Copper-Works Schools in South Wales during the Nineteenth Century


Leslie Wynne Evans, National Library of Wales journal. 1959, Summer Volume XI/1

Extracted onto the pages of GENUKI with the kind permission of the National Library of Wales

This is a complete extract of this article including the 27 Appendices which contain data concerning individual schools in Kilvey, Hafod, Llanelly, Pembrey, Margam, Maesteg and Pontamman (Gareth Hicks Feb 2003)

Two previous papers have already dealt with schools established by industrialists during the Industrial Revolution in Wales 1  and this article deals with the works' schools of the non-ferrous metal industries in Wales during the nineteenth century. Copper-smelting and its allied industries, along with ironsmelting, were the two important metallurgical industries which initiated industrial development in the western part of the South Wales coalfield. The large-scale smelting of copper, which became localised in the Swansea and Llanelly districts during the early years of the nineteenth century also created several ancillary industries, which were, in the main, juxta-posed to the parent copperworks. These included spelter, lead and silver, yellow-metal, 2  chemical (especially sulphuric acid), superphosphate, alkali, and brass works. 3

Two phases emerge in the development of the copper industry---each with its characteristic schools. An early phase, was bound up with the fortunes of Sir Humphrey Mackworth and his mines in north Cardiganshire, and the early Works Charity Schools associated with them. During the eighteenth century, the non-ferrous smelting works had spread into the lower Tawe valley, where nine copperworks were in operation before 1800. 4

The later, modern phase, which started in the early years of the nineteenth century, saw the establishment of copperworks at Swansea, Llanelly, Pembrey, ...........................

  • 1. Evans, L. Wynne: The National Library of Wales Journal, Vol. IX, Summer, 1956; pp. 256-286. Idem: ibid: Volume X, Winter, 1957, pp. 137-166.
  • 2. An amalgam of zinc and copper.
  • 3. Vivian's (Swansea) works and collieries included the following: Hafod Isha Silver Works; Hafod Foundry and Engineering Works; Hafod Copper Works; White Rock Silver Works; Hafod Superphosphate Manure Works; Sulphuric Acid Works; Spelter Works at Clase, Morriston; Llythrid Alkali Works, Parkmill; Margam Copper Works; and numerous collieries around Skewen and Swansea.
  • 4. 'Llangavelach', 1717; Gabriel Powell's Works, 1720; Taibach, (Landore) 1727; Forest, 1727; White Rock, 1737; Middle Bank, 1755; Upper Bank, 1777; Birmingham (circa) 1791; Rose, 1795.

...................... Cwmavon, 1  Neath, and Taibach (Margam). Each of these large copperworks had its school, and even the small smelting house at Crown Copperworks, Neath, boasted some kind of school. Similar schools were established at the Maesteg Spelter works, the chemical works at Pontamman, Carmarthenshire, and smaller schools associated with the non-ferrous smelting industries, such as the lead and silver mines at Ysbyty Ystwyth and Goginan (Cardiganshire), the lead mines at Rhandirmwyn (Carmarthenshire), and the lead and copper mines at Gloddaith, Llandudno (Caernarvonshire).

During the nineteenth century, two prosperous industrialists established two of the largest coppersmelting concerns in South Wales---the Vivian's of Swansea, and the Nevill's of Llanelly. Moreover, Vivian's Copperworks Schools at Hafod, Swansea, and Nevill's Copperworks Schools at Heolfawr, Llanelly, were as important in the western part of the coalfield (and as famous) as the Guest Schools at Dowlais. The industrial ramifications of Vivian and Nevill reflected a characteristic feature of Welsh industrial organisation, namely, the integrated concern. 2  The two copper-masters owned and developed numerous collieries; smelted and produced lead and silver, brass and yellow-metal, zinc and spelter, and manufactured several by-products of the copper trade, including sulphuric acid, alkali, and other chemicals. These industries were vitally connected with the Copperworks Schools, for the early registers and account books of these schools were filled with the names of children whose fathers and brothers were employed in the copper and allied trades. 3

