The Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
1896 – 1978
A personal record of the life and times
Updated October 1st 2020
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.
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
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
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.
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
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:
Some Background Information about Aberdare County 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.
Aberdare High School, The Lower School, Summer 2013.
If you have any comments, or contributions for the site, click here for a
form, or please contact Colin Rees at: