Abertillery Intermediate County School – A History

Abertillery Intermediate County School – A History

Abertillery Intermediate County School.
In the early 1890s the Welsh Education Authorities under the Welsh Intermediate Act of 1889 decided to set up Intermediate Schools in all areas of Wales able to support them.

On Thursday 24th February 1892 the need of an Intermediate School for Abertillery was first raised. A letter was read from the Clerk to the County Council that the Education Committee had provisionally settled that an Intermediate School to provide accommodation for 70 boys and 50 girls be placed at Abertillery.

On Thursday 3rd March 1892 at an ordinary monthly meeting of the Abertillery Local Board at the Board-room Blaina, consisting of the following members – Mr G. B. Hammond (Chairman); Mr H. J. Phillips; Mr Joseph Wallace; Mr T. Robins; Mr J. Gregory; Mr J. T. Dawson; Mr W. Jordan; Mr James McBean (Surveyor) and Mr John A. Shepard (Clerk): It was stated to initiate funding for the Intermediate School and several people had been approached for subscriptions.

On Wednesday 9th March 1892 a meeting was held at the National Schools, Abertillery to consider matters in connection with the Intermediate School. The meeting consisted of the following members – Mr Samuel Nathan Jones (Chairman); Mr L. R. Rogers; Mr Titus Phillips; Mr W. B. Harrison; Mr T. Robins; Mr James McBean; Mr William Jordan; Mr T. Bevan; Mr Joseph Wallace; Rev J. F. Rees (Vicar); Rev T. Griffiths; Rev T. T. Evans Mr D. Hussey and Mr C. W. Carpenter: The Chairman stated that it was necessary for them to obtain £600 and a site to erect the Intermediate School, they had a lot of support from Nantyglo, Blaina, Aberbeeg and Crumlin and that Messrs Webb Bros were mentioned as persons likely to give land for a site.

On Wednesday 23rd March 1892 it was announced that a deputation was in talks with Messrs Webb Bros over a acre of land given by them to the Council for the proposed site of the Intermediate School.

On Monday 16th May 1892 at a meeting held at the National Schools, Abertillery, in support of the Intermediate School, Mr Titus Phillips was appointed Chairman. Rev T. Griffiths reported he had secured a promise from Mr Edward Jones (Partridge, Jones & Co) Snatchwood, that he would give a donation. Also the miners from Six Bells and Penybont Colliery would subscribe 1 shilling each. Rev T. T. Rees said Cwmtillery Colliery was in dispute and there was little chance of the miners there helping at the moment. Mr Gunter had approached the Tin Work staff and they had yet to have a meeting. Mr A. C. Goddard of the Capital and Counties Bank was asked to take the post of Treasurer. They were awaiting a response from Messrs Lancaster.

During the meeting a large Committee was formed consisting of members from all denominations and works, as follows – Drs Williams; D. C. Muir; J. Kerr Muir; Sullivan and Sargent: Mr T. Bevan; E. J. Williams; J. T. Baker; T. W. Allen, members of the Chamber Of Trade and the following representatives of the workmen – Cwmtillery, Mr Alf Hill; Mr E. Harris; Mr G. Dauncey; Mr G. Purnell; Mr D. Sage; Mr E. Barnes Mr John Evans (Blacksmith); Mr Tom Price; Mr Kelson; Mr D. Jones and Mr F. W. T. Clarke: Penybont, Mr T. Jones; Mr T. Richards; Mr J. T. Collier; Mr W. Treharne; Mr W. Spencer; Mr J. Harris; Mr A. Frowen; Mr Mark Ashley; Mr T. Price and Mr T. James: Messrs Robin’s Level, Mr T. Smith; Mr A. Withers and Mr C. Brittain: The Cwmnanty Level, Mr Jesse Daggar and Mr Henry Rees: The Tinworks, Mr Jonah Jenkins; Mr James Jenkins; Mr D. Smith; Mr John Winmill; Mr T. Lewis; Mr W. Rosser; Mr W. Wheeler; Mr A. Jones; Mr W. Prosser; Mr John James and Mr Job Gilligan: It was also considered that a committee of Ladies be formed. At this time the Co-operative Staff and Management were large contributors towards the proposed Intermediate School.

On Thursday 8th November 1894 the first meeting of the newly appointed Managers of the Intermediate Education Scheme was held at the Local Board Offices, Abertillery. It consisted of the following members – Mr Titus Phillips J.P. (Chairman); Mr John Dakers (Lancaster Co); Mrs T. Phillips; Mrs W. Thomas; Mr S. N. Jones; Mr W. Thomas; Mr W. Y. Hobkirk; Mr G. R. Webb and Rev T. Griffiths (Clerk): The Clerk reported that with reference to the site of the Intermediate School, he accompanied Mr G. R. Webb to the site between the Tin Works Feeder and the River Ebbw in the valley and produced a plan of that site which they were offering free as a site for the School. The committee expressed their sorrow at the fact that site had been offered and said that they didn’t want the new school being in a hollow in the valley but preferred it to be on the hill. Mr Webb said that all the land had been rented but he could see what he could do in the matter and let the committee know in weeks time.