The development and growth of Swansea was intimately bound up with the rise of the coppersmelting industry. Its population was only six thousand and ninety-nine in 1801, but this had risen to forty thousand in 1851. 4  In that year, Swansea had become the copper centre of Britain, and was acclaimed the copper mart of the world. The growth of the port reflected the rapid development of the copper trade when 'large and valuable cargoes of ore were continually arriving at Swansea docks from every country in the world where copper-mining was pursued. In 1814, only four vessels traded with foreign ports, but in 1849 this number had increased to seven hundred and seventy-one, the greater proporton of them directly engaged in the copper trade'. 5

The first copperworks school to be established in the Swansea district was associated with the White Rock, Upper, and Middle Bank Copper Companies. The two proprietors, Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell of Maesteg House, St. Thomas, Swansea, and John Freeman, promoted a school which was opened in 1806. 6  Built .......................

  • 1. Cwmavon, another large integrated industrial concern is discussed under Ironworks schools. See: Evans, L. Wynne: 'Ironworks Schools in South Wales, 1784-1860'. Sociological Review, July, 1951.
  • 2. John, A. H. The Industrial development of S. Wales, 1750-1850. University of Wales Press, 1950, p. 137.
  • 3. The Admission Registers, Account Books, and Logbooks of the Hafod Copperworks Schools, Swansea, and the Llanelly Copperworks Schools.
  • 4. Census Returns, Part 1, 1801. Abstract of Answers and Returns, Swansea, p. 479. ibid, for 1851 p. 438.
  • 5. Chambers's Edinburgh journal, 1852, p. 234.
  • 6. 1847 Reports, p. 330: 'the site was given by Freeman, and the cost of erection defrayed by Messrs. Grenfell'. Also: Miscellaneous Papers, Education Department, Guildhall, Swansea.

..........................by the proprietors, it was maintained by stoppages of a 1d. per week from the workmen employed in the three copperworks. The girls were required to pay, separately at the Works offices. 1  This school was later converted into a Boys department, a girls' school being added in 1842.

In 1839, John Freeman presented another site which Grenfell used to build the new Kilvey Infants Copperworks school, which had over two hundred children in 1846. 2  The three Grenfell schools became known as the Kilvey Copperworks Schools, which were considerably enlarged in 1850 to serve an extensive area from St. Thomas to Pentrechwyth. 3  Pupils were admitted, whose parents were not employed by the Company, provided there was accommodation for them, and that they paid at a higher rate. 4

From the outset, Grenfell paid particular attention to the quality of his teaching staff, and among other things he insisted that all the teachers should be trained and also inspected annually. To this end, he applied for, and obtained grants from the Committee of Privy Council in order to augment the teachers' salaries, train pupil-teachers, and to procure suitable equipment. He also saw that the schools were conducted on an unsectarian basis, though he himself was a Churchman. Also, under Richard Gwynne, the headteacher, these schools became the most efficient in the Swansea area. 5

However, promoters of works schools in Swansea (as in some other places) were looked upon with complete disfavour and suspicion by some of the leading Dissenting ministers and 'voluntaryists' of the 1850's. One of the leading dissenting antagonists was the Reverend David Rees of Capel Als, Llanelly, who praised and condemned works proprietors in the same breath:

'... y mae ysgolion J. H. Vivian, Ysw., A.S., ac ysgolion Foxhole (the Kilvey schools), dan ofal P. St. Leger Grenfell, Ysw., Maesteg House, yn ardal Abertawe. Y mae'r ddau foneddwr uchod yn ddynion rhyddfrydig eu barn wleidiadol, ac yn sefyll yn y rhes flaenaf fel meistri. Cadwant eu gweithiau ymlaen yn gyson; rhoddant gyflogau da i'w gweithwyr, a chant fyned lle y mynnent i bwrcasu cynhaliaeth. Y mae hyn yn wir ganmoladwy, a thrueni fod brycheuyn mor ddu a'r ysgolion hyn ar eu cymeriadau. 6

