The following text is taken, in part, from the book Abergele: The Story of a Parish by Ellis Wynne Williams.
Abergele County / Grammar School
In 1889 the County Councils were obliged to put into operation the Intermediate and Technical Education (Wales) Act of that year which gave a great impetus to Secondary Education, and it marks an important landmark in the history of education in the Principality. As a result County Schools were to be established for Secondary Education. A Joint Education Committee was set up to prepare a scheme for presentation to the Charity Commissioners. Abergele applied for a County School to cater for the needs of this district and for the needs of Colwyn Bay as well. Naturally there was fierce opposition from the rapidly developing Colwyn Bay. Rydal and Penrhos Schools were already established and this new venture was viewed with some misgiving. Ultimately, however, it was decided that a County School be established in Abergele under the Act for a trial period of five years, provided temporary premises could be found.
One of the houses known as Castle View, in Water Street, was secured, and a newly appointed Board of Governors appointed and they secured the services of Dr. C. A. Williams, M.A., of Aberystwyth, as Headmaster. The County Authority was soon convinced of the wisdom of going on with the school, and it was decided that provided land could be obtained and a certain amount of money to meet the initial cost be forthcoming, permanent premises would be built. The challenge was immediately taken up by a number of stalwarts, among whom E. H. Millward deserves mention. Mr. H. R. Hughes, the Squire of Kinmel, made a gift of land on the Rhuddlan Road (the site of the Abergele Pound where stray animals were once herded!) and the Bryngwenallt and Tan'rallt families helped with substantial gifts in money. The County Architect prepared the plans and the contract was let to build a school to accommodate seventy pupils. The memorial stones were laid by Mrs. Herbert Roberts, Bryngwenallt; Lady Florentina Hughes, of Kinmel, and Mrs. Thomas Gee, daughter of Henry Tate, Esq., on 18th November, 1897.
The school was officially opened on 24th May, 1899, by Mrs. Brodrick, Coed Coch. Following the death of Dr. Williams at the age of 37, Mr. Jeremiah Williams, M.A., was appointed in the year 1901. He retired in 1932 and Mr. D. B. Jones, M.A., was appointed to take his place. Mr. D. B. Jones was succeeded by Dr. Hubert I. Hughes in 1948 and he, on his retirement in 1963, was followed by Mr. H. H. Thomas, B.A. The premises were extended in 1903-04, 1924-5 and finally in 1938-41. In 1945 it assumed the name of Abergele Grammar School.
Abergele Central / Secondary Modern School
Meanwhile, following the adoption of the policy of Central Schools by the Denbighshire Education Authority, a large, well-equipped Central School was established in Abergele to cater for the secondary education of the 11 plus children. Until 1938 the National School built in 1869 served the educational needs of all the children in Abergele up to the age of 14, other than those who had gained admission to the County School. With the uncertainties of war, the school was planned so that it could easily be converted into a hospital. It opened on 11th October, 1938, by Mrs. J. Evan Morris, Bryn Hyfryd, Abergele. The first Headmaster was Mr. T. Ceiriog Williams, B.A. When he left for Mold in 1941 the school for the remaining war years was in charge of three temporary Head Teachers, Mr. W. R. Owen, Mr. John Edwards, B.A. and Mr. A. C. Davies.
As a result of the Education Act 1944, the school became a Secondary Modern School, and in 1949 took the name of Ysgol Dinorben. At the time of opening in 1938 there were 138 scholars. The numbers increased by 1959 to 400, and some additions to the original building were made to cater for the increase. The Headmaster from 1946 to the closure of the school in 1967 was Mr. E. Wynne Williams, J.P., B.A.
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan
In September 1967, the Grammar and Modern School were combined as one Comprehensive School assuming the name Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, under the headship of Mr. Haydn Thomas, with Mr. Ellis Wynne Williams his Deputy.
Although it would be a couple of years before the new main building was completed, the newly formed Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan continued on seperate sites (as it still does to this day). The lower school were housed in Dinorben and the upper school in the Grammar school.
The two sites are seperated by Llwyn Morfa Road. Utilising a gap between two of the houses, a walk-way was created by removing some of the houses back gardens.
Growing up in Abergele
Learners from Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan have been working with our feeder schools on a literacy project. This project has focused on Growing up in Abergele. You can view the project below: