Former National School, Beddgelert

Former National School, Beddgelert

This building, now home to Beddgelert Woodcraft, was built in the 1850s as a National School, where children from poor families received a basic education. The building included a house for the schoolmaster (now the westernmost section of the craft shop).

Beddgelert previously had two schools. The first, opened in 1826, was supported by subscriptions, which reduced the fees parents had to pay. In 1835 it had c.30 boys and girls on its roll. The second school was opened by the Methodists in 1831 for children whose parents paid fees. In 1835 it was attended by 14 boys and 10 girls.

National Schools were created by a charity with a long name (the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church in England and Wales). Formed in 1811, it stipulated that the main subject must be the “national religion”. Beddgelert’s National School taught children from 1859 to 1879.

A British School had opened in Beddgelert by 1850. Its curriculum did not promote the values and norms of the Established Church.

In January 1859 an anonymous writer observed in the periodical Baner ac Amserau Cymru that Beddgelert now had a “pretty and spacious” National School, and bemoaned the tendency in Wales for some Nonconformists to send their children to National Schools despite good inspection reports for the local British Schools. The writer said that children in National Schools had to go through many “formal and dull ceremonies” and sat annual exams where the catechism and “English Liturgy” were principal subjects.

In 1911 a larger building opened, on the western side of the village, for children to receive their primary education.

Postcode: LL55 4YB    View Location Map

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