Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Certificate Ceremony, November 1910, for the class of 1910
Aberdare County School.
On Thursday, the annual prize distribution in connection with the Aberdare County School took place at the New Empire, Coun. D. Hughes, the chairman of the Board of Governors, in the chair. There were also present, Mrs. W. Lloyd1, Mrs. J. Griffiths2, Couns. W. Thomas, T. Walter Williams 3, T. Lewis, L. N. Williams4, Governors of the School; Mr. W. Kenshole5, High Constable; J D. Thomas6 Clerk to the Governors; W. Charlton Cox, headmaster, as well as the staff of the school and a large number of the parents.
The school choir, at the outset, sang “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau,” and “Hob y Deri Dando,” under the conductorship of Mr. Tom Price7.
Mr. W. Charlton Cox, M.A., the headmaster, who was accorded an enthusiastic reception by the students, then presented a report, from which the following extracts are made :—
“As usual, my first duty is to record the number of pupils who were on the register during the year. As I foretold in my last report the fall in numbers, which set in on the departure of the Mountain Ash pupils, was last year checked. The full details are: Autumn term 1909, 133 boys and 115 girls; total, 248. Spring term, 1910, 131 boys and 118 girls; total, 249. Summer term, 1910, 120 boys and 106 girls; total, 226. This makes an average for the year of 241 pupils on the register, an increase of one over the average of the previous session. I am pleased to record that there have been no changes in the staff during the past session. Mr. W. H. Fenton8, who had been appointed in the previous April, took up his duties on the commercial side in September, 1909. The number of pupil teachers and bursars attending during the session were as follows :— P T.’s in first year, 8 boys, 2 girls; total, 10. P.T.’s in second year, 5 boys, 7 girls; total, 12. Bursars, 2 boys; total, 2. With one exception these all worked in a praiseworthy manner. Nine sat for the preliminary certificate examination, and of these seven, viz., Helen Williams, Rachel M. Edwards, George H. Evans, Alex McCarthy, Aneurin Rees, Thomas R. Stubbins, and D. J. Edwards were successful, Rachel Edwards gaining distinction in English. Of the remainder, three, viz., Lilian M. Evans, Annie Henry, and D. J. Parsons, gained the senior certificate, Lilian Evans gaining distinction in arithmetic, and D. J. Parsons in arithmetic and English. Of the two bursars, one, W. J. Morris, passed the London matriculation examination and the senior certificate, gaining distinction in English; the other was absent during the last six months owing to typhoid fever. The commercial department has continued to grow and to do successful work. For the third year in succession one of the pupils, viz., Gordon W. Chapman, gained the Central Welsh Board commercial certificate. During the session one pupil, Muriel Stephens, passed the female learners’ examination, and entered the Post Office; another, A. F. Lambert, gained a boy clerkship in open competition; two boys, Harold Mathias and Mostyn George, gained posts as clerks in the London and Provincial Bank, and two others, L. M. Webb and Ithel Jones, were accepted by Lloyds Bank. Several of the certificates gained in the Central Welsh Board examinations also fell to the lot of pupils of this department. The Central Welsh Board examinations were held from July 12th to July 27th inclusive, and were of a very comprehensive nature. I may here summarise the results: Total number of certificates gained, 55; marks of distinction gained, 46; these were apportioned thus:—Honours certificates, 4; higher certificates, 3; senior certificates, 17 (with 14 distinctions); commercial certificate, 1; junior certificates, 30 (with 32 distinctions). Features of interest are that all our honours candidates were again successful; that the number of senior and commercial certificates gained is one more than in last year’s examination; the number of distinctions gained exceeds last year’s number by 21; finally, six candidates gained exemption from Welsh Matriculation. In respect to scholarships and exhibitions gained we surpassed all previous years. Each of the four honours candidates, viz., Gwladys John, Irene Pratt, Dorothy Rees9, and Brinley Reynolds10 gained County scholarships or exhibitions of the approximate value of £40 a year for three years, and another County scholarship was won by Trefor J. Reynolds. The Caroline Williams’ scholarship (value £25 a year) was also won by Irene Pratt, and G. John and Trefor Reynolds gained exhibitions of £10 a year in open competition at Cardiff University College. This year I introduced the house system into the boys’ games with promising results. A much keener spirit was displayed by the boys, and many more than usual took part in the games. In conclusion, I wish to tender my hearty thanks alike to my colleagues and to the Governors for the energetic and enthusiastic manner in which they have co-operated with me in securing the successful working of the school during the past twelve months. Since this report was drawn up G. W. Chapman has been awarded the Glamorgan County commercial exhibition, of the approximate value of £10 a year for three years.”
