Powys Digital History Project

Elan Village 6
The Elan Snowflakes

  Well-earned prizes
Sadly, the official school log books of the temporary wooden school in the navvies village have not survived in a readable form. The few portions which can be deciphered show that George Yourdi, the resident engineer in charge of the dams project, was called upon for prize givings and other important school occasions.

The interior of
Elan Village school
in 1898

Photographs by
kind permission of
Radnorshire Museum,
Llandrindod Wells

School interior,1898The school was catering for 218 children by 1898, of whom 100 were infants.
As the numbers of workmen employed on the waterworks scheme increased to over 1500, so did the numbers of wives and children.
It became necessary to increase the size of the school and to take on more teaching staff during the course of the construction project.
The extract on this
page is from
"The Future Water
Supply of Birmingham"
by Thomas Barclay,
published in 1898.

The loss of the school records adds to the value of the following curious little cameo quoted by a Water Department official, in an account of a parents meeting in the village followed by a school concert and prizegiving ceremony:
"A peep at that gathering would convey, as no words could do, the truly beneficent work being carried on by the Corporation in providinChildren in Elan Village,c1900g for the education and the social and moral advancement of the little community collected under its aegis in this remote valley of Wales.
The most important item in the programme which had been provided by the schoolmaster was a negro entertainment by a body of youngsters, dubbed the Elan Snowflakes, and the effect produced was most grotesque when, after the performance, many of the aforesaid Snowflakes, in a still unwashed condition, presented themselves to carry off the honours of the evening in the shape of well-earned prizes for efficiency in school work".

A group of children in a street in the navvies village are pictured here, possibly including some onetime Elan Snowflakes ?

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