Former British School, Talgarth

PWMP logoFormer British School, Talgarth

On the corner of Back Lane and School Lane stand the former British School and accompanying schoolmaster’s house. They were built in 1870 to give local children an English-medium education; Welsh-medium schooling was seen by the government as backward. An earlier British School had opened in 1845, at the junction of Regent Street and Bell Street.

WT Davies broke a county record by remaining headmaster here from 1872 until he reached retirement age in 1916. He was then persuaded to continue until July 1920! He suffered from rheumatism towards the end of his career.

The school had two classrooms until a third was added in 1878, allowing the number of pupils to reach 150. However, some children were refused admission due to overcrowding. The school had 138 pupils when it was renamed Talgarth Council School in 1902 (when local education authorities were established in Wales). 

In 1915 Mr Davies compiled a roll of honour of the men serving in the First World War whom he had taught at the school. On the list of 95 men were two majors, a captain, four lieutenants and a chief engineer. Some died in the conflict. Past pupil Basil Newells enlisted to serve but died in a cycling accident. Mr Davies’ son Percy, a surgeon, is buried in a war grave at Talgarth churchyard. He served with the army in the war and died in hospital in 1921.

Facilities at the school remained poor at this time, with outside toilets lacking a flushing system. The classrooms fell below freezing point in winter and could be uncomfortably hot in summer. Electrical supply was installed in 1921.

The average number of pupils per classroom was just under 50. The school log records that on 5 April 1917 there was a snowstorm and only 66 pupils out of 147 attended. Ten were sent home because “their feet and legs were so wet”.

With thanks to Alan Lovell of Talgarth and District Historical Society

Postcode: LD3 0BB    View Location Map