  • 1. Education Inquiry, 1833, ibid, Vol. III, Glamorgan, p. 1284: 'Two schools: one whereof containing 40 males and 10 females is partly supported by the White Rock, Middle Bank, and Upper Bank Copper Company, who allow 13/4 weekly for instructing the boys of their workmen. The girls are paid for by their parents'.
  • 2. 1847 Reports, ibid supra.
  • 3. Reports from the Commisioners (State of Population in the Mining Districts), 1850, Vol. XXIII, Monmouth, Brecon, and Glamorgan, p. 307. 'The Grenfell Company has erected spacious school buildings and a church for the population collected near their smelting works'.
  • 4. Miscellaneous Papers, ibid, Education Department.
  • 5. ibid. Richard Gwynne was 'Postmaster turned schoolmaster', and was the father of Howell Gwyn, Editor of the London ' Morning Standard', and of Bishop Gwynne, (Khartoum).
  • 6. Rees, Rev. David: Y Diwygiwr, Rhif. 216, Gorff. 1853, Cyf. XVIII, t. 223.
    'The schools of J. H. Vivian and P. St. Leger Grenfell, near Swansea, are in the hands of two gentlemen who hold Liberal political views, and are in the foremost ranks of good proprietors of works. They keep their works in constant operation, pay good wages to their workmen, and allow them to purchase their food whereever they wish. This is most praiseworthy, but it is deplorable that these schools are such a stain on their characters'.

The Hafod Copperworks schools established by the Vivian family at Trevivian, Hafod (between Swansea and Landore), were among the outstanding works schools of the nineteenth century. Not only were they among the largest schools of their kind numerically and structurally, but they were also organised on an extremely efficient basis, and from their commencement were staffed with fully trained teachers. In addition, they had a comprehensive and large pupil-teacher system, and practically everything in connection with these schools was the subject of the highest praise from the Inspectors of Factories, Inspectors of Schools, and the numerous Commissioners who visited them during the nineteenth century.

The Vivian family came to the Swansea district in 1800, when John Vivian of Truro, Cornwall (representing the Associated Miners of Cornwall) came to ascertain the prospects of coppersmelting in the area. 1  Vivian had some connection with a coppersmelting house on the south side of the Loughor river and in Gower---originally known as the Kenthouse Lead Works, which were later converted to coppersmelting. The Association of Cornish Miners had reason to believe that they were not getting full value for their ores from the South Wales smelters, so they eventually started their own copperworks at Penclawdd. John Vivian was one of the managing partners, success crowned their venture, and, seeing that the district possessed potential advantages for further developments, he brought his family to settle in Swansea. 2

John Vivian was a shrewd and far-seeing business man, who in order to ensure that the copper industry connected with his family was placed on a sound footing, sent his son, John Henry Vivian to study the theory and practice of coppersmelting at various mining schools in Germany. On his return to Swansea in 1810, a parcel of land was acquired at Hafod from the Duke of Beaufort and the Earl of Jersey, in the names of John Vivian's sons---John Henry, and Richard Hussey Vivian. On this land, the Hafod Copperworks (North and South Works) were built, and nearby, in 1847, the Hafod Copperworks schools were erected. 3

Richard Hussey Vivian, one of the original partners, took no interest in coppersmelting, made the Army his career, and at the end of the Peninsular War was created a Baron, with the title of Lord Vivian. John Henry Vivian, on the other hand, became the driving force in the Hafod industrial machine. Having had a sound and expensive technical education and training, and having gained a specialised knowledge of metallurgy in German smelting works and towns, he became the greatest authority on coppersmelting during the nineteenth century. He also contributed authoritative papers to the Annals of Philosophy, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, 4  and was on intimate terms with the leading scientists of the day, including Faraday and Sir Humphrey Davy. In 1832, he ....................

  • 1.Hamilton, H.: The English Brass and Copper Industries to 1800, (1926), pp. 213-236. Also: Phillips, E.: History of the Pioneers of the Welsh Coalfield, (1925), p. 46.
  • 2. Hamilton, H. ibid supra.
  • 3. The school was originally started in 1846---but in temporary buildings.
  • 4. Chambers Edinburgh Journal, ibid, p. 235: J. H. Vivian's standard works on Metallurgy were, with some modifications re-written by Drs, Ure and Lardner, the 19th century Metallurgical authorities.

