The School Board was founded on 9th December 1870. Tenders were sought for building a school and master’s house here on 26th March 1873. The architect was John Thomas of Llechryd and the builder was Griffith Jones of Greenfield Row. The work cost £1700. The school opened the following year, though work was not completed until January 1875. It was designed to accommodate 600 scholars. The school was initially under the care of pupil-teacher George Thomas. Thomas Rees was the first headmaster in 1875 and resided at Board School House. He paid £15 per annum rent out of his £100 annual salary. On 29th October 1875 Infants’ Headmistress Mrs. Hannah Davies was granted a salary increase from £45 to £60 per annum. On 20th December 1875 Miss Lloyd was appointed Headmistress of the Girls’ School. Mrs. Hannah Davies moved into the Board School House.
In December 1876 Thomas Rees left in order to study for a degree and William Picton became the Master of the Boys’ School until 1884. In December 1881 there were 250 pupils. Girls’ Mistress Mrs. Vaughan left in 1883. In 1884 there were 300 pupils – about half of the total capacity. William Picton was the Master, Miss Pugh was the mistress, and Mrs. Hannah Davies was the Infants’ Mistress. William Picton resigned in May 1884. There were then 243 pupils.
In July 1884 J. R. Griffith formerly Headmaster of Penparc Board School, became the new headmaster until 1890. In 1885 Miss Pugh resigned. Miss Mary Jones was appointed her successor. In 1886 F. A. Gwynne was the Mistress of the Girls’ School. The schools are marked on the 1887 O. S. map. In January 1888 Mrs. Hannah Davies resigned as Headmistress of the Infants’ School and resigned her tenancy of School House. Miss Rhodesia Jones was her successor, but herself resigned in 1890. Miss Thomas of Carmarthen then succeeded Miss Rhodesia Jones. In April 1890 J. R. Griffiths resigned as Headmaster and moved to Wellingborough and Miss Gwynne resigned as Mistress of the Girls’ School after five successful years.
John Evans of Carmarthen became the new Headmaster and later in 1890 Miss Frances Evans of Carmarthen became the new Girls’ School Headmistress. Both remained in post until at least 1926. In 1891-95 Miss Emily Kate Rees was the Infants’ Mistress. In 1891 the following persons lived in the School House: John Evans, 28, Head Master; Lizzie L. Evans, 28, his wife; John Douglas Evans, 1 month, son; Ann Burnell, 62, visitor; Eleanor Burnell, 74, visitor; and Catherine Davies, 17, domestic servant. On 3rd November 1895 a son was born to Mr. & Mrs. John Evans of Board School House. In January 1896 a temporary Girls’ Intermediate School opened here. On 11th December 1897 the following appeared in the ‘Cardigan Observer‘:
“…CARDIGAN SCHOOL BOARD. The last meeting of the old board was held on Monday afternoon, when the following members were present:—Rev. J. Williams (chairman), Mr J. C. Roberts (vice-chairman), Rev. G. Hughes, and Mr D. Morris. A number of bills for books, coal, and desks were ordered to be paid, and cheques were issued in payment of salaries of teachers and pupil teachers, and in respect of part principal and interest due to the Public Loan Works Office (half-year, £55 14s). Orders were given for requisites for the boys’ department. Mr Morris was asked to see about improving the present state of the playgrounds and w.c.’s; and endeavour to procure suitable gravel to cover the grounds during the Christmas holidays.
TESTIMONIALS. Mr Evans, headmaster, having served under the old board for six years, and as the old board was about being dissolved, asked for a testimonial. The board complied with the application and should any other teacher, or pupil teacher require one, the clerk was authorised to give one.
WASHING OF THE SCHOOLROOM. There existing a doubt as to whether the rooms were being washed out every month, the clerk was requested to ascertain the facts from the teachers, with a request that whenever the duty was neglected to report the same to the board.
VOTES OF THANKS. The Rev. G. Hughes, seconded by Mr Morris, moved a vote of thanks to the chairman and vice- chairman for the efficient manner they had discharged their duties during the last three years, which were duly acknowledged...”
