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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 November 1st 2020

Established September 2001
by Steve Hammonds

November 2020

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

Richard Prygodzicz ABGS 1967–73

Book Illustration

A former pupil of the school has had some success with his first eBook on Amazon. Richard, (pen name Jerzy Jones), managed to achieve a number one spot for his children’s animal story book for 3–6 year olds titled ‘CORBUS SAVES HIS FRIENDS’, in the ‘Superhero’ category. The book also achieved No.2 status in the ‘Superhero Fantasy eBooks’ section. The book is available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback version and has accumulated 5-star reviews. A link to kindle version is below.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JPYN7WX
Richard who has been writing off and on for over 30 years decided to pursue the Amazon route because of his backlog of material, and his lack of success through normal publication routes. He will be releasing his new book ‘THE FREEZING COLD SNOWMAN’ on Amazon, hopefully by November 6th.

Additional Highway news
See Figure 5 and Figure 6 of this document for a visualisation of the route of the Cynon Gateway North scheme and here for an animation of the route from Llwydcoed to Croesbychan.
And finally these links for news of the new cross-valley link at Mountain Ash that was opened on October 16th:
RCTCBC Article and an aerial view of the bridge

Zip World The Western Mail of October 31st displayed an additional planning application, reference number 20/1076/10, that has been made to RCTCBC for the erection of a ‘coaster kart’ circuit on the site of the former Tower Colliery near Hirwaun. A vast amount of information, plans and engineering drawings are available on line on the RCT Planning website, This attraction will have some similarities to this circuit in north Wales. The applicant, Zip World Ltd, has already undertaken to build a twin zip wire tourist attraction from the mountain top down to the Tower Colliery site.

Hirwaun Primary School Cynon Valley’s newest school opens its doors on Monday, November 2nd. It is the £10.2 million Hirwaun Primary School. It is situated near the existing school in Glanant Street, (Hirwaun), which will be demolished to make way for additional facilities for the new school. The development will enable the dual-language Penderyn Primary School to be converted to a full Welsh Medium school next year.

Proposed Highways Some interesting information appeared on an RCTCBC website about the plans for the new road that would link up the Aberdare Bypass, A4059, to the A465. The link will be called the Cynon Gateway North. Interestingly, a new structure is proposed to cross the Aberdare-Hirwaun freight line, which gives some hope for a reopening of the Aberdare-Hirwaun railway. See
https://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Newsroom/PressReleases/...A465CynonGatewayNorth.aspx

The extended Aberdare Bypass would link up with the proposed dualled stretch of the A465 from Dowlais Top to Hirwaun at Croesbychan. Detailed plans of this dualled A465 route can be seen on this website
https://gov.wales/a465-section-5-and-6-dowlais-top-hirwaun-scheme-plans

FOAP After four years’ work, the Friends of Aberdare Park group, FOAP, have recently raised the funding necessary to replace the Park’s defunct paddling pool with a new water feature called a splash pad, to be known as Aquadare. The group’s chair, Philip Rees, (ABGS 1958–65), said, “We are delighted to see the works commencing on the splash pad. A great amount of money came from businesses, pubs and clubs. The whole community has responded to help us.” During the fund-raising period, events were organised, individual donations received, and a major grant was received from the Pen Y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund. Congratulations to Philip and the FOAP group. If all goes to plan, the new feature will open in April 2021.
FOAP Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AberdareParkWales/

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.
   

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