Gelli Crug Boys – Girls and Infants School.
On Tuesday 8th April 1902 at a monthly meeting of the Aberystruth School Board consisting of the following members – Mr J. P. D Williams (Chairman); Mr R. H. Williams (Vice Chairman); Mr E. J. Williams; Mr T. Drew; Mr C. H. Carter; Mr J. Davies; Rev T. T. Evans; Dr D. C. Muir and Mr I. Aled Jones (Clerk): The Rev T. T. Evans read a report from the school managers, they had inspected two sites for the erection of new schools at Abertillery and they had recommended the purchase of a piece of land on the Crown Estate at Blaenau Gwent for the erection of an infants school and of an acre or more land on the Gelli Crug Estate just below the house of Mr William Stewart J.P. and general manager of the Tillery Collieries for the erection of a boys, girls and infants school.
On Tuesday 13th May 1902 at a meeting of the Aberystruth School Board held at Blaina consisting of the following members – Mr J. P. D. Williams (Chairman); Mr E.J. Williams; Mr W. B. Harrison; Mr T. Drew; Mr W. H. Carter; Mr J. Davies; Dr D. C. Muir; Rev T. T. Evans and Mr I. Aled Jones (Clerk): The clerk was instructed to communicate with the agent from Powell’s Tillery Colliery Company with regard to a site fro the proposed school of three departments on the Gelli Crug Estate with one acre being required. The proposed erection of the school would accommodate 1,000 children.
On Tuesday 8th July 1902 at a meeting of the Aberystruth School Board consisting of the following members – Mr R. H. Williams (Chairman); Mr W. B. Harrison (Vice Chairman); Mr E.J. Williams; Mr W. B. Harrison; Mr T. Drew; Mr W. H. Carter; Mr J. Davies; Dr D. C. Muir; Rev H. Williams; Rev T. T. Evans and Mr I. Aled Jones (Clerk): A letter was read from Mr William Stewart of the Powell’s Tillery Colliery Company stating that his company were prepared to sell a plot of land for the erection of the schools at Gelli Crug for £600, the School Board paying all legal and incidental expenses along with the laying of main sewers and the formation of a road to the schools.
On Friday 10th April 1903 tenders were invited from locals builders for the construction of the Gelli Crug Schools. Plans and specifications were able to be seen at the office of the School Board’s architect Mr R. L. Roberts of Abercarn. Tenders were to be received by June 8th 1903.
On Tuesday 28th April 1903 at a meeting of the Aberystruth School Board consisting of the following members – Mr W. B. Harrison (Vice Chairman); Me E. J. Williams; Mr W. H. Carter; Dr Muir; Mr R. L. Roberts (Architect) and Mr I. Aled Jones (Clerk): The tenders were opened and the details were as follows – Mr D. W. Davies of Cardiff £13,200. 0s. 0d.; Mr David Davies of Cardiff £12,865. 0s. 0d.; Messrs Lattey and Co of Cardiff £12,836. 3s. 5d.; Mr N. Bagley of Abertillery £ 12,418. 16s. 6d.; Messrs Smith Bros of Newport £11,860. 0s. 0d.; Mr John Newcombe of Ebbw Vale £11,642. 0s. 0d.; Mr D. Lewis of Aberbeeg £10,650. 0s. 0d.; Mr A. P. Williams of Crickhowell (late Abertillery) £10,509. 14s. 0d.; Mr E. C. Jordan of Newport £10,370. 0s. 0d.; Mr D. W. Richards of Newport £10,100. 0s. 0d.; Mr J. Davies of Newport £10,040. 0s. 0d.; Mr J. Jenkins of Newport £9,925. 0s. 0d.; Mr J. Morgan of Blaenavon £9,900. 0s. 0d.: It was seen that thirteen tenders were received ranging from £13,200 to £9,900. After some consideration it was decided to accept the tender of Mr John Jenkins, contractor of 11 Clifton Road, Newport at £9,925.
On Thursday 21st April 1904 the architect reported on the contract for the Gelli Crug Schools on the 16th May 1903. Eighteen months was allowed for the building, subject to an extension of time equivalent to the time lost through bad weather and other causes over which the builder had no control. The accommodation of the infants school was approved of by the Board of Education as being 396 and of the Boys and Girls School being 540 a total of 936 pupils. The former had been covered in, ceiling boarded, concreted floors laid down and the first coat of plastering was being laid. Walls were built and retaining walls were in place.
The Official Opening of the Gelli Crug Schools.
On Monday 4th September 1905 the Gelli Crug Schools were officially opened. The schools were approached from Newall Street and there were an infants and mixed departments. The first block was an Infants, and was composed of a marching hall, schoolrooms divided by partitions, five classrooms, cloak rooms and teachers room, the accommodation being for 396 scholars.
The second block was a mixed department and was arranged in the central hall principle, the hall being 64′ feet 4″ inches by 29′ feet and was partitioned across the centre. There were ten class rooms grouped around the central hall and separate entrances for the boys and girls with a cloak room at each end of the hall and private rooms for head teachers and store room for school apparatus etc. The accommodation was for 540 pupils.
The buildings were built of blue pennant stone with Forest of Dean stone and buff brick dressings. The floors of all the rooms were laid with wooden blocks with the entrances to the cloak rooms being tiled. The ventilation was well catered for with fresh air inlet vents and foul air exhaust pumps being installed. The rooms were heated by Messrs John Grundy’s of London fresh warm air inlet courses. Separate play-grounds were provided, laid with tar and asphalt and offices for each.
The Contractor and Architect.
The contractor was Mr John Jenkins of 11 Clifton Road, Newport at a cost of £9,925 under the supervision of Mr Henry Mayled the clerk of the works according to the plans and specifications prepared by the architect Mr R. L. Roberts M.S.A. of Abercarn.
The headmaster was Mr Theodore Evans, Mr Evans was from the Aberbeeg Mixed School. Miss Rosina Thomas was the headmistress of the infants, Miss Thomas was the assistant headmistress at the British School prior to this engagement. The erection of the schools were necessitated by the rapid increase in the population and the children were drawn from Queen Street, the National, British and Blaentillery Schools.
It was announced that there would be arrangements for a formal opening in October 1905 though I don’t think this went ahead.
At some point in time the Gelli Crug was renamed Abertillery Primary School.
A commemorative Mug.
This was a mug presented to the pupils and staff of the Gelli Crug, Abertillery Primary School to commemorate the Millennium 2000. The mug is sized 4″ inches by 3″ inches.
The Later Years.
Gelli Crug, Abertillery Primary School closed in 2014 and was demolished during the late summer of the same year. The new school construction started in early 2015.