...................... was elected Member of Parliament, and remained so until his death in 1855. The management of the copper trade passed into the hands of his son, Sir Hussey Vivian, who later became the first Lord Swansea.

Long before the Hafod schools were built, J. H. Vivian and his wife had interested themselves in the provision of schools in Swansea, being 'constantly deeply conscious of the lack of educational facilities in the Swansea district'. The efforts of the Reverend E. B. Squire, the Vicar of Swansea to provide National schools for the town were considerably enhanced by the practical support given by Vivian, who every year 'subscribed liberally towards their maintenance'. 1  But Vivian had also started his own schools on a small scale, with his wife as 'a tireless supporter'. Realising that something had to be done for the large masses of working class children, Mrs. Vivian established and supported a small school for forty girls in the parish of St. John in 1825 , 2 and also started a Model Dame School in the grounds of their residence at Singleton Park. 3 But although these efforts were commendable, and also effective so far as they went, the main problem of educating large numbers of working class children still remained unsolved. Compared with the schools already in operation through the efforts of his neighbour P. St. Leger Grenfell, Vivian's ventures were very limited.

But within a few years his best work was yet to come. His fellow Member of Parliament was Sir John Guest of Dowlais who already had achieved a reputation for establishing more than one school for his employees. There is no reason to doubt that Vivian had discussed the question with him, and had also visited Guest's earlier schools at Dowlais. Both industrialists had heard the Reform Parliament voting the sum of £20,000 for educational purposes in 1833, and setting up the Committee of Privy Council for Education; both had witnessed the industrial unrest and the Chartist trouble in 1839, and had heard the rejection of Sir James Graham's controversial Factory Bill of 1843 with its 'insidious proposals' regarding education. 4 Finally, in 1846, both had probably heard the long but stirring oration by William Williams, M.P. for Coventry, demanding an Inquiry into the state of Education in the Principality. 5

There might be some significance attached to the opening of the Hafod Copperworks schools in February, 1847   6 for they were not established directly as a result of the Government Commission of Inquiry, for those Reports did not appear until the latter part of 1847. Vivian had no doubt concluded that it would be a very long time before schools could be established by the State, and the rejection of .....................

  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1848. Mr. H. Longueville Jones's Report on Wales.
  • 2. Education Inquiry, 1833, ibid, Vol. III, p. 1281.
  • 3. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1848-49: Appendix to J. Fletcher's Report:
    'The Cottage Dame School had accommodation for twenty-five boys and girls occupying a pretty Swiss cottage in the grounds of J. H. Vivian, M.P. This is a Model Dame School for children of both sexes ...... who receive individual instruction from an excellent matron in reading, writing, and arithmetic, with knitting for the boys, and both knitting and sewing for the girls, and form at the same time a picture for a painter'.
  • 4. Salmon, D: The story of a Welsh Education Commission, 1846-7, p. 189. Y Cymmrodor, Vol. XXIV. Also: Smith, Frank, ibid, pp. 194-5.
  • 5. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, 1846, l0th March, 1846.
  • 6. Register of Boys, 1854-94, Hafod Schools, with notes by W. G. Williams, former teacher at the school.

....................... Graham's Bill had confirmed his view. The religious problems of that Bill were also reflected in Vivian's school activities at Swansea. When he opened the Hafod schools, he decided to conduct them on a non-denominational basis, and from the very outset, by this action, endeared himself to the working classes. Thus the Hafod schools became British or Unsectarian establishments, organised on a 'neutral' basis, and inspected by the Inspectors of the British and Foreign School Society. 1

