History and Heritage

Caretaker of Ystalyfera County School

The caretaker's house was built on the end of the building. The front of the building also housed the main entrance and an entrance for the staff. The earliest reference I could find was an advert for the post of Caretaker which according to the letter published a week later caused someone to feel very disgruntled. The successful candidate was to have free coal and there is a chimney still on the building and probably the lean to at the back may have been where the coal was stored. I am told these building are soon to be demolished to make way for a new junior school but standing in front of this house/home I cannot but feel sad to think of one more piece of history is to be rendered to the archives in the name of progress.


The advert from the Llais for a new caretaker appeared in the 21st August 1915 edition. In the September 18th 1915 edition, the new Caretaker is named as Jenkin Jones, of Cilmaengwyn Woods, Ynismeudwy. In between, the article below had appeared in the Llais criticising the advert's stipulation that the prospective caretaker be a man with no family.


SIR In your excellent journal, which I consider to be one of the best local newspapers produced in Wales, I notice an advertisement for a caretaker for the Ystalyfera County School which states that the caretaker will be preferred "without family".
Is a man to be penalised because he has children?
I should think that an enlightened body like the governors of a County School ought to have a higher sense of social morality than to issue such an advertisement, particularly at the time when the birth rate shows more than the normal decline and when the loss of so many of our finest young men in the war makes the rising generation more precious than ever in the eyes of the nation.
The governors ought to withdraw their wicked stipulation
Yours etc
Commercial Traveller

The Caretaker's House and the lean-to at the rear

In the photograph in the book Stepping Stones, by Bernant Hughes, the main building of the Ystalyfera County School shows a row of trees (bottom left). This photograph I took in January 2017 (bottom right) still depicts the trees along the front of the building but I am almost too afraid to ask if they will still be there at the end of this year. If I could be granted a wish, I think I would like a way to be able to listen to what Mother Nature especially her trees, records of the history as it unfolds beneath their branches.