In February 1895 the Cwmtillery Colliers were asked to donate to the costs of building the new school and they promised 1d per month each for 12 months on condition a Labour representative be opted onto the Board.It was agreed.

On Thursday 2nd May 1895 at a meeting held at the Tillery Hall, Abertillery in connection with the Intermediate School Abertillery, the following members were present – Rev T. Griffith; Mr S. N. Jones J.P.; Mr Titus Phillips J.P.; Mr W. Thomas; Mr W. B. Harrison; Mr Arthur Tilney; Mr W. P. Thomas; Mr Alfred Hill; Mr W. C. Cowdrey and Rev T. T. Evans: The Chairman pointed out that the site for the school had been secured and obtained. Messrs G. R. and T. A. Webb had granted them the site at Clynmawr between the Roseheyworth Colliery and the Kings Head which was satisfactory. He also stated that there was a promise of £400 to come with £240 in the bank and that the sum of £600 was necessary.

In the May and June of 1895 reports of the donations towards the building of Intermediate School were shown, the Blaina Colliers donated. Mr Powell of the Powell’s Tillery Collieries gave £100. Public houses collected the sum of £45. Mr Bostock’s Circus gave proceeds of his recent show at Abertillery £10 8s to the fund.

On May 24th 1896 advertisements were placed in the newspapers for applications for the posts of Headmaster and Headmistress at the Abertillery Intermediate School. It was stated the salaries were £150 and a Capitation Grant, £120 and Grant respectively. The Headmaster’s post was given to Mr W. D. Lewis Evans M.A. London and the post of Headmistress was given to Miss Edith M. Ewart M.A. Victoria, of Liverpool.

The story of Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans and Miss Ewart can be seen below.

The Initial Opening of the Intermediate School at the Oddfellows Hall 1896-1898.
On Tuesday 22nd September 1896 the Intermediate School opened in the Oddfellows Hall, Abertillery and King Street Baptists Vestry. The Headmaster was Mr W. D. Lewis Evans M.A. London, he appointed Mr F. C. Carey B.S.c London A.R.C.S., as Assistant Master with Miss Edith M. Ewart M.A. Victoria, of Liverpool as Headmistress. The school was the first to start in the County with 60 scholars attending, about 30 pupils in each premises, the boys were taught at the Oddfellows Hall, Abertillery and the girls at the King Street Chapel Vestry. The Governors gave praise to the Rev T. Griffith whose help and labours brought the scheme success.

I recently found that Mr F. C. Carey as Assistant Master was paid a salary of £110. per annum and Miss Edith M. Ewart paid £80. per annum.

In October 1897 Mr W. D. Lewis Evans Headmaster of the Intermediate School Abertillery at the Oddfellows Hall, gave his first annual report on the school. He stated that during the first term the number of pupils were 78 (39 boys and 39 girls). Second term 110 (57 boys and 53 girls). Last term there were 91 (48 boys and 53 girls). Children who attended came from Nantyglo, Blaina, Aberillery, Aberbeeg and a few children from beyond the area. With regard to the recent Oxford local examination, Abertillery stood 3rd with Carnarvon and Wrexham being in advance to the extent of just a few more passes.

From the time the Intermediate School had been initiated at the Oddfellows Hall and the King Street Baptists Vestry, Abertillery, the authorities were working to get the institution its own purpose built school. Land had been generously given by Messrs Webb’s of Aberbeeg and Tenders had been invited by local builders to construct the new Intermediate School.

During the time the Intermediate School was housed at the Oddfellows Hall and King Street Vestry, Abertillery, the new site and building at Clynmawr had advanced. Messrs Swash & Bain were the Architects and Mr David Lewis of Aberbeeg had been given the contract to build the new school and by the end of 1897 the new Intermediate School had been completed.

The story of Mr David Lewis can be seen below.

The New Intermediate School 1898-1911.
On Wednesday 19th January 1898 the New Intermediate School, Abertillery (as seen in the main featured image above) was officially opened. The official ceremony consisted of a public procession from the Station to the School, the streets were lined with people who battled the bad weather conditions. The Right Honourable Lord Tredegar and Sir Lewis Morris headed the procession with the Tillery Band leading the way. Once at the School, Lord Tredegar was handed the keys to the school by Mr Samuel Nathan Jones who unlocked the doors and the party entered. It was said that Abertillery were the pioneers of intermediate education in the country.

The Luncheon was held at the Bush Hotel, Abertillery and catered by Messrs Tovell, after many speeches entertainment was provided by Miss C. Tilney, Miss Bundred and Mr A. Williams.

A Descriptive Account of the Building.
The School was of two storeys, the first floor was classroom accommodation for 40 girls, exclusive of classroom for teaching Cookery which was provided by raising tiers of seats and the usual apparatus, and the Assembly Hall which was centrally placed and would accommodate a good number of persons. An arrangement of Revolving Shutters an adjoining classroom could be used in conjunction with the Assembly Hall thus providing increased accommodation when needed. The corridors were painted with stained wood dadoes. The internal roof had open timber framing with carved and moulded brackets. The boys department occupied the ground floor with ample classroom space for 60 pupils and private rooms. The floors were sound and fire proof. The contract along with retaining walls came to 32,430. The external wall were built with hammer-polled local stone walling and dressings being Bath stone and Ebbw Vale Buff bricks.

