Walter Charlton Cox

Teacher 1897 – 1905
Head Master 1905 ‐ 1937

Former County School


The news of the death of Mr. W. Charlton Cox on Friday last was received with genuine regret by his many friends in Aberdare and district. The sad event occurred at his residence in Penylan Road, Cardiff, after a very trying illness.
A native of Birkenhead, he studied at the Liverpool Collegiate School, and later privately, gaining the London B.A. with double honours. While at Aberdare he obtained his M.A. degree. He joined the staff of Aberdare County School when it was founded in 1897. When the headmaster, Mr. Jenkyn Thomas, M.A., was appointed headmaster of Hackney Down School, London, in 1905, Mr. Cox was selected out of 49 applicants, and was headmaster for 31 years—until his retirement a year ago. For the first four years (before his appointment as headmaster) he was responsible for the work of the Honours Form in English language and English literature, and during that period eighteen pupils obtained the Honours certificates in these subjects, and not a single failure had occurred, while six County Exhibitions of £40 a year for three years had been won.
Recognising the importance of Welsh, Mr. Cox deemed it his duty to study that language of which he knew enough to read with comparative ease and to carry on conversation. He wrote a history for schools, the aim of which was to give special prominence to Welsh history.
Mr. Cox was a former chairman of the Association of Secondary Schools Headmasters, and had acted on many occasions as examiner for the County Scholarship Examinations. Under his headship Aberdare County School produced a number of brilliant scholars who to-day hold important positions. He was an elder of St. David’s Presbyterian Church, Aberdare, for many years.
He is survived by his widow (a daughter of Mrs. Daniel and the late Mr. Daniel, Llwydcoed) and four children, all of whom are in the medical profession viz., David, Arthur, Margaret and Alfred George who is at present a medical student at Cardiff.

Lived for His School.


A year ago to the week of his death, Mr. Cox was honoured by the School Past Students’ Association at a complimentary dinner which was attended by 1l6 guests, who were representative of almost every year of his period as headmaster.
As was the case at the prize distribution and other similar functions held that year, Mr. Cox was given a great ovation, the fervour with which “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” was sung bearing eloquent testimony to the big place the retiring head had won in the hearts of his students.
A striking tribute was paid by Mr. Emrys Prosser, chairman of the Past Students’ Association who said:
“This marks the end of an epoch and the beginning of a new one. The ‘skipper’ is leaving for good the good old ship which has been his home for forty years, and is handing over the helm to his gallant first mate. The passengers and crew have come together to express to him their gratitude for having steered them safely through so many tempestuous seas. Among his passengers are scores of men and women who have won distinction for themselves in various walks of life—as scientists, doctors, lawyers, preachers, and many more who have attained great eminence in the world of education.


The members of his staff are mere specialists in their own particular subjects, and a specialist has been defined as a man who knows more and more about less and less. Mr. Cox was no specialist in that sense of the term. As a headmaster he has had to act as a sort of general practitioner, and has taken senior classes in Mathematics, Latin, Greek and German. We as pupils marvelled at his erudition, and all the time the wonder grew that one small head could carry all he knew.
Another tribute was by Coun. Trevor Vaughan who said:—“The test for a ...... school is the quality of the old students, and if that is correct, then Mr. Cox can feel justly proud.”
Mr. W. R. Williams (the present headmaster) said: “If Mr: Cox wants a monument to his work he has only to look around him.”
Mr. Cox was loved by every boy in the school, and that was a greater tribute than any words could give effect to.


It was evident from Mr. Cox’s response that it was a big wrench for him to leave his old school. Every word of his short speech was spoken with emotion. He seemed as if he was parting with all that he had in life. Referring to the cartoon, entitled, “Dropping the Pilot,” which appeared in Punch when Bismarck was dismissed by the Kaiser, Mr. Cox said that the school that night was also dropping the pilot. With tears in his eyes he resumed his seat, and it was with “lumps” in our throats that we applauded.