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Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Past Student Association History

Old School

Press Account of the Unveiling Ceremony
of the First World War Memorial Plaque

ABERDARE BOYS’ COUNTY SCHOOL.

Unveiling of Memorial Tablet
The ceremony of unveiling the memorial tablet to Past Students killed in the war took place at the Boys’ County School on Thursday evening. Councillor William Thomas presided over a large and representative gathering. Letters regretting inability to be present were read from the High Constable, Mr. D.R. Llewellyn, J.P., Councillor Stonelake, chairman of the School Governors, and from a number of local citizens.
Mr. W. Charlton Cox, M.A. the headmaster, who described the inception of the scheme, pointed out that no less than forty-one old students of the school had made the supreme sacrifice.
The Rev. T. Madoc Jeffreys, representing the Governors, paid a glowing tribute to the memory of the glorious dead. He also complimented the Memorial Fund Committee upon the twofold purpose of their scheme of preserving the memory of the departed heroes, both in imperishable brass and also by setting aside a fund for providing University Scholarships to deserving students of the school.
After Mr. Emrys Prosser had spoken on behalf of the Past Students’ Association, the chairman called upon Mr. C.B. Stanton, M.P., to unveil the Memorial Tablet. A very affecting incident occurred in the course of his speech. Mr. Stanton, whose son, the late Lieut. Clifford Stanton, is among those whose names are inscribed on the Memorial Tablet, was so overcome with emotion that he was for a time unable to proceed with his speech.
The draping having been removed, a beautiful brass tablet, surmounted by the arms of the school, was exposed to view. It is situated in a central position on the wall, facing the windows in the Central Hall of the school, and should prove a source of great inspiration to successive generations of scholars.
The religious service, which was of a very impressive nature, was conducted jointly by the Vicar of Aberdare and the Rev. T. Madoc Jeffreys. The School Choir, under the conductorship of Mr. E. Ogwen Williams, gave a beautiful rendering of the Recessional. The Memorial Fund is still open, and subscriptions should be sent to the hon. sec., Emrys Prosser, Anwylfan, Trecynon.

Notes
A photograph of the plaque in its original position can be seen in this 1922 photograph of the Central Hall.
D R llewellyn
Mr. D.R. Llewellyn, (1879–1940), became Sir D.R. Llewellyn in 1922. He was the eldest son of Mr Rhys Llewellyn of Bwllfa House, Cwmdare. D.R. Llewellyn lived at Goytre, 47 Llewellyn St., then at Fairfield, off Monk Street, and finally at The Court, St. Fagans. The Llewellyn family were originally mining engineers and later coalowners. The baronetcy is today, (2014), held by the 5th Baronet, Sir “Roddy” Llewellyn.
 
Edmund Stonelake
Councillor Stonelake, (1873 – 1960), was Mr Edmund Stonelake of Herbert Street, Foundry Town. He was Chairman of Governors 1919–1922 and 1946–1948. He was an important figure in establishing the Labour Party in the Merthyr Boroughs constituency, (a two-member constituency which consisted of Merthyr and parts of the parish of Aberdare). An autobiography, The Autobiography of Edmund Stonelake, edited by Anthony Mor-O’Brien was published by Mid Glamorgan County Council in1981. He also has an entry, written by former ABGS pupil D. Leslie Davies, in the Welsh Biography Online, here.
 
Rev Madoc Jeffreys
Rev. T. Madoc Jeffreys, (1877–1934), came to Aberdare in 1914 as pastor of Tabernacle Church, at the corner of Duke Street and Station Street. He began his career as a teacher, but so rapid was his success that he was the headmaster of an elementary school at the age of 24, after having served as second master at Bedwellty Pupil Teachers’ Centre and as teacher of chemistry at the Ebbw Vale County School. It was the Revival of 1904 that finally induced him to enter the ministry. He was ordained in 1905 at Tabernacle Church, Waunllwyd, Ebbw Vale, where he enjoyed a highly successful ministry for nine years. At Aberdare he was the initiator of the Free Church Girls’ Club in Canon Street, which became a flourishing institution of over 250 members; was instrumental in bringing the YMCA into the town; was a member of Glamorgan County Council; and President of the English Free Church Council in Aberdare. He left Aberdare around 1924 for Cardiff, and later retired to London to spend more time on his missionary work.
As a result of an incident on September 12th, 1934 at St. James’s Park Underground Station, London, he sustained severe injuries which resulted in his death soon afterwards at Westminster Hospital. He was 56 years old. On the evidence of the “motorman”, (the train diver), the Coroner concluded that the Rev Jeffreys had taken his own life. At this period he lived at Beulah Hill, London, SE19. He left a widow, Margretta Ann Jeffreys and a daughter Mrs Lilian M. (Rita) Bartrop.
 
Charles Butt Stanton M.P.
Charles Butt Stanton, (1873 – 1946) was an Aberaman-born trade unionist and politician. After the death of Kier Hardy in 1915, he won the by-election and served as one of the two MPs for the Merthyr Boroughs Constituency until 1918. He became the first Member of Parliament in the following general election for the separate constituency of Aberdare when it was established in 1918. He lost the seat in 1922 to the Labour Party candidate George Hall. Stanton’s life was eventful and one of tremendous contrasts: from spending six months in prison in 1893–94 for “feloniously and maliciously shooting at Samuel Rutter, a police inspector,” near Aberaman during a miners’ dispute; a short period as a docker in London; AUDC Councillor; MP 1915–22; a film actor in the 1920s & 1930s when he lived in Hampstead. A concise summary of his career can be found in the Welsh Biography Online here; and a more comprehensive account written by Reverend Ivor T. Rees of Swansea is in the Merthyr Historian, Vol. 25 (2013), p. 161-179.
 
Charles Butt Stanton M.P.
Emrys Prosser, (1896–1967), was a faithful and long-serving member of the PSA committee. He attended the school between 1911 and 1914, when he left to become an uncertificated teacher. His home Anwylfan was in Harriet Street. Eventually he became a secondary school teacher in Aberdare. Emrys is shown left in 1947, some 27 years after the event described above.
 
Charles Butt Stanton M.P.
James Abraham Lewis, B.D., was the Vicar of Aberdare, and is mentioned in the press report as having jointly conducted the religious service. He served in Aberdare from 1914 until 1931. He was married to the niece of the influential landowner and coalowner, James Lewis of Plasdraw House. Rev Lewis is pictured, left, at the time of his arrival in Aberdare in 1914.
 
Mr W. Charlton Cox & Mr E. Ogwen Williams : Notes about these members of school staff are to be found on this web-site in the Headmasters’ and Teachers’ sections respectively.
Names for the Plaque were communicated to the PSA and to the school by letter, word of mouth, but also by appeals in the press such as the one shown below that appeared in The Aberdare Leader of 10 October 1919. Adverts would have been placed in newspapers beyond the local area as several families had left the district by 1919, up to 16 years or so after the date when their children left the school. Even so, the information on the plaque for the last four past students is either incomplete or not wholly accurate.
We have no information about any past pupil who may have been omitted completely.
 
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