The new School building was insured at a cost of £1,500 and the furnishings at a cost of £250. The total costs of the new school was £2,429 with the Architects Bill being £162.

The School was of the “dual” kind, with boys and girls departments, the Governors had the power to arrange for mixed classes in any subject. The district served by the Intermediate School were Blaina, Abertillery, Llanhilleth and Crumlin and with many pupils from beyond and outside the area. In addition to the scholarships offered by the Governors, several scholarships were given by the Abertillery tradesmen and the Blaina Co-Operative Society.

The First Teaching Staff.
The first teaching staff and subjects were as follows – Mr W. D. Lewis Evans M.A. London, Headmaster; Miss Edith M. Ewart M.A. Victoria, Headmistress; Mr F. J. Stock B.A. London and Mr W. David Arts, Assistant Masters; Miss S. M. Balfour L.L.A. St Andrews and Miss M. E. Blunt Cambridge Higher Local, Assistant Mistresses:

Subjects.
Subjects taught – Arithmetic, Geography, English History, Scripture, History, English Grammar, Composition and Literature, Drawing, Mathematics, Latin, French, Welsh, Chemistry, Mechanics, Mensuration, Book-keeping, Shorthand and Typewriting, Music and Drill. For Boys only – Mining, Working with Wood and Iron, Geology and Physiography. For Girls only – Laundry Work, Cookery, Dressmaking and the Laws of Health.

Tuition Fees – 15s per term, payable in advance. Books and Stationary provided to the pupils free of charge. The school week was from Monday, Tuesday, half-day Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, no school on Sunday. 

On Monday 21st March 1898 the Chief Inspector made a report on the Intermediate School as follows – Since his last inspection he was pleased to see the school had been moved to a permanent building. The Revolving Shutters were unsatisfactory and needed to be replaced. The Laboratory was excellent and equal to any seen at the top schools. The Play Ground complied with the regulations. The old school had four Teachers, he was glad to see they now had six. Pupils Attendance was satisfactory with the guidelines being 95 per cent. The age limit was under 18 years of age. Dining Facilities there were 17 Boys and 20 Girls dining at the school, it was meant to give the pupils an education and a social life. Discipline was seen as very high standard and the pupils were very happy and bright. Teaching it was seen as being of the highest standard.

In August 1898 the Headmaster Mr W. D. Lewis Evans had appointed Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan, M.A., as Assistant Master (as seen in the image left). Mr Fagan took over from Mr F. J. Stock B.A.

The story of Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan can be seen below.

On Thursday 8th September 1898 a meeting of the Governors of the School consisting of the following members – Mr S. N. Jones; Mr E. J. Williams; Mr W. J. Hobkirk; Mr W. Treharne; Mr W. B. Harrison; Mr T. Allen; Mr W. Thomas; Mrs Caleb Lewis and Mrs Isaac Lewis, with Rev T. Griffiths:

The Caretaker
.
The Governors appointed a Caretaker Mrs Mary Ann Gregory of Abertillery. 

During this time the Playground in front of the school needed levelling and tidying up. Mr James McBean, Surveyor to the Council was approached on getting the area assessed. Mr McBean stated it could be levelled at a cost of £404. 14s.

In September 1898 it was arranged that there should be no school on Saturdays and all day on Wednesday’s from that time.

In September 1898 Abertillery Intermediate School was reported as coming top of the list of passes in Wales, the list was as follows – Abertillery 1 Honour, 14 First Class, 8 Second Class, 2 Distinctions, Total 23. followed by Mold, Wrexham and Bala. The two pupils who obtained distinctions were Masters W. E. Rees of Blaina (Drawing) and E. R. Thomas of Aberbeeg (History).

The Old Tyleryans Association.
The Old Tyleryans Association was formed in March 1901. It began as an association to keep a bond of union amongst the old pupils of the Intermediate School. Mr W. D. Lewis Evans (Headmaster) was the President and Mr A. W. Box of Oak Street, Abertillery was Honorary Secretary of the new society.

Wednesday 27th March 1901 the first meeting of the Old Tyleryans association was held at the Intermediate School, Abertillery. Over 60 members attended, Mr W. D. Lewis Evans presided, he gave the opening address and welcomed all those present. Miss Louise Thomas gave a pianoforte solo after which various games were indulged in. Refreshments were handed round followed by two songs – “Spring is Coming” by Miss Louise Thomas and “Lakes of Killarney” by Miss E. Bundred. After more games and dancing the meeting was brought to a close by the singing of “Old Lang Syne”. It was announced that the next meeting was to be held in a months time.

In June 1901 Mr T. W. Fagan handed in his notice and resigned his post as Science Master. The post was advertised with a salary of £140 per annum, equivalent to £17,200 in today’s money.

