Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Memories and Memorabilia
Celebrations in Aberdare Schools,
St David’s Day, 1914
A transcript of part of the whole-page article from The Aberdare Leader that described in detail the activities that took place in schools on St. David’s Day, 1914. The paragraph relevant to the Boys’ County School is produced in full at the end.
St. David’s Day.
CELEBRATIONS IN ABERDARE
Owing to St. David’s Day falling on a Sunday this year the national festival was observed in the Aberdare Schools on Friday. In each school the head teacher made his or her own arrangements. In some schools, such as Cwmbach, Cwmaman, Town National, and Park Girls’, the public halls were used for purposes of celebration. Everywhere the proceedings were marked with great enthusiasm, and they seemed to surpass all previous efforts in this direction. It is gratifying to the public of Aberdare and to the Education Committee to find this Patriotic movement taking such a firm hold of the schools. The programmes had been drafted in accordance with suggestions from the Board of Education. One special feature of this year’s proceedings was the many dramatic sketches performed. This is a splendid method of impressing on the minds of the children the work and character of Welsh National leaders. Excellent sketches of this type had been composed by Mr John Davies, Attendance Officer, and Councillor Ogwen Williams1, and were performed with great success. At the Park Girls’ School were enacted several sketches written by Miss Amy Minty2, a young student teacher in that school, who shows a wonderful promise in this capacity. Her sketches deserve special prominence, and should be placed on the programmes of the schools for future use. One of them dealt with the epoch-makers of Welsh history, bringing out the best-known Welsh characters from Dewi Sant down to Llewelyn y Llyw Olaf. On Friday, in all parts of the district, children garbed in the picturesque Welsh costume and representing various historic characters might be seen thronging to school. In many places parents had assembled in large numbers, and it was refreshing to see them taking such a deep interest in the doings of the children.
There followed detailed reports from individual schools, in many cases the children performed in front of parents in the company of local distinguished guests. Reports from the following schools were presented: Aberdare Town National at the Memorial Hall, Abernant (Mixed), Ynyslwyd Mixed School, Blaengwawr Boys; School, Blaengwawr Infants, Aman Infants, Aman Girls’ School, Aman Boys’ School, St. Fagan’s Boys’ School, St. Fagan’s Girls’ School, Cwmdare Schools, Park Infants’ School, Park Boys’ School, Capcoch Schools, Gadlys Higher Standard (Girls’), Aberaman Girls’ School, Blaengwawr Girls’ School, Cwmaman Schools, Glynhafod Mixed School, Abernant Infants’ School, Aberaman Infants’ School, St. Fagan’s Infants’ School, Cwmbach Council Schools at the Workmen’s Hall, Cwmbach Church Schools, Aberaman Boys’ School, Park Girls’ School, Aberdare County School (Boys). The last of these reports is reproduced below.
ABERDARE COUNTY SCHOOL (BOYS).
— A competitive meeting was held at the County School on Friday evening. Chairman, Mr L. N. Williams, J.P., chairman of the Governors. He was supported by Mr W. Charlton Cox, M.A., headmaster, and Mrs Cox; Mr R. H. Miles3 (High Constable) and Mrs Miles, and the masters at the school. The adjudicators were: Music, Councillor W. Rees and Mr J. R. Evans, G. and L.; literature, Revs. W. Davies, M.A., and Thomas Jones, B.A.; miscellaneous, Mrs Lloyd, Mrs Griffiths, Mrs Botting4, and Mrs Williams. Awards: Pianoforte solo, Howard Davies, Aberdare; recitation, J. D. Powell, Cwmdare; alto solo, W. J. Evans, Cwmaman; Welsh games, Emrys Prosser5, Trecynon; tenor solo, David Nicholas6, Trecynon; photography, Garfield Thomas; recitation (open), J. D. Powell, Cwmdare; drawing leek and wooden spoon, Philip Lindsey, Robertstown, and Tom Evans, Gadlys, equal; consolation, Sammy Jones, Aberaman; duet, J. O. Parry, Abercwmboi, and Trevor Bayton, Trecynon; penillion singing, Emrys Evans, Mountain Ash, and David Nicholas, equal; recitation, J. Peters, Abernant; instrumental solo, J. O. Parry (violin), and consolation prize, given by the chairman, to Richard Richards, who played the euphonium; composing imaginary dialogue, Ben Davies, Trecynon; short stories, John Hugh, Aberdare; solo for boys, J. B. Jones, Aberdare; fancy dress competition, five entered. Two were dressed as Welsh dames, one represented Dewi Sant, another Owen Glyndwr, and the fifth, Iolo Morganwg. The prize was awarded to Bertie Berry7 (Iolo Morganwg). Bass solo, Emrys Evans; duet, Emrys Evans and David Nicholas. Solo for staff, divided between the four who competed, Messrs Ogwen Williams, Aubrey Roberts, Timothy Davies, and Brinley Reynolds. The final and the most exciting item was the Form Choral competition. Five Forms entered, and Form Three, conducted by Mr Bertie Lewis, Aberdare, were adjudged the best. The result was hailed with great delight. The winning choir sang “Clychau Aberdyfi,” harmonised by Mr J. R. Evans.
The original article can be found in full at
- Councillor E. Ogwen Williams was also a member of staff at the school. He served from 1898-1932, and taught a range of subjects. He has a separate entry in the Teachers Section of this website.
- Amy Minty was a pupil at the mixed County School 1907–1913 and transferred in 1913 to the new Girls’ County School. She was both a Bursar and a Student Teacher at school, and eventually was admitted to UC Cardiff.
- Mr R. H. Miles (High Constable) was a prominent citizen of Aberdare.
He was the proprietor of a butcher's shop in Victoria Square, and of a
restaurant in Canon Street. A brief account of his life can be found at
- Mrs Margaret Edith Botting (née Jones), a native of High Wycombe, was the wife of Mr. Thomas Botting, J.P., B.A., B.Sc, an Aberdarian who was the town’s Director of Education at a time when Aberdare ran its own Elementary Schools. Mr Botting contested the headship of the County School in August 1905, when he was a tutor at Bangor Training College. However he was passed over in favour of Mr W. Charlton Cox. Mr Botting’s mother was a member of the Howells family of Maesgwyn, Cwmdare.
- Emrys Prosser became a teacher in Aberdare, and was active in the Past Student Association.
- David (‘Dai’) Sidney Nicholas (1897–1982) of Meirion Street, Trecynon, attended the school from 1909 until 1914, and was a student teacher in his final year. In 1912, he was capped by Wales at schoolboy level. He served in the Royal Navy in World War 1 and then, from 1920 until 1930, he was a professional footballer making 52, 56 and 166 appearances for Merthyr Town, Stoke City and Swansea Town respectively. After his playing days, he trained to be a teacher at Carmarthen, and eventually became Head teacher of Cwmaman Junior School where he stayed until his retirement.
- Bertie Berry was the son of Councillor Richard Lewis Berry, the proprietor of the Globe Photographic Studios in Commercial Street, a business he inherited from his father, J. Lendon Berry. Bertie Berry was the father of Brian Lendon Berry, another past pupil who has contributed several articles to this website.