CENTRAL WELSH BOARD
Honours Certificate (4), — Gwladys John, Irene Pratt, Dorothy Rees, Brinley Reynolds.
Higher Certificate (3), — Luther Bosher, Idris Jones, Lewis T. Morgan.
Senior Certificate (17), — Catherine Connolly, Archie L. Davies, Maggie B. Davies, Thomas Davies, Lilian M. Evans, Annie Henry, Griffith C. Hughes11, Sarah M Jenkins, Ellen M. Mason, William James Morris, David J. Parsons, Jennet Powell, Irene Price, Aneurin Rhydderch, Thomas Roderick, George M. Williams, Sadie M. Williams.
Commercial Certificate (1). — Gordon W. Chapman.
Junior Certificate (30). — Harry E. Allen, G. K. Burgess, Ivor Davies, Sarah J. Davies, William Rees Davies, Dorothy Elliott, Nancy Erskine, David J. Evans, Sarah M. Garrett, Mostyn F. George, William T. W. Harry, Katie M. Hughes, Sidney Jenkins, Richard D. John, Catherine J. Jones, Archie Jones, A. Frank Lambert, Austin M. Lewis, Murial Lewis, Amy V. Minty, Bronwen Morgan, Herbert C. Oxenham, William Charles Oxenham, Sarah J. Rees, Mary Roderick, Geoffrey L. Thomas, Cassie Walker, Frances A. Walters, Gwilym H. Watkins, John T. Williams.
Preliminary Certificate Examination.— Aneurin Rees, George Howell Evans, Helen Williams, Rachel M. Edwards, (distinction in English), Alex McCarthy, David J. Edmunds12, Thomas R. Stubbins.
London Matriculation Examination. — William James Morris.
The Female Learners’ Examination for the Post Office.—Muriel Stevens.
Boy Clerkship in the Savings Bank.—Arthur F. Lambert.
Pupils who entered Joint Stock Banks. — Leslie M. Webb, Harold T. Mathias, Mostyn F. George, Ithel Jones (qualified).
Mrs D. Lleufer Thomas, the wife of the Stipendiary Magistrate for Pontypridd, a native of Aberdare, distributed the certificates and prizes won by the students.
NO “WOODEN-HEADED” PUPILS.
Mr. D. Lleufer Thomas13 afterwards gave an address, and said he was very pleased to be among them. He was generally engaged not in distributing prizes and certificates, but pains and penalties (laughter). Every town in Wales had some history and traditions, and Aberdare’s educational traditions were second to none. Every one knew something of the history of “Ysgol Commin,” which had swayed such influence in the past, and of whom so many of its scholars occupied important and honourable positions throughout the Principality and beyond it. To later schools, private and others, they were indebted for some excellent work done (hear, hear). The report of the headmaster proved that the pupils of the school were not wooden-headed. As a reply to that taunt, he would refer to the certificates in English Literature won by those before him. After all, the gaining of certificates and scholarships was not everything. The work of such a school was to lay down the foundation of the general development of the pupils that would tend to make good citizens. Schools should foster the espirit [sic] de corps among the children. He could not understand that the Government had confined the medical inspection of the pupils to those attending the elementary schools. Educational success was not all. There was a moral success. Intellectualism without moral stamia [sic] would never make great men; neither could a nation without integrity be great (loud applause). He urged them all to be good citizens, and a great deal could be done by the school in an indirect way in that direction (loud applause).
Speeches were delivered by the High Constable, Mrs. Walter Lloyd, Coun. L. N. Williams, and W. Thomas, and drills followed.
- Mrs Walter Lloyd was Mary Smith Lloyd. Three years later in 1913 she was to be the guest of honour and performed the ceremonial opening of the new Girls’ School in Plasdraw. Mrs Lloyd and her husband, Walter, were founder members of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Canon Street, and until her husband’s death in 1883, they ran the newspaper Y Gwladgarwr. In her old age Mrs Lloyd went to live with her daughter and son-in-law E. Emrys Evans at 9/10 Victoria Square above the Chemists Shop.
- Mrs. J Griffiths was probably the wife of Mr. John Griffiths, headmaster of Park School for Boys, 1882—1911.