In September 1901 Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas B.Sc., was appointed Science Master at the Intermediate School, Abertillery, though Mr Fagan stayed at the school until the end of October 1901.

The story of Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas B.Sc., can be seen below.

The Proposed Extension.
In 1909 the Intermediate School was getting too small for the expanding community and needed to be enlarged and updated. In July 1909 Tenders were invited for the major expansion of the building, plans and specifications could be obtained from Mr R. L. Roberts the Architect of Abercarn at a cost of £2. 2s.0d which was returned on receipt of a bone fide tender. The Tender of Mr J. Morgan of Blaenavon was accepted.

School Report of 1910.
In February 1911 the Headmaster Mr W. D. Lewis Evans M.A., gave his annual report on the school year ending 1910 at the Gymnasium Hall, Abertillery during the prize distribution event in connection with the school. The following gentlemen were present – Mr J. Snelgrove (Chairman); Mr Edgar Jones M.P.; Alderman W. Thomas J.P. and Mrs Thomas; Councillor W. B. Harrison J.P.; Councillor E. Jones Williams; Rev S. Jones and Rev T. Gray Davies, with members of the school staff and other educationalists. Within the Headmaster’s annual report of the year of 1910 it stated there were 106 Boys and 167 Girls registered.

The school was composed of 13 Forms as follows – Form 1a, Form 1b, Form 2a, Form 2b, Form 3a, Form 3b, Form 4a, Form 4b, Form 5a, Form 5b, Form 6a, Form 6b and Form 6c.

The ages of the pupils were – Under 11s… 2 Boys. Between 11 and 12…6 Boys 4 Girls. Between 12 and 13…23 Boys and 32 Girls. Between 13 and 14…30 Boys and 41 Girls. Between 14 and 15…18 Boys and 26 Girls. Between 15 and 16…9 Boys and 25 Girls. Between 16 and 17…9 Boys and 15 Girls. Between 17 and 18…7 Boys and 10 Girls. Between 18 and 19… 3 Boys and 6 Girls and over 19…7 Girls.

There were 114 Fee paying pupils. 46 Governors Scholarship holders. 16 Abertillery Education Committee Scholarship holders. 8 Blaina Stores Scholarship holders. 4 Cwmtillery Scholarship holders. 1 Thomas Bevan Scholarship holder. 1 International Scholarship holder. 16 Maintenance Allowance holders. 35 Probitioner Scholarship holders. 1 County Burser. 4 Student Teachers and 27 Pupil Teachers. It was said that during the session (1909-10) 111 pupils had left the Abertillery Intermediate School with 7 pupils entering Colleges, 23 became Teachers, 25 Shop Assistants, 9 Clerks and 7 Miners. Others left to enter into professions such as Fitting, Nursing, Plumbing and Surveying.

The work on the New Extension began in February, was built by the September furnished and later officially opened on Wednesday 20th December 1911.

The New Extension 1911-1980s.
On Wednesday 20th December 1911 the Abertillery Intermediate School opened its new extensions. The opening Ceremony was presided by Alderman Mr W. Thomas J.P. who was presented with a specially inscribed Gold Key in a Leather Case for the occasion. Mr Thomas unlocked the door and invited a general inspection of the building. After a tour of the School they assembled in the main Hall, those who were present were – Alderman Thomas; Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans M.A.; Mr Thomas John M.A.; Mrs W. Thomas; Mrs B. T. Williams; Mr W. B. Harrison; Rev T. T. Evans; Mr J. Snelgrove; Rev D. Collier; Rev E. Beavan; Rev C. J. Harding; Rev E. Morris (Nantyglo); Mr A. B. Badger M.A. (Director of Higher Education); Mr T. F. Salt (Councillor); Mr J. W Parry; Mr Morgan B.A. (Headmaster Tredegar); Mr A. J. Bevan; Mr T. Morris Griffiths (Capital and Counties Bank); Mr L. W. Richards; Mr G. Jones; Mr J. T. Boots; Mr J. Rowlands and Mr R. L. Roberts:

A Descriptive Account of the Building.
The extensions consisted of north and south wings along with an added back section. In the north section extra classrooms were added to provide for an extra 116 pupils, with folding partitions between two rooms on the first floor. The south section contained new Physics and Science laboratories, boiler room, toilets, cloakroom and classes, Headmasters private room. The rear section included a cloakroom and an entrance directly into the main assembly hall from a walkway behind the school. The school can now accommodate 250 pupils. The elevations were of Blue Pennant stone with Bath stone dressings. A new heating apparatus was installed throughout the old and new rooms, it was installed by the Engineer Mr E. Perman of Newport. The Laboratories were splendidly fitted by Messrs The Bennett Furnishing Co of Glengall Road, London. The school could now accommodate 250 pupils.

The Building Contractor and Architect.
The School was remodelled by Mr R. L. Roberts the Architect of Abercarn. The builder was Mr John Morgan from Blaenavon, the Clerk of the works was Mr C. Locke of 136 Caerleon Road, Newport.