The Hafod schools were built in three stages at a cost of between two and three thousand pounds. 2  It was thought at first that one building would suffice as a mixed school, and for this purpose a wooden partition was erected along the length of the schoolroom with boys on one side, and girls on the other. But this arrangement proved unsatisfactory, for the schoolroom soon became overcrowded and 'children were flocking to the school'. 3  Eventually, the girls occupied the original schoolroom, a new boys' department was added, and in 1848 a new Infants schoolroom completed the first Hafod scheme. But even the additional accommodation proved totally inadequate, the schools were crowded once more, although preference had been given to the children whose parents were employed in Vivian's undertakings. 4

From their inception, the schools enjoyed the services of fully qualified teachers, and a careful search was made in the various Model and training schools for suitable personnel. For example, in 1848, a few weeks before the new Infants school was opened, Vivian and his son paid a special visit to the Home and Colonial Institution in London to choose a suitable mistress who had been trained in the Pestalozzian methods. A Mrs. Finlay was chosen, who started a long association with the Hafod schools, and her daughter carried on her work until the Infant school was closed in 1903. 5

Children attending the schools were of two types : (a) the Works children, and (b) the 'pay' children. Works children---the sons and daughters of Vivian's workmen had the first right of admission, and were instructed free of charge, but their parents contributed a 1d. per week out of their wages. The 'pay' children were admitted on payment of a penny or two per week, provided there were vacancies---and were children whose parents were unconnected with the works. 6

The Hafod schools attracted pupils from as far afield as Pontardulais, Llangyfelach, Birchgrove, Sketty, and Cockett. 7  The school registers for the early period contain a wealth of interesting details. There were two kinds of registers, one for the Works pupils and the other for the pay pupils, and the Headteachers were instructed to adhere strictly to this distinction. Between 1847 and 1852,.............................

  • 1.  Report of Pakington Committee, ibid, Minutes 3931-36, p. 197.
  • 2. Reports from Commissioners, Mining Districts, 1850, ibid, Vol. XXIII. Also: Minutes of Committee of Council, Vol. II, 1847-8, p. 298 et seque. Also: Lewis, John: The Swansea Guide, W. M. Brewster, 1851, p. 50.
  • 3. Anon: A brief history of the Hafod Copperworks School from its foundation. Swansea, 1905, p. 4 This pamphlet unfortunately contains very general information.
  • 4. ibid. 
  • 5. ibid, p. 7.
  • 6. Admission Registers, Hafod Schools, ibid.
  • 7. Brief History of Hafod Schools, ibid, p. 7.

............................ no registers were kept, but attendances were sent as a weekly return to the Works Office. The first name of interest on the 1852 register was that of Walter Hogg, who eventually became an Inspector of schools. The 'works children' register contained the names of such children from 1852 to 1894, after which year no school payments were made.' 1

From 1847 to 1854, the Hafod schools received no grants from the government, and the school pence of the 'pay' pupils covered the cost of books and apparatus. 2  The teachers' salaries, payments to pupil teachers and building maintenance 'were derived wholly from the liberality of Mr. Vivian. The teachers and pupil teachers were young, active, and fairly instructed, and of the most recent training at the London Borough Road Schools.' 3  In 1857, with the aid of grants from the Committee of Privy Council, the schools were 'extensively renovated and extended', classrooms were added, and the old monitorial system gave way to class instruction by trained teachers. 4

The progress and development of the schools are set out in detail in the school logbooks from 1861. Day to day progress is faithfully recorded, the Inspector's Report is appended at the close of each school year, together with the staffing establishment. In 1864, for example, at the boys' school, the Headteacher, Mr. J. M. Carr, had three pupil-teachers, and in 1870 he had one qualified assistant and six pupil-teachers. Other entries describe Mrs. Vivian's weekly visits 'when she always listened to the dictation and reading lessons, and saw that everything generally was in order'. 5

Swansea, in common with similar industrial centres in South Wales, experienced the universal problem of 'the Works versus the Works school', i.e. the works always attracted more boys than the school because employment was always available, and offered quick rewards. A natural result was the thin attendances in the higher classes, and Vivian did his utmost to counteract this evil by introducing evening classes.

The Hafod schools started with three hundred and fifty pupils in 1847; this number had risen to five hundred and twenty-one in 1865, and in 1894 the schools had a school roll of one thousand, one hundred and fourteen, with an average attendance of eight hundred and eighty-nine. 6  The characteristic features of the schools were their comprehensiveness, efficiency, and size. Every official Report referred to their 'excellence' and size. In 1849, they were described as 'three large schools erected by Mr. Vivian for the use of his workpeople, which rival in size those of Sir John Guest at Dowlais. 7  In 1859, the Inspector's Report referred ..........................

  • 1. Admission Registers, Hafod Copperworks Schools, ibid.
  • 2. Minutes of Committee of Council, Vol. II, 1847-8: Appendix, p. 298.
  • 3. ibid.
  • 4. Report of the British and Foreign School Society, 1858, p. 86.
  • 5. Hafod Copperworks Schools, Logbooks, 1863-1900.
  • 6. Jones, G. J. Winning poem on the Hafod School, Morriston Eisteddfod, September 26th, 1854.
     Also: Minutes of Committee of Council, 1865-66. Tabulated Reports on Wales, Rev. B. J. Binns.
     Also: ibid, 1895, Tabulated Reports, p. 289.
  • 7. ibid, for 1849: Mr. H. Longueville Jones's Report on Wales.

.........................  to them as 'excellent schools, and at the head of the list of the best schools in Wales'. 1 The Hafod schools remained independent of the Local School Board until 1903. 2 Vivian also promoted, and subscribed to two other schools---one at his Court Herbert Colliery at Skewen, and the Sketty National School. 3

Llanelly, at the beginning of the nineteenth century was mainly concerned with coalmining and ironsmelting, and had a population of just under three thousand. 4  In 1804, Charles Nevill of Birmingham, who was in charge of a coppersmelting house at Swansea, went into partnership with three other smelters, came to Llanelly, and started coppersmelting. 5  The Nevill family played a vital part in the industrial development of the town for the next hundred years, and, like the Vivian's of Swansea, promoted and established schools for their employees.

Nevill, and other prominent industrialists of the town and district, were ardent supporters of the Llanelly Free Schools mentioned in an earlier article 6  and Nevill had already set up some kind of school for the children of the workmen at his copperworks and local collieries. The only other schools in the town were the numerous private and dame schools, and they did a thriving business in instructing 'principally workmen's children; the children of mechanics; and the children of labourers, mariners, coppermen, and colliers. 7

By 1840 the population of the town was increasing very rapidly, coppersmelting was prosperous, and Nevill was also engaged in developing several new industries associated with lead and silver, yellow metal, and opening new collieries in the vicinity of the town. 8   Llanelly at that time had no British or National school, and Nevill realised that something more was required than the small Free schools and the numerous private 'adventure' establishments. In his evidence submitted to the Commissioners of Inquiry in 1846, Nevill gave a comprehensive account of the educational state of Llanelly, and urged that something should be done 'to improve and extend the system of education in the parish for boys and girls'. By that time, Nevill had already decided to open his own schools, but without disclosing this information to the Commissioners, he stated that 'considerable efforts to that end were being made in Llanelly'. He was of the opinion that if every married man could be induced or compelled to contribute towards the education of his children, there would be some inducement to send them to school. 9

  • 1. ibid, 1858-9: Report on British Schools by Jos. Bowstead.
  • 2. ibid, 1897: Mr. Monro's Report on the Swansea District, p. 239.
  • 3. Bowstead, J. Letters concerning education in Wales (South), suggested by a recent charge of the Bishop of St. David's, 1861, Printed by W. Partridge, Russell St., Stroud, p. 21.
  • 4. Population of Llanelly in 1801: 2,972; in 1821: 5,649.
  • 5. Evans, L. Wynne: History of Carmarthenshire, Vol. II. W. Lewis, Cardiff, 1939, p. 361 et seque.
  • 6. Evans, L. Wynne: Colliery Schools in South Wales in The Nineteenth Century. N.L.W. Journal, Vol X, No 2. Winter, 1957. p. 137
  • 7. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 36 et seque; p. 213, et seque; p. 380.
  • 8. History of Carmarthenshire, ibid supra.
  • 9.1847 Reports, Part, 1 Appendix, p. 486: Evidence respecting the mining and manufacturing districts, Carmarthenshire, dated 6th April, 1847.
    Also: Nevill MSS: Letter dated 4th March, 1839: shows that Nevill was a keen educationist. His son James had been to school at Bridgnorth with Dr. Rowley, and Oriel College, Oxford; another son, Henry, was with Dr. Arnold at Rugby.