T. Walter Williams, 1857-1929. Thomas Walter Williams was born in Hirwaun. His family
moved to Trecynon where his father ran the London Warehouse. T. Walter was educated
at Trecynon Seminary under the Rev. Rees Jenkin Jones, Broniestyn. Thence he proceeded
to University College School, London, and from there to UCL itself where he took a
first class degree in physics in 1879. Following the wishes of his father he converted
to law, and by 1882 he was called to the Bar, Middle Temple. He practised at The Central
Criminal Court and The Old Bailey, before joining the South Wales Circuit.
For 15 years he took a prominent role in the municipal affairs of Aberdare: he was a local councillor, school governor, member of Glamorgan County Council, and served on the Military Tribunal in Aberdare during the Great War. He also deputised for Sir T. Marchant Williams as stipendiary magistrate for Merthyr and Aberdare. T. Walter Williams died at his home Glenview in Trecynon in 1929. He had two surviving daughters Eileen and Cynthia. Cynthia Williams married Walter Pontin who entered the school in 1908; the couple were the parents of Geoff Pontin, ABGS 1940-48.
- Lewis Noah Williams lived at Caecoed, Graig Street. He was the son of William Williams, (Carw Coch), who in 1837 opened the Stag Inn, Harriet Street. L.N. Williams entered into partnership with Evan Thomas to run and own the well-known Cambrian Lampworks which was most successful in manufacturing miners lamps, oil fuelled initially and, in more modern times, battery driven electrical versions as well. Mr Williams served as chairman of governors 1913-1915, and was a prominent Aberdare citizen. He died in February 1919, aged 73.
- William Kenshole a solicitor and member of the firm of Linton and C. and W. Kenshole of Cardiff and Aberdare. He was a benefactor of Aberdare Hospital.
- John D. Thomas was Clerk to the Governors and a solicitor with offices at 29 Canon Street.
- 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 Price’s resignation from his post of visiting music
teacher 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 at each. Tom Price is buried in Cefn Cemetery. He has
a short entry written by Gwilym P. Ambrose, a former headmaster of the school,
in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, online at
- William Henry Fenton taught commercial subjects at the school from 1909 to 1914. He left the school to become the manager of Dominion Business College, Winnipeg, Canada.
- Dorothy J.C. Rees became a long-serving member of staff at the Aberdare Girls County School. She was the sister of Alderman Florence Rose Davies, CBE, JP.
- Brinley Reynolds became Headmaster of the school. There is an entry for him in the Headmaster’s section of this website.
- Griffith Caradoc Hughes, attended the school from 1904 until 1909. He lived at 16 Ynyslwyd Street in Foundry Town and received his elementary education at the Town Council School. After the County School he entered U.C. Cardiff in 1912, and eventually progressed to Senior French Master and then to Deputy Headmaster at Barry Boys’ Grammar School. He wrote a brief article about his time at the Aberdare County School in the 75th Anniversary Booklet which can be found in the History section of this website.
- David James Edmunds became a teacher in Hirwaun. His son David Eric Edmunds attended the school from 1942 to 1949 and is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Sussex.
- The guest speaker Mr Daniel Lleufer Thomas, (1863 - 1940), was at the time of this ceremony the stipendiary magistrate for the Petty Sessional Division of Pontypridd. He was educated at Llandovery College. From there he proceeded to Oxford, where he graduated in jurisprudence. He then went to Lincoln’s Inn with a Tancred scholarship in common law. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in May, 1889, and immediately joined the South Wales circuit. He had two connections with Aberdare: firstly, his maternal grandfather was a half-brother of Thomas Evans (Tomos Glyn Cothi, 1764 - 1833), minister at Hen Dŷ Cwrdd, Trecynon from 1811; and secondly he married, 18 June 1892, at St. Pancras Church, Mary Gethin of Aberdare, a great-grand-daughter of Tomos Glyn Cothi. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the National Library of Wales, and contributed from 1891 to the Dictionary of National Biography, having been introduced to this task by Rev Rees Jenkin Jones, Broniestyn, (1835 - 1924), also a minister at Hen Dŷ Cwrdd, 1864-1872, and 1879-1909. D. Lleufer Thomas was granted a knighthood in the New Year’s honours list of 1931. After his death and prior to his interment at Oystermouth Cemetery there was a memorial service held at The Temple of Peace in Cardiff.