The Staff.
In January 1912 after the Extension work was completed at the Intermediate School, there were 13 members of the Teaching Staff, they were as follows – Mr W. D. Lewis Evans M.A. London, Headmaster; Miss E. Ruby Thomas B.A.; Miss Eva M. Evans B.A.; Miss M. Cartwright M.A.; Miss S. Pugh B.A.; Miss G. M. Edwards B.A.; Mr O. N. Roberts B.A.; Mr T. J. Thomas B.Sc.; Mr T. L. Davies; Mr D. J. Griffiths; Mr C. S. Reed B.Sc.; Mr M. R. Lewis B.A. and Mr E. Osbourne Samuel B.A.:

Tuition Fees – 17s 6d per term, payable in advance. Books and Stationary extra average cost from 15s to 17s 6d per annum. Mr N. J. Llewellyn, Clerk of the Governors.

The Retirement of Mr W. D. Lewis Evans.
In March 1930 after 34 years as Headmaster of Intermediate School education in Abertillery Mr W. D. Lewis Evans announced he intended to retire. After this announcement 23 applications were received for the post of the new Headmaster.

The following month the Board of School Governors drew up a short list of applicants for his successor. The names on the short list were as follows – Mr Martin R. Lewis, B.A.; Mr J. R. Taylor, M.A.; Mr Llewellyn Jones, B.A.; Mr W. J. Osbourne, B.A.; Mr W. L. Hoskins, B.A. and Mr L. Oulton M.Sc.: The names put forth were all members of the staff of the Intermediate School, Abertillery with the exception of Mr Hoskins who was Headmaster at the Hafod-y-Ddol Secondary School, Nantyglo.

Mr Martin R. Lewis.
On Tuesday 15th April 1930 the Board of School Governors interviewed three candidates off the short list – Mr Martin R. Lewis, B.A., Mr J. Robert Taylor M.A., and Mr Llewellyn Jones, B.A. After a vote Mr Martin Reginald Lewis B.A., was chosen as the successor to Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans.

The story of Mr Martin R. Lewis can be seen below.

The Technical Annex School.
The need for a local Technical School at Abertillery came up in an Educational Meeting as early as May 1928, up until this date the Mechanical, Engineering, Civil, Motor Engineering Mining part of education was all based in Crumlin or Pontllanfraith.

September 1928 it was announced that the building of the Technical School was to go ahead, planning was to be applied for and the site at Spring Bank, Abertillery was chosen.

On Wednesday 16th April 1930 The Technical School, Spring Bank, Abertillery was completed. Its official name was The Abertillery Technical Institute and Mining School. It was officially opened by Alderman Levi Harris J.P. Chairman of the Sites and Buildings Committee of the Monmouthshire County Council. Situated on a commanding view at Spring Bank, Blaenau Gwent the new building was erected at a cost of £5,500 with the assistance of financial aid from the Miners Welfare Scheme. The Architect was Mr John Bain F.R.I.B.A. County Architect. The Contractors were Messrs Weaver and Co, Abertillery and the Clerk of the Works was Mr D. W. Price.

It comprised of a Chemist Laboratory, Drawing Room, Physics Laboratory, Lecture Rooms. Developing Room, Store Room, Masters Room, Cloak Room etc. In the basement were the Metal Working Room, Smithy and Workshops, Boiler Room and Stores. The grounds were fenced off with pathways and shrubberies.

The Educational Committee advertised for Lecturer’s for the new Technical and Mining Institute at Abertillery. The following gentlemen applied for the post – Mr T. Elkins of Aberbeeg; Mr B. I. Evans of Rhymney and Mr W. J. Robins B.Sc. of Sirhowy: The Sub-Committee recommend that Mr W. J. Robins B.Sc. be appointed Lecturer-in Charge of the Technical and Mining Institute, his appointment was full time and he was required to teach day and evening classes as directed and would be responsible for the supervision and general organisation of the Institute.

The Staff.
The first Staff were as follows – Mr W. J. Robins B.Sc. Hons London (Lecturer-in-Charge); Mr R. H. Hanney A.M. Inst. C.E. Dips Mech and Civil Engineer and Mr A. S. Harding B.Sc. F.G.S Assistants.

Caretakers.
On Tuesday 29th April 1930 a meeting of the Abertillery County School Governors was held to appoint school Caretakers. Initially 34 applications were handed in and the Governors drew up a short list of the following applicants – Mr & Mrs Edgar Ashley of Tillery Road, Abertillery; Mr & Mrs Tom Brickell of Park Place, Abertillery; Mr & Mrs Ernest Bull of Six Bells; Mr & Mrs Horace Holford of Portland Street, Abertillery; Mr & Mrs Len Hill of Evelyn Street, Abertillery and Mr & Mrs Charles Leach of Gwern Berthi Road, Cwmtillery. The successful applicants were Mr & Mrs Edgar Ashley with a salary of £156 per annum, equivalent to £9,238.00 in todays money.

