Abertillery Intermediate County School.
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 fro 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; Mt 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 an 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. Later a large committee was formed consisting of members from all denominations and works. It was also considered that a committee of Ladies be formed. (It was an extensive list and is available on request).
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 between the Roseheyworth 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 their 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 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 ARCS. as assistant Master with Miss Edith M. Ewart M.A. Victoria, as the post of Headmistress. The school was the first to start in the County with 78 scholars attending, about 39 pupils in each premises, the boys at the Oddfellows Hall and the girls at the King Street Vestry. The Governors gave praise to the Rev T. Griffith whose help and labours brought the scheme success.
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 states 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 Oxford local examination taken at the time, Abertillery stood 3rd with Carnarvon and Wrexham being in advance to the extent of just a few more passes.
During the time the Intermediate School was housed at the Oddfellows Hall, Abertillery, the new site and building had advanced. Mr David Lewis of Aberbeeg/Llanhilleth had been given the contract to build the new school and by the end of 1897 the new Intermediate School had been completed.
The New Intermediate School 1898-1911.
On Wednesday 19th January 1898 the New Intermediate School, Abertillery 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 S. N. Jones who unlocked the doors and the party entered.
A descriptive account of the Building – The School was of two story’s, 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 dados. 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 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 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. Mr T. Griffiths, Castle Street, Abertillery.
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.
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 Governors appointed a Caretaker Mrs Mary Ann Gregory of Abertillery. The Headmaster Mr W. D. Lewis-Evans had appointed Mr L. W. Fagan M.A. as Assistant Master. It was also arranged that there should be no school on Saturdays and all day on Wednesday’s from now on.
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).
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.
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:
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 can now accommodate 250 pupils.
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.
In January 1912 after the Extension work 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 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 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.
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 attending 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 but eventually closed in about 2010 and was demolished. To this day nothing has been built on the either sites.