On 9th June 1899 the Board School was described as “ugly”, compared to a barn, and called “…a disgrace to the town…” A week later Ivor Evans of No. 3 Green Street advertised for tenders for plastering the rooms. John Evans lived at School House in 1900. In 1901 the following persons lived here: John Evans, 36, schoolmaster (b. Llanllawddog, Carmarthenshire, bilingual); Lizzie Lavinia Evans, 35, his wife (b. Carmarthen, bilingual); John Douglas Evans, 10, their son; Cyril Vincent Morris Evans, 8, son; Doris Lydia Evans, 6, daughter; Arthur Claude Evans, 5, son; and Margaret Evans, 3, daughter. Except where noted otherwise, all were English-speaking and born in Cardigan. In 1901-24 Mrs. C Morgan was the Infants’ Headmistress. In 1911 the following persons lived here: John Evans, 46, school master; Lizzie L. Evans, 45, his wife; Cyril Vincent Evans, 18, their son; Doris L. Evans, 16, daughter; Arthur Claude Evans, 15, son; Margaret Evans, 13, daughter; Muriel Enid Evans, 8, daughter. On 5th March 1912 the wife of Jonathan Evans, master, died. In 1914 Mrs. C. Morgan was the Infants’ Mistress. In December 1916 Cyril Vincent Morris Evans, son of John Evans, Board School, was wounded in the eye with shrapnel while serving overseas. In 1917 Lieutenant Cyril Vincent Morris Evans, son of headmaster John Evans, was decorated for bravery. In 1918 John Evans lived here. In 1920 John Evans was the Headmaster, Miss Frances Evans was the Mistress and Mrs. C. Morgan was the Infant’s Mistress. A 1922 report stated the following:
“…Girls School: Building needs recolouring. Water supply: main. Lavatory accommodation. Porch needs recolouring. Only one basin for 112 girls. Lighting very poor in small room. Boys School: Ventilation insufficient for number of boys. Lavatory: only one basin. Water supply from main. Infants’ School: Ventilation needs more open windows. Lavatory: only one basin…”
In April 1924 Miss Lizzie Jenkins was appointed the new Infants’ Headmistress, succeeding Mrs. Morgan – headmistress for 23 years. In 1924-26 Miss Lizzie J. Jenkins was the Infants’ Mistress. On 24th February 1928 Miss Frances Evans, Headmistress of the Girls’ School, retired after 37 years service. In February 1928 Annie Davies became the head teacher of the Girls’ School. In February 1929 Miss Davies succeeded Miss Annie Davies as the Headmistress of the Girl’s School. In March 1934 Miss C. M. Davies, Girls’ School Deputy Headmistress, resigned in order to get married.
In 1934-55 William James Morgan was the Headmaster. In April 1934 Miss Frances Gwyneth E. Morris was appointed Head Teacher of Cardigan Infants’ School. W. J. Morgan, Victoria Maud Morgan and Annie Chinn lived at the School House in 1935-52. Ca. 1939 W. J. Morgan joined Cardigan Borough Council. In 1942 W. J. Morgan became the Mayor of Cardigan. On 31st August 1948 Miss Annie J. Owen of No. 10 Ridgeway retired after 42 years teaching here. In July 1949 W. J. Morgan, Headmaster, became an Alderman of the Borough. W. J. Morgan ceased to be a Cardigan Borough Councillor in 1952. There were kitchens at School House in 1953, the property of the County Council. In 1955 Victoria Maud Morgan and William James Morgan lived at the School House. On 26th April 1968 the future of the old building was debated. The school here closed on 17th July that year.
On 17th October 1969 the site was chosen for the new Health Centre. The go-ahead for the scheme was given on 20th March 1970. The building was completed by 24th March 1972. The new Health Centre was officially opened on 27th June 1973. On 6th July 1973 it was proposed to build a new library nearby. On 29th December 1978 proposals for a new library continued and were revived and shelved in September 1993.
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1873-74; 1890; 1895-96; 1899; 1901; 1909; 1912; 1914; 1916-17; 1924; 1927-29; 1934; 1937; 1941-42; 1948-49; 1968-69; 1972-73; 1978; 1993; 1998; 2001
Cardigan Observer 1883
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875; 1884; 1895; 1914; 1920; 1926
Absentee Form – Cardigan Board Schools 02/04/1881; 03/04/1886
O. S. Map 1887 etc.
A Guide to Cardigan & District, William Edward Yerward James 1899
List of Voters – Cardigan 1900; 1910; 1918
Census Returns 1891; 1901; 1911
Absentee Form – Cardigan Board Schools 13/05/1901
Bye-Laws – Borough of Cardigan School Board 30/07/1902
Card – Cardigan Infants’ School 1903
Card – W J Morgan, School House 30/03/1935
Register of Electors 1938; 1955
Annual Report – Bethania Baptist Chapel 1952
Post Office Telephone Directory 1953
© Glen K Johnson 05/09/2013