Nevill had already, some years before, experimented with the idea of establishing a school in connection with his works, and this experience found expression in the bolder and more comprehensive scheme which he was soon to launch. Sometime before 1846, a preliminary kind of 'copperworks school' was carried on at the 'Barracks'---a building in his copperworks yard. But at the end of 1846, he started erecting school buildings 1  for infants and boys, which were opened in 1847. 2  In 1848, "comfortable teachers' houses were added to the Copperworks schools" 3  and in January, 1852, the schools were completed by the addition of a girls' department. 4

The schools were intended primarily to serve the needs of children whose parents were employed by the Copperworks Company. These comprised persons employed in the Copperworks, Lead Works, the Wern Foundry, the Old Lodge Ironworks, the Silver works, the Collieries, and the 'Pilots' (the Nevill Dock and Wharf department, including the shipbuilding yard). 5  Nevill also admitted the children of other working class parents not employed at his works. In addition to the contributions made by the workmen from their wages, all children were required to pay school pence, the fees being carefully graded for children coming from the same family, while the children of other workmen not employed by Nevill had to pay 1d. per week extra. Any deficit at the end of the year in the cost of maintaining the schools was defrayed by the Company, but this was never excessive, lasting only a few years, until the schools eventually cost nothing. 6

Nevill was extremely fortunate in his choice of headteachers, and the story of the school can be briefly reviewed in two stages to 1894, by noting their work. The first period, from 1847 to 1863, when David Williams was Headteacher, was so successful that the Copperworks schools 'were one of the best in Wales'. He was trained at Brecon, and knew 'how to teach and to drill a school'. 7   In 1862 (the year before he left to take up his duties as the South Wales Agent for the British and Foreign School Society, thus succeeding the Reverend William Roberts ('Nefydd'), the annual Inspector's Report stated: 'reading, writing, and arithmetic, and all the ordinary subjects were admirably taught in this school. It is more numerously attended than heretofore, and in every respect highly efficient and successful'. 8

  • 1. 1847 Reports, Part 1, Appendix, p. 209.
  • 2. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1847-8: Vol. II, p. 300.
  • 3. ibid, 1848-9: Report by J. Fletcher, Appendix, 11th June, 1848.
  • 4. Minutes, ibid: General Report for 1852, by Mathew Arnold, H.M.I. on British, Wesleyan, and other Denominational Schools inspected in the Midland District of England and Wales.
  • 5. MS Letter (undated), 'Reminiscences re Copperworks School, Llanelly', addressed from Beaumont House, Goring Road, Llanelly. Llanelly Copperworks School Papers.
  • 6. ibid.
  • 7. Nefydd MSS, N.L.W. Journal for July 24th 1854,; ibid, August 16th, 1854.
  • 8. Logbook, Llanelly Copperworks School, August, 1862. When David Williams resigned, the Inspector's Report stated:
     'The instruction is thoroughly sound, far advanced, and well graduated. The discipline appears to me to be faultless. The school is in all respects in a condition of efficiency which cannot be too highly praised. Mr. David Williams ... is about to resign in order to take a situation under the B & F. S. S. in which I am happy to say his valuable services will still be devoted to the cause of education in this district'. D. Williams became Vice Principal of Swansea Training College in 1872.