In the early 1970s the Intermediate County School was turned into a Junior Comprehensive School, pupils attending ranging from 11 to 13 years of age before leaving to attend the Nantyglo Comprehensive School, 14 to 16 years of age. The Roseheyworth Comprehensive (late County School) closed in about 1988 and was demolished. The Technical School building closed as a school at the same time and was turned into a Magistrates Court for Abertillery but eventually closed in about 2010 and was demolished. To this day nothing has been built on either sites.

 

Notes of Interest –
Mr David Lewis.

Mr David Lewis, Building Contractor was born 14th May 1871 at Llanhilleth. His father was Mr Lewis Lewis of Rose Cottage, Llanhilleth, one time Landlord of the Hanbury Arms, Aberbeeg, Union Inn, Llanhilleth and the Ivorites Arms Aberbeeg, his mother was Mrs Mary Lewis. Mrs Lewis second marriage was to Mr Thomas Phillips of Maescynew Farm, Llanhilleth.

Mr David Phillips was educated at the Aberbeeg Schools and was later apprenticed to the building trade at Newbridge under the supervision of Mr Charles F. Morgan and later at Newport to receive further training in the building trade. He commenced business in his own right in 1891, his first workshop was erected at Hafodarthan Road and as his business expanded he acquired the site of the old Mill near Glandwr.

Mr David Lewis was called the “Builder of Llanhilleth and Aberbeeg” as he had erected the Llanhilleth Hotel, Llanhilleth Workmens Institute, the new Hanbury Hotel, the Llanhilleth Playhouse Cinema, the Glandwr and Commercial Road Baptist Chapels, the Zion Congregational Church, the Wesleyan Chapel, the Lower Council Schools and the Brynhyfryd Schools, Llanhilleth.

Mr David Lewis married Miss Lewis, the daughter of John and Margaret Lewis of Gilfach Farm near the Travellers Rest Inn. Aberbeeg. Mr Lewis died from Pneumonia in 1914, he left a wife and two children Jack and Harry Lewis. They had an elder daughter Miss Ethel Lewis, sadly deceased.


Mr W. D. Lewis Evans – Headmaster
.
Mr W. D. Lewis Evans was born in 1871 at Cardiganshire, the son of John and Martha Evans. He was educated at Conwil Cayo Elementary School, Llansawel Grammar School and Ardwyn Secondary School at Aberystwyth. Mr Lewis Evans then proceeded to University College of Aberystwyth.

Mr Lewis Evans had a distinguished University career, obtaining his B.A., (London), degree with First Class Honours in English and later the M.A. degree in Celtic being placed second on the list.

In 1889 Mr W. D. Lewis Evans married Mrs Margaret Ellen Evans nee Lloyd, born 1872 at Aberystwyth, they had a daughter Miss Elizabeth Myfanwy Evans born 1892.

In 1895, at the age of 24 he was appointed the Headmaster of Llanidloes County School.

In the early 1890s the Welsh Education Authorities under the Welsh Intermediate Act of 1889 decided to set up Intermediate Schools in all areas of Wales able to support them. A few years later the Intermediate School Institution at Abertillery was initiated and Mr Lewis Evans was chosen to be become the Headmaster of the Intermediate School Institution to be opened at the Oddfellows Hall, Abertillery and King Street Chapel, a temporary institution utilising both premises until a new purpose built school building was erected.

On coming to Abertillery Mr W. D. Lewis Evans lived at the Poplars Houses situated behind the British School. His neighbour was Mr Thomas Bevan and family, Mr Bevan being the then retired Headmaster of the British School.

On Tuesday 22nd September 1896 the Intermediate School opened in the Oddfellows Hall, Abertillery and King Street Baptists Vestry. Mr W. D. Lewis -Evans was the first Headmaster. Sixteen months later, on Wednesday 19th January 1898 the New Intermediate School, Abertillery was officially opened and Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans moved the institution from the Oddfellows Hall and the Vestry at King Street to the new school building at Clynmawr.

In the early 1900s Mr W. D. Lewis Evans and family moved into Tramerel House, Oak Street, Abertillery.

Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans daughter, Miss Elizabeth Myfanwy Evans left school and began a career in teaching, after passing all her examinations started as Assistant Mistress at the Warm Turn Infants School, Six Bells, Aberbeeg. In 1925 she left Abertillery to become the Headmistress at the Alexandra Road Infants School, Aberystwyth. In 1929 she was chosen to be the Headmistress at the Barnstaple Infants School, Barnstaple, North Devon.

In March 1930 after 34 years as Headmaster of Intermediate School education in Abertillery, Mr W. D. Lewis Evans announced he intended to retire. After this announcement 23 applications were received for the post of the new Headmaster.

The following month the Board of School Governors drew up a short list of applicants for his successor. The names on the short list were as follows – Mr Martin R. Lewis, B.A.; Mr J. R. Taylor, M.A.; Mr Llewellyn Jones, B.A.; Mr W. J. Osbourne, B.A.; Mr W. L. Hoskins, B.A. and Mr L. Oulton M.Sc.: The names put forth were all members of the staff of the Intermediate School, Abertillery with the exception of Mr Hoskins who was Headmaster at the Hafod-y-Ddol Secondary School, Nantyglo.

