Powys Digital History Project

Coelbren School 5
The reality of poverty


Factory lay-off
Sometimes the casual details recorded in the School Log Books actually indicate a harsh reality. The extract below, from November 30th 1896, reveals the difficulties of bringing up children in a community without the support of any of the modern benefits available when factory workers are laid off today.
Coelbren School
Log Book
School log book entry


"I have re-opened school and find only 32 present. A great number still very ill. A large number of my children have left, owing to the works being on stop".
The children who left may have been the older children who sought work to see their families through a difficult period of loss of income.
Families which failed to cope in these difficult times faced a grim future as the following extract from June 1897 reveals.  
County Archives
School log book entry
For more about
Poor Law Unions
and workhouses
see our pages on
Care of the Poor

"I find that four of my pupils have left for Pontardawe Union. Another boy has also left for home-work"
The four pupils going to Pontardawe Union may well have been the children of one family being taken in at the local workhouse. Once there, the women and children were seperated from their menfolk and the regime was a grim one designed to make the inmates feel shame for having to fall back upon the Union's help.

There are 10 pages on Coelbren School. Use the box links below to view other pages.