Powys Digital History Project 

Coelbren School 2


The school opens
In December 1894, without fuss or formality, the school at Coelbren opened in the iron-clad vestry of Moriah Baptist chapel, although with much of the equipment yet to arrive. The head teacher experienced many difficulties in the first few weeks and a consistant attendance was to be a problem for years to come. Some of these problems are referred to in these extracts from the School Log Books.
The children attending the school were very much those of the poor families in the area and poverty and illness were to be a constant threat.
All extracts from
Coelbren School
Log Books
School log book entry
  "I, Joan Davies, have had the pleasure of opening the above school at the said date, being Certificated [i.e a qualified teacher] since Dec. 1892. None of the requisites having come, I had to manage for the first fortnight, by teaching songs, tables etc."
Despite these initial problems the new school attracted the attention of local celebrity and land owner Madame Adelina Patti of Craig-y-Nos who treated the children to what must have been for them a special experience in the first weeks of the schools existence, although the head teacher does not sound particularly pleased at the occurence.
County Archives
School log book entry 
"I was obliged to give an holiday owing to a teaparty given by Madam Patti to Colbren children being held at this school".
In April 1895 Mrs Davies records a particular difficulty of language. 
School log book entry 
  "I am obliged to give up the idea of teaching my infants Object Lessons, being that they do not understand any English therefore they do not know what I am saying when I speak to them. I shall try a little later on."
This was at a time when the Welsh language was very much discouraged in many areas of the principality and the emphasis was very much on literacy in English. To the head teacher then, this was yet another problem to be overcome.
  There are 10 pages on Coelbren School. Use the box links below to view the other pages.