Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Extracts from the Handbook of
The National Eisteddfod of Wales, 1956 at Aberdare

from Colin Rees

school building

Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Frenhinol Cymru
Awst 6-11, 1956

extracts from the Eisteddfod Handbook with the names of many pupils

A major event took place in the town the year before I arrived at the grammar school in 1957: it was the National Eisteddfod.   As well as the eisteddfod, I also remember the Proclamation in 1955 when my school, Caradog Junior, was taken up to the park to respond to the call, “A oes Heddwch?” with a resounding, “Heddwch!”.  In addition, if you were a good singer, and in my school you had to be female as well, you could be chosen to represent your school in one of the school choirs at the Eisteddfod in the following year.

The organisation of the Eisteddfod demanded a huge planning effort in the years before it arrived. Many of the school staff were involved in the committee set up in the valley to help organise this event. The Eisteddfod Handbook lists these committee members as well as the names of hundreds of donors, with their addresses, who gave money to support the festival.

As well as the daily competitions, there were concerts that took place in the evenings.  There were six altogether: 

  • Monday Evening: The National Brass Band of Wales
  • Tuesday Evening: The Children’s Concert
  • Wednesday Evening:  A Concert given by the National Youth Orchestra of Wales
  • Thursday Evening: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Eisteddfod Choir and The London Symphony Orchestra
  • Friday Evening: An Orchestral Concert given by the L.S.O.
  • Saturday Evening: The Messiah with the Eisteddfod Choir and The London Symphony Orchestra

On the second night of the Eisteddfod, Tuesday August 7th, there was the concert given by the school choirs of the area.  The concert took as its theme ‘The Seasons’, with five or six pieces for each of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.   The Eisteddfod Handbook shows that most of the primary schools in the Cynon Valley took part as well as ones from Pontneddfechan and Glynnedd.  There was also a joint choral and drama item from the Boys’ and Girls’ Grammar Schools.

Almost everybody who participated in the Eisteddfod is mentioned in the Eisteddfod Handbook.  So, it’s possible to see who took part in the Tuesday event.  My year would have been in ‘Standard 4’ of the junior school in 1956, and the lists show some of my year, and the one above, taking part as primary school pupils.  The Grammar School list has some familiar names from two or three years above my year.

The Programme for the Children’s Concert

click the small images to see larger versions


‘ Y Tymhorau ’
W. Leonard James, Arweinydd: Idwal Rees, Dirprwy-Arweinydd: W.J. Evans


‘ Y Gwanwyn ’
‘ Yr Haf ’


‘ Yr Hydref ’
‘ Y Gaeaf ’


The Members of the Children’s Choir


Abernant, Caradog, Comin, Cwmdâr, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberdâr, Hirwaun, Llwytgoed


Penywaun, Y Gadlys, Aberaman, Aman, Blaengwawr, Capcoch, Cwmaman, Glynhafod


Cwmbach, Aman, Maerdy House, Ynyslwyd, Darrenlas, Abertâf, Gwernifor, Bryngolwg


Carnetown, Penrhiwceiber, Ynysboeth, Penrhiwceibr, Abercynon, Abertâf, Rhegos, Pontneddfechan, Glynnedd


Ysgol Gymraeg Glynnedd, Ysgol Ramadeg Aberdâr (Combined Aberdare Grammar Schools)