On Tuesday 15th April 1930 the Board of School Governors interviewed three candidates off the short list – Mr Martin R. Lewis, B.A., Mr J. Robert Taylor M.A., and Mr Llewellyn Jones, B.A. After a vote Mr Martin Reginald Lewis B.A., was chosen as the successor to Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans.

After his retirement Mr W. D. Lewis Evans and his wife Margaret moved to Crockett Road, Swansea. A short while later he fell ill, attended hospital for surgery and was treated by Sir Charles Watson at the Weymouth Street Nursing Home, London.

In November 1938 Mr W. D. Lewis Evans sadly passed away from heart failure at his home in Swansea.

The following is a Link to – The story of Mr W. D. Lewis Evans.


Miss Edith M. Ewart – Headmistress
.

There isn’t much information on Miss Edith M. Ewart, she was born in Liverpool, Lancashire in 1871, she came to Abertillery and was the first Headmistress of intermediate education at Abertillery, moved to the new school in 1898 as Headmistress and after that there is no other mention of her. She was listed on the 1901 Census as being a School Headmistress at Lower Vainor, Cardiganshire, Wales, living with her elder Sister Miss Lilian Ewart and in 1911 had moved on and was a Headmistress at Folkstone, Kent. 


Mr Martin R. Lewis – Assistant Headmaster and Headmaster
.

Mr Martin Reginald Lewis, B.A., was born in 1889 at Cwmtillery. He was the son of Mr Daniel Lewis the General Manager of the Cwmtillery Collieries and Mrs Mary Lewis nee Evans. The family lived at Lake Villas, Cwmtillery, built by the John Lancaster Company for the officials of their collieries. He was brother to *Mr Enoch H. Lewis, Mr Lionel D. Lewis who later became Surveyor to the Abertillery District Council, Miss Goli Lewis, Mrs Gertrude Brooks nee Lewis of Yeovil, and Miss Ethel Lewis, later one of the teaching staff at the Blaenau Gwent Crown Infants School.

Mr Martin R. Lewis had an elder brother *Mr Enoch Lewis. In July 1889 it was announced that at 16 years of age Mr Enoch H. Lewis had passed his examinations and was accepted into Oxford or Cambridge Universities. In 1894 Mr Enoch H. Lewis entered Balliol College, Oxford University, after being there for only 3 days he returned home to Cwmtillery through ill health and sadly passed away a few weeks later in April 1894.

Mr Martin R. Lewis was educated at Cwmtillery Elementary School, Brecon Preparatory School and the Abertillery Intermediate County School. He won the Oxford and Cambridge Lower Certificate (distinction in Greek), the Central Welsh Board Senior Certificate (distinction in four subjects), passed the Matriculation examination of the University of Wales (first division) as well as that of the London University (first division) and also won the Central Welsh Board Honours Certificate.

He later entered the Welsh University College at Aberystwyth and was open exhibitioner in 1905. Whilst at the University College he gained his caps at Rowing, being stroke of the Arts crew and in Rugby Football, he became Secretary of the Central Athletics Board and Rowing Club. He took his B.A. degree in 1908 with honours in Latin.

In 1908 Mr Martin R. Lewis was appointed to the staff of the Intermediate School, Abertillery, over the years he was House Master, Games Master. He was also the Chairman of the Old Pupils Association, a keen dramatist and a member of the Dramatic Society attached to the Association.

In 1916 Mr Lewis left the Intermediate School to serve his country in the Great War, he was joined to the R.A.S.C. as a Private and was a member of the first Water Tank M.T. Company to go overseas to deal with the water problem. He was later accepted for commission in the Royal Engineers and was discharged in 1919.

In 1919 Mr Lewis returned to Abertillery, rejoined the teaching staff at the Intermediate School and in 1922 married Miss Gertrude A. Howells, a member of the staff at the school since 1912.

Between 1925 and 1929 Mr Martin R. Lewis was an executive member of the Welsh Secondary Schools Rugby Union.

On Tuesday 15th April 1930 the Board of School Governors interviewed three candidates off the short list – Mr Martin R. Lewis, B.A., Mr J. Robert Taylor M.A., and Mr Llewellyn Jones, B.A.

After a vote Mr Martin Reginald Lewis B.A., was chosen as the successor to Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans. Mr Lewis salary was £600 per annum rising to £700 per annum, equivalent to £36,231.00 and £42,260.00 in todays money.


Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan – Assistant Master
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Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan, Assistant Master was born in 1876 at Llanllynfi, Caernarvonshire. The son of James Fagan of Liverpool and Kate Fagan nee Griffiths of Llanllynfi, Caernarvonshire. His father Mr James Fagan was a native of Liverpool and later became a Shopkeeper at Bryn Celyn, Tal-y-Sarn, Caernarvonshire. James and Kate Fagan also had a daughter Miss Annie Fagan, born 1865 at Llanllynfi, Caernarvonshire.

Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan was educated at Denstone College, Staffordshire where he gained a Clothworkers Scholarship of 50 Guineas per annum tenable at Cambridge College where he graduated with honours in the Natural Science Tripos.

