Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Certificate Ceremony, January 1906, for the class of 1905
Aberdare County School Prize Day .
SPEECH BY THE BISHOP OF LLANDAFF.
Last Thursday was the Aberdare County School [sic] Day, and despite the inclement weather and the prevailing election excitement1, there was a very good attendance at the Public Hall. The chair was taken by Mr. D. P. Davies, J.P., Chairman of the Local Governing Body, who in a brief, pithy address, commented on the progress of the school during the nine years of its existence. He referred also to the changes in the staffing which took place during last year, and especially to the departure of their headmaster, Mr. W. Jenkyn Thomas.
Mr. W. C. Cox, M.A., the headmaster, presented his report, from which we cull the following passages:—
NUMBER OF PUPILS.
The number of pupils on the school-roll was, in the first term 315; in the second, 299; and in the third, 286; making an average for the year of exactly 300. It is satisfactory to note that this is an increase of 22 over the average number on the roll during the preceding school-year. Our present numbers (317) represent practically the maximum that can be accommodated, and no further increase can be expected, or is, in the opinion of the Inspectors, desirable, till the school buildings are enlarged.
INSPECTION AND EXAMINATION.
On March 16th, the school was visited for the purpose of the triennial “complete and administrative” inspection by the Chief Inspector (Mr. Owen Owen, M.A.)2 the Assistant Inspector (Miss C. Linklater Thomson and Mr W. H. Young, M.A., Sc.D.). Their report, which was very satisfactory, has already been submitted to you.
The Cookery examination was held at the end of the Easter term. The examination in Needlework, the practical examination in Science, and the oral examination in French and English were also held in the course of the Summer term by the examiners appointed for that purpose by the Central Welsh Board. The annual written examination of the Board was held during the latter part of July. A large number of certificates was obtained on the work then sent in by our pupils, and the reports of the examiners as a whole were distinctly satisfactory.
EXHIBITIONS AND CERTIFICATES, GAINED DURING THE YEAR.
County Exhibitions.—On the results of the aforesaid examinations Glamorgan County Exhibitions of the value of £40 a year for three years, tenable at any University or place of higher education, were awarded to Lillian L. John and D. Edgar Price. The former has now proceeded to the University College of North Wales, Bangor, the latter to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Scholarship.—An entrance scholarship of the value of £15 a year, offered by the University College of North Wales, Bangor, was also won in open competition by Lillian L. John.
London Matriculation Examination.— Five pupils passed this examination in June last. Two, viz., J. J. Beckerlegge and Ezer Griffiths3 were placed in the First Division, and three, viz., Gwilym A. Jones, D. Edgar Price, and Thomas G. Jones in the Second Division.
Central Welsh Board Certificates.—On the results of the Central Welsh Board examinations 51 certificates were obtained by pupils of the school, 6 pupils being awarded the Honours Certificate, 17 the Senior Certificate, and 28 the Junior Certificate.
The Third Annual Athletic Sports were held on Thursday, June 22nd last, on the Ynys field, by kind permission of the Aberdare Athletic Club. The weather on this occasion was all that could be desired, and the function proved a great success. It is much to be regretted that the school appears to be no nearer getting a. playing-field of its own than it was a year ago. The necessity for such a field has been continually emphasized, both by the late Head-master in his annual reports, and by the Inspectors of the Board. Until such a. field is acquired, the development of the life of the school as a whole is much retarded, and the best results will never be obtained till this want is supplied.4
DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES AND CEITTIFICATES.
The Chairman called upon the Lord Bishop of Llandaff to distribute prizes and certificates to the following:—
Certificates Awarded by the Central Welsh Board on the Results of the Annual Examination.
Honours—Lillian John, T. G. Jones, D. E. Price5, D. Roderick, J. W. Rowland, May Williams.
Senior—J. J. Beckerlegge, D. R. Davies, E. Edwards, Nancy Edwards6, May Evans, Nellie Goodwin, Ezer Griffiths, Gwen Hughes, Maggie M. John, G. A. Jones, Gwladys Jones, J. D. Jones, Mary Jones, W. J. Jones, Lizzie Parfit, Mildred Pratt, Ethel Watkins.
Junior—Winnie Chapman, W. J. Curnow, Daniel Davies, D. A. Davies, D. F. Davies, E. W. Davies, R. L. Davies, Norman Evans, P. Halewood, M. L. Harland, Lizzie M. Harries, Chrissie Havard, Bronwen James, Lizzie H. Jenkins, Annetta John, R. G. Jones, Hettie Lewis, W. D. Lewis, Mariel Morgan, B. R. Price, B. Pugh, Annie Rogers, F. W. Smith, Henry Thomas, John Thomas, W. T. White, Arthur Williams, Dd. Williams.
