Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
An early school picnic expedition
You may have seen a poor printed copy of this photograph before in the anniversary booklet Aberdare Intermediate Schools, 1896 - 1946. Recently an original photographic print was found in the school archives and a scan of that photograph is presented here. The date of the photograph must be before the summer of 1905 when the headmaster shown here, moved from Aberdare to a new headship in London. If anybody can identify the location, possibly from the dovecote, please let us know.
Both the school and the Past Students Society embarked upon picnics with Ystradfellte being a favourite destination. As most of the pupils left school at the age of sixteen in the very early days of the school, it is not obvious from the appearances of the younger people in the photograph whether they are pupils or ex-pupils.
Five of the individuals in the front row can be identified. In the centre is the headmaster W. Jenkyn Thomas. To his left is his wife, with the net face-veil; she was Marian Rose Thomas, née Dixon. There is further information about Mr & Mrs Thomas in the Headmasters section of this website.
To the headmaster’s right is Miss Jennie Griffiths, The Poplars, High Street, a teacher of French and sister-in-law to the Rev R.J. Jones, Hen Dŷ Cwrdd, Trecynon. To her right is Miss Jennie Phillips. and to her right again, Miss Edith Morris.
Jennie, [or Jenny], Phillips was an Aberdare girl from Canon Street, having been educated at Aberdare’s Higher Grade School. She later taught there before being appointed to the Aberdare Intermediate School in 1905. She was a student at U.C. Cardiff, 1898-1902, where she was a King’s Scholar and Exhibitioner. She graduated with a B.A. in English. By February 1906, she was debating on the subject of women’s suffrage at The Aberdare Debating Society, (the motion being: “Should Parliamentary Franchise be Extended to Women?”, and in 1908 when a branch of the Women’s Freedom League, (WFL), was established in the town, she was appointed its secretary. She transferred to Plasdraw in 1913, but her resignation came in March 1917. Accounts in the local paper, The Aberdare Leader, show her to have been a good sport, turning out for the staff/student cricket match in 1908, as well as being a supporter of the annual Aberdare Teachers Dances and Fancy Dress Balls. She married Saunders Morgan Davies, of Swansea, a cashier at the London & Provincial Bank, Aberdare, at the Welsh C.M. Chapel, Charing Cross, London in August 1916. Jennie Phillips was the sister of J. Arkite Phillips, who in turn was the father of P.E. Phillips the long-serving master, and deputy headmaster of Aberdare Boys Grammar School.
Miss Morris was from Caernarfon. She was a graduate of U.C. Aberystwyth, (1897-1901), and trained as a teacher at U.C. Bangor, (1902-03). She was appointed to a History post at the Girls’ School in 1913.