It was during Mr. J. E. Jones's period as Headteacher that the Llanelly 'Heolfawr' School made a name for itself. During his time at the school (1863-1894) the number of pupils doubled, new extensions were built, and classrooms added. 1  Jones was assisted by four pupil teachers, 2  and being deeply interested in scientific and technical subjects, he worked incessantly to qualify for the advanced certificates of the Science and Art Department, Kensington. 3  He also induced his pupil-teachers to follow his example, and by 1874 he had introduced practical and inorganic chemistry to the upper school curriculum---the only school in Wales which included such courses. 4

He also initiated and conducted personally a whole variety of evening classes at the school---perhaps one of the most significant and successful feature of his work. Among the successful candidates in the Science and Art examinations (and a former pupil at the school) was Alfred Daniel, the eminent chemist, who became a Freeman of Llanelly. 5  Jones also conducted classes in Navigation in order to instruct local sailors for their examinations in nautical subjects, for at this time the Copperworks had its own clocks, and built its own vessels which were manned by local mariners. 6

'Jones Heolfawr' left the school after thirty-one years service to become the first Headmaster of the new Llanelly Higher Grade school in 1894. In the meantime the Copperworks schools had been taken over by the Llanelly School Board, 7  and were again 'remodelled and greatly enlarged'. 8

W. H. Nevill, another member of the family, who lived at Llangennech Park, near Llanelly was one of the founders of the Llangennech Village National School, and was mainly responsible for its maintenance. 9  After R. J. Nevill's death in 1856, W. H. and C. W. Nevill carried on his work and were equally enthusiastic educationists. The educational work done in the town by R. T. Nevill was given due recognition when the Nevill Memorial Hall was opened in 1864, with the following eulogy: 'he elevated his workpeople socially and morally, and liberally supported all institutions tending to improve the conditions of the masses. The establishment of the Copperworks Schools, which ranked as one of the first of their class in the Principality was a practical exemplification of his zeal for the diffusion of education'. 10

  • 1. MS Letter, ibid, Llanelly Copperworks School Papers.
  • 2. August 11th, 1864: Edwin Daw, P. T. of 3rd year; Edwin D. Pryor, P. T. of 2nd year; J. J. Morris and Sam. J. Williams, P. T. 's of 1st year. August 8th, 1866: John Trehearne, P. T. 5th year; E. D. Pryor. P. T. 4th year; David Gay, P. T. 1st year; Thomas Job, P. T. 1st year.
  • 3. In 1867, J. E. Jones was awarded 1st Class Certificate in Plane and Solid Geometry, and Mech. and Machine Drawing.
  • 4. Logbook, Copperworks School; also Minutes of Committee of Council, 1874, p. 136.
  • 5. Llanelly Guardian, August 22nd, 1867: Alfred Daniel of Hendre, 1st Class Queen's Prize in Inorganic Chemistry.
  • 6. ibid, April 8th, 1869.
  • 7. Logbook, ibid, Vol. II, July 12 1894. Also Minutes of Committee of Council, 1897, Report by A. G. Legarde, p. 289.    
  • 8. ibid.
  • 9.  Letters concerning education in South Wales, ibid, p. 21.
  • 10. Llanelly Guardian, June 21st, 1864.

At Pembrey, a few miles to the west of Llanelly, coppersmelting was a later development. In 1846, Messrs. Mason and Elkington, who hailed from Birmingham and London, built the copperworks. 1  In 1855, the Company erected the Copperworks school 'for the children of the workers employed in its copperworks, collieries, and brickworks'. Other children were also admitted if there were vacancies. The buildings cost £1,700, the entire sum was contributed by the Company, who also gave £270 for its upkeep. 2

The Pembrey copperworks school had several interesting features. For the first few years, a 'tax on the workmen's wages for educational purposes was made at the Works Office'. Thereafter workmen's children paid the following rates: girls and boys 2d. or 1d. per week; infants, 1d. per week; children of persons not employed at the works, 3d. per week, and infants 1d. or 1 1/2 d. per week. Children of workmen who earned less than £1 per week were educated free of charge. 3  No preference was given to children who had been educated in the copperworks schools in supplying vacancies at the works. Such promotions depended entirely on ability and skill. The majority of pupils at the school were 'outside' children, e.g. in 1868, two hundred and sixty-five 'outsiders' attended, against two hundred and fourteen of the workmen's children. 4

The school was entirely undenominational