Certificates Awarded by Trinity College. London.
Senior Division—Olive Thomas.
Junior Division—Enid Davies, Lilian Phelps.
Preparatory Grade—Hilda M. Jones, Edith M. Kent, Willie N. Morgan.
Certificates Awarded by the Assoc. Board of the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music.
Higher Division—Theoretical — Edith Handley, Olive Thomas.
Lower Division—Sophie Davies-Jones.
Elementary—Edith M. Kent.
PRIZES AWARDED BY THE GOVERNORS.
Form VI. (Upper)—French and English, Lilian L. John. Latin, May Williams.
Chemistry, D. E. Price. Mathematics and Physics, D. E. Price.
Form VI. (Lower)—Form Prize, Lizzie Parfitt. English and History, Ezer Griffiths. Mathematics, J. J. Beckerlegge. Latin, G. A. Jones. French, L. Parfitt. Science, Ezer Griffiths.
Form Va.—Form Prize, David Davies. English and History, Bronwen James. Mathematics, David Davies. Latin, Chrissie Havard. French, Albert Pugh.
Form Vb.—Form Prize, John Thomas. English and History, Winifred Chapman. Mathematics, W. I. Curnow. French, J. Thomas. Science, Hy. Thomas.
Shell—Form Prize, David F. Davies. English and History, Phoebe Corb. Mathematics, J. B. Jones. French, D. F. Davies. Science (Inc. Geog.), Evan W. Davies.
Form IV.—Form Prize, Trevor Reynolds. English and History—Gwladys John. Mathematics, Phoebe Charles. French, Ivy Lea. Geog. (Inc. Science), Gwilym Pierce.
Form III.—Form Prize, Irene Pratt. English and History, Irene Pratt. Mathematics, Irene Price. French, Elsie Jones.
Form IIa—Form Prize, Dorothy Rees.7 English and History, Dorothy Rees. Mathematics, Idris Jones. French. T. B. Reynolds.8
Form IIb.—Form Prize, Annie Henry. Mathematics, E. J. Davies. French, Lilian Phelps.
Form I.—Form Prize, Beatrice S. Thomas. English and History, Beatrice S. Thomas. Dressmaking, Mariel Morgan. Cookery, Mariel Morgan. Drawing, Taliesyn Millar. Woodwork, J. B. Jones. Welsh, L. T. Morgan. Domestic Economy, May George. Music (Senior), Sophie Davies-Jones. Junior, Edith May Kent.
The Bishop, addressing the children, advised them not to be too anxious to become men and women at once. While they remaned [sic] boys and girls let them be content to be so, and let them act as such. Children were prone to ape their elders, and unfortunately they were more liable to imitate their bad habits than their good habits. He observed that a great number of young children were addicted to smoking. In Japan recently the military authorities discovered that the physical status of the army recruits was on the down grade. An enquiry made to the cause thereof forced them to the conclusion that this deterioration must be attributed to the smoking prevalent among young boys. Consequently they passed a law forbidding anyone under 20 to smoke. He would advise all young men under 20 to refrain from smoking. Addressing the Governors of the School his Lordship pointed out how essential it was that the Governing Body and the staff should work together in harmony and sympathy with the one object of promoting the child’s best education. He enjoined the staff to aim at high ideals in education. He would endorse one or two things which Mr. Cox had referred to in his address. Firstly he would ask the parents to cooperate with the teachers in the work of supervising the education of their children. That the parents should interest themselves in the tuition of the children and assist the teachers in their work was most important. Again, he noted with pleasure that Mr. Cox intended to establish a Civil Service Class at the School. In approving of this step the School Authority would show what he termed a “flexibility of adaptation.” Their pupils should widen their outlook when seeking for an avocation in life. Their education should be such as would befit them for commercial positions, and not for the scholastic profession only. His Lordship also dwelt on the importance of making the school a powerful factor in the formation of character. No school was complete unless it was an agency for moral training. In this respect the parents should set their offsprings an example. In conclusion the speaker strongly endorsed Mr. Cox’s reference to the urgent need of a playing field in connection with the school. A rational devotion to athletics benefited the children, not only physically, but intellectually and morally as well.
Mrs. W. Lloyd9, a member of the Local Governing Body, in moving a vote of thanks to the Bishop, said: —“I esteem it an honour and privilege that I have been asked by my fellow governors to propose a vote of thanks to our distinguished visitor, the Lord Bishop of Llandaff, for his honouring us by his presence here to-day to distribute the prizes at our annual meeting. We feel proud that one in his exalted position, and amid his other numerous and responsible duties, should graciously attend a function of this character.”