In August 1898 Mr T. W. Fagan was appointed Assistant Master at the Intermediate School, Abertillery replacing Mr F. J. Stock who had left to teach at the Gowerton Intermediate School. Mr Fagan became Science Master.

In the late 1890s Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan played Cricket for Abertillery with the following team members – Mr S. Winmill; Mr W. Withers; Mr S. Robins; Mr M. Robins; Mr D. Browne; Mr T. B. Martindale; Mr G. Gunter; Mr O. Winmill; Mr Alf Jones and Mr F. Morgan:

In the late 1890s early 1900s Mr T. W. Fagan was lodging at No45 Castle Street, Abertillery. He was a boarder there whilst he taught at the Intermediate School, Abertillery.

In June 1901 Mr T. W. Fagan handed in his notice and resigned his post as Science Master. The post was later advertised with a salary of £140 per annum.

In September 1901 Mr Thomas J. Thomas B.Sc., took over as Science Master at the Intermediate School, Abertillery, though Mr Fagan stayed at the school until the end of October 1901.

On Tuesday 28th December 1909 Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan married Miss Helena Theresa Hughes, daughter of Alderman Hugh Hughes of Green Bank, Bangor.


Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas B.Sc.,
(Sarnicol).

Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas was born in 1873 at Sarnicol Farm (as seen on the map left) near Llandisiliogogo, Cardiganshire. The son of David and Mary Thomas.

He lived with his parents and brothers, Master David Thomas, born 1869 and Master Evan Thomas, born 1876. His father David was a Labourer.

Early in his career Mr T. J. Thomas was on the teaching Staff of the Merthyr Intermediate School and also the Abergele County School.

In September 1901 Mr Thomas J. Thomas B.Sc., took over as Science Master at the Intermediate School, Abertillery. He replaced Mr Thomas Wallace Fagan.

In 1911 Mr Thomas B.Sc., was living as a boarder at “Melrose House”, Gladstone Street, Abertillery with John and Annie Jones.

In 1913 Mr Thomas B.Sc, left Abertillery and moved back to Merthyr to teach.

On Thursday 7th August 1913 Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas B.Sc., was invested as Bard at the Eisteddfod at Abergavenny and used the name “Sarnicol” after the name of the family farm in which he had lived as a child. The adjudicators were Rev J. J. Williams and Mr Gwyn Jones, each a Chaired Bard. He was invested in front of 14,000 spectators by Lady Herbert who presented him with the insignia of victory, a ribbon around the arm.

In November 1913 Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas B.Sc. (Sarnicol) was honoured at Merthyr, it was stated that Mr Thomas was not from Merthyr though it was the town of his adoption. He became Assistant Master at the Cyfarthfa Municipal Secondary School, Merthyr.

On Tuesday 14th April 1914 Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas married Miss Katie L. Thomas A.R.A.M., of Aberfan. The wedding took place at Frederick Street, Presbyterian Chapel, Cardiff. Miss Thomas was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Edwin Thomas, Mr Edwin Thomas was the Headmaster of the Aberfan Boys School.

In October 1921 Mr Thomas J. Thomas B.Sc., was appointed the first Headmaster at the new Quakers Yard Secondary School. The school officially opened the following May, 1922.

On Whit-Tuesday June 1922 the sixth annual Abertillery Eisteddfod was held at the field near Gelli-Crug. Mr Thomas Jacob Thomas (Sarnicol) was an adjudicator on Odes and Elocution. He also attended in the capacity of a judge the following year at which he oversaw the Poems section.

On Friday 1st February 1924 Mr T. Jacob Thomas (Sarnicol) attended a Lecture for the pupils of the County School, Abertillery, held at the Primitive Methodist Church, Blaenau Gwent.


Mr T. L. Davies
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Mr T. L. Davies was born in the 1870s at Blaina, Monmouthshire. He received his early education under Mr Hall who was the first Director of Education in Monmouthshire. In 1889 Mr Davies left Blaina for Almondbury Grammar School, Yorkshire. In 1892 he came back to Blaina as a Pupil Teacher under Mr J. W. Parry, he again left Blaina for Borough Road Training College and came back to Blaina in the early 1900s as a first class certified Schoolaster in Mathematics. Mr Davies was a keen sportsman and played cricket as Captain for Blaina Town Cricket Team.

In 1906 Mr T. L. Davies married Miss Elizabeth Jones who was on the staff of the Blaina Girls School under Miss E. Athay. Miss Jones was from Blaina and was the daughter of Mr Sylvanus Jones, the colliery proprietor. They had two children, Mr Kenneth S. Davies B.SC., later educated at the Abertillery County School, University College, Cardiff and Peter House, Cambridge and a daughter Miss Betty Davies, later educated at Nantyglo Secondary School under Captain E. Silk LL.B., and at Kings College University, London.

In 1906 Mr T. L. Davies was approached by Mr W. D. Lewis Evans Headmaster of the County School with an invitation to join the staff as a Mathematics Master. Mr Davies retired in January 1938 after 46 years in the teaching profession and 32 years at Abertillery County School.

(The stories of the other Teaching Staff are to follow).

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