the tower was to be demolished by the developer, so he bought that too. The inside pages show several views of both the exterior and of the internal fittings.

From 2018 the property has been occupied by a private individual.

A gallery of photographs showing the reinstatement of the clock can be found in the School Building section of this website. The weather vane completed the architectural fittings at the top of the dome. Immediately after its reinstatement, the clock showed the correct time with the clock faces illuminated at night. The clock, which had been removed for restoration and repair, consists of a two-and-a-half tonne structure made of solid oak with cast iron facings, copper roof, and a 10 ft pendulum.

Contact Us

If you have any comments, or contributions for the site, click here for a feedback form, or please contact Colin Rees at:
contacts

Related Link

Aberdare Girls Grammar School

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Aerial Views

Aberdare is one of the areas in the UK where the online satellite maps from Google Maps are of a high resolution.
Go to Google Maps to look down on the old school site and to explore the rest of the town.
 

Please disregard the following links. They are included only to prompt the British Library Archiving system to copy these particular sections or pages that it might otherwise have overlooked.

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