Mr. G. George10, J.P., another of the Governors, seconded the vote of thanks, which was carried with acclamation.
The School Choir, under the conductorship of Mr. Tom Price11, sang beautifully “Our boat leaps out from land.” The meeting concluded with the singing of “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau,” and “God Save the King.” Miss Lilian Phelps was the accompanist.
Some fine specimens of woodwork executed by the pupils at the school were displayed in the hall.
We congratulate Mr. Cox, the headmaster, and the staff, on the satisfactory progress which the school is making, which must be a source of great satisfaction to the Governing Body and to parents and the public in general.
- This was the general election of 1906, held in January and February of that year. The Liberals, led by Henry Campbell-Bannerman, won a large majority in the election. The Merthyr Boroughs constituency, of which Aberdare was a part, returned D.A. Thomas (Liberal) and Keir Hardy, (Labour). In the ensuing Parliament, Keir Hardy was elected Chairman of the new Parliamentary Labour Party — by one vote.
- Mr. Owen Owen, (1850–1920) was a headmaster of Oswestry School. He became the first Chief Inspector of the Central Welsh Board for Intermediate Education. The Board of Education had a separate team inspectors that also visited the school.
- Ezer Griffiths was eventually elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has an entry in the Former Pupils section of this website.
- The Robertstown playing field was eventually acquired and was first rented in 1909.
- Dewi Emlyn Price was the son of the well-known headmaster and local historian W.W. Price. As Rev Dewi Emlyn Price he was the father of Peter N. Price who attended the school from 1954 to 1960. Peter Price has an entry in the Former Pupils section of this website.
- Nancy Edwards, of Cwmdare Post Office, married D.O. Roberts and was the mother of Dafydd Roberts, the Aberdare dental surgeon. D.O. Roberts has an entry in the Former Pupils section of this website.
- Dorothy Jessie Charlotte Rees became a long-serving member of staff at the Aberdare Girls County School; she was appointed in 1917 and retired in December 1945. Prior to her appointment at Aberdare, she had spent short periods elsewhere: Compiègne, 1913–14, Marlborough G.S., 1914–16, and Llandovery County School, 1916–17. She was the sister of Alderman Florence Rose Davies, CBE, JP. At the age of 59, and after teaching for 31 years, Dorothy Rees married Johan Schaaf in 1952.
- Thomas Brinley Reynolds became Headmaster of the school. There is an entry for him in the Headmasters’ section of this website.
- Mrs W. Lloyd, was Mrs Walter Lloyd, school governor, and proprietor of the ‘Gwladgarwr Office’, 14 Canon Street. Although known as Mrs Walter Lloyd her name was Mary Smith Lloyd. She and her husband, Walter, were founder members of Trinity Presbyterian Church, and until shortly after her husband’s death in 1883, they ran the newspaper Y Gwladgarwr. Originally from Denny, in Stirlingshire, Mrs Lloyd lived after retirement with her youngest daughter Isabella at 1 Highland Place. Isabella married Evan Emrys Evans in 1902, and subsequently Mrs Lloyd went to live with her son-in-law and daughter at 9/10 Victoria Square above the Chemists Shop. She died in 1921, and according to her obituary, she had been “a force to be reckoned with in the town.”
- Griffith George, (1847–1910), was the proprietor of The Bee Hive drapery in Victoria Square. He was born in Llangoedmor, near Cardigan, but like many other Aberdarians of this period in the mid-1870s, he had moved from west Wales to the more prosperous south Wales valleys. He became a J.P., a member of the first Aberdare Urban District Council, a founding governor of the County School, a deacon at Heolyfelyn Welsh Baptist Chapel, Trecynon, and, a writer who competed in Eisteddfodau. He died in Tenerife whilst on a visit intended to benefit his health. More details about him can be found here in his obituary from the Cardiff Times, dated 19 February, 1910, and from other press cuttings.
- Tom Price, (1857–1925) was born in Rhymney. After his elementary education at the British School in Rhymney he entered the mines at the age of 10 years. Self taught he was to become a visiting music teacher employed by the Glamorgan County Council, and lived at 17 Alma Street, Merthyr Tydfil. He was an accomplished choir master and a prolific composer winning prizes at the National Eisteddfodau at Caernarfon, London, Brecon, Bangor and Swansea where he won the Blue Riband for composition. For the Carmarthen Eisteddfod he trained three Cardiganshire choirs — and all three won! After resignation from his post he was succeeded by Miss Alice S. Williams, L.R.A.M. of Aberdare, who was permanently engaged as a music instructor to the two schools, attending one day per week. Tom Price is buried in Cefn Cemetery. He has a short entry in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography Online here.