Contributed by Geoffrey Evans, Cynon Valley History Society
It was customary in the late nineteenth century for members of the community to make monetary contributions to help finance the construction public buildings. This was the case in Aberdare when the building of the Intermediate School took place.
With reference to the three document scans below, the first three columns on pages 2 & 3 show the names of the donors and the amounts that were subscribed. Apart from the colliery subscriptions at the end of the list, the donors are listed with the most generous coming first. In this case, Lord Aberdare headed the list with £250 0s 0d. The total amount collected was £1710 16s 0d and to this was added the Building Grant from the Glamorgan County Council of £4500 0s 0d. Local historians of the Aberdare area will be able to identify in the lists the names of several prominent Aberdarians of the late nineteenth century. For example, L.N. Williams was an active supporter of the school and local industrialist; he was the Williams of the E. Thomas & Williams Lamp Works. Although he had taken a great interest in the Aberdare School and was instrumental in setting up Intermediate Schools in Wales, by the time the school was opened, Lord Aberdare had died.
The second column on page 3 shows the payments that were made to various people during the construction and during the preparations for the opening of the school. There are several fascinating items here: the name of the architect and his fees; the cost of the silver trowel and mallet, used for the laying of the foundation stone; £2 to the painter of the school railings; £17 12s 0d for the opening ceremony described elsewhere on this site; and many other items which give an insight to the activities in Trecynon before the school opened.
You will also see that after all the payments had been made, there was a surplus of £541 18s 7d. This was transferred to the school bank account to be used for maintaining the scholarships that were awarded annually by the school.
Although the school opened in the autumn of 1896, the document is dated October 22nd, 1897 ; presumably it took a year to finalise the accounts!
Click on the images below to see the detail on each of the pages