Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Prize Day, 1898
This press report describes the second School Prize Day, held on Thursday, December 8th, 1898, in the Constitutional Hall, High Street.
Aberdare County School.
The second annual distribution of prizes in connection with the Aberdare County School took place at the Constitutional-hall in that town on Thursday afternoon, Mr. D. P. Davies1, J.P. (chairman of the governors) presided.—In submitting his report on the working of the year, the Headmaster pointed out there had been an appreciable increase in the number of pupils, the staff had been augmented, a chemical laboratory2 fitted with working benches and “up-to-date” apparatus, a room built for manual instruction, school library and museum provided, and a nucleus of a school museum obtained.—The prizes and certificates were distributed by Mrs. D. A. Thomas3.—Mr. D. Brynmor Jones4, M.P., said their intermediate education was the result of the formation of the universities, and it was the best system that existed in the kingdom. —Mr. D. A. Thomas5, M.P., followed in a brief speech.—During the proceedings a very interesting programme was given by the children.
- Mr. David Price Davies, J.P., apart from being Chairman of Governors, was a very prominent citizen of the town at this time. He was a landowner, ‘Gentleman’, and relatively wealthy. He was: Chairman of the Aberdare & Aberaman Consumers’ Gas Company; member of Siloa; and some of the streets in Foundry Town are named after his family.
- This laboratory was used as a chemical laboratory until the large first floor laboratory was built during the extensions of 1906. The latter laboratory remained in use until the Trecynon building was vacated in the summer of 1964. The laboratory referred to in this 1898 article was either to become the Physics Lab or the Physics Lab ‘darkroom’ after the new chemistry laboratory opened.
- Mrs D.A. Thomas, later the 1st Viscountess Rhondda, was Sybil Margaret Thomas, née Haig. She was active politically herself, not least in the in women’s suffrage movement. She was a philanthropist and involved in the Liberal Party: President of Aberdare Women’s Liberal Association, 1891-1907, and President of the Welsh Union of Women’s Liberal Associations, 1895-1900. Her daughter was Margaret Haig Thomas, an outspoken suffragette who was involved in protest marches and who was notably imprisoned for attempting to blow up a letter box. During WW1, both she and her father were involved in government work. On returning from a visit on behalf of the British government to the USA, they were on board the Lusitania when it was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland; fortunately both survived. She married Sir Humphrey Mackworth, 7th Bt. of the Gnoll, in 1908, but later in 1923 they were divorced.
- Mr. D. Brynmor Jones was a lawman, and at this time M.P. for Swansea District. One of the offices he held during his career was one with the title ‘Master in Lunacy’. His on-line biography is at http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-JONE-BRY-1852.html.
- Mr. David Alfred Thomas, (1856-1918), was the M.P. for the two-member constituency Merthyr Boroughs, (Merthyr & Aberdare), and was born in Ysguborwen House, situated above Roberts Town. He later became Viscount Rhondda. A full biography can be found at the following link http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-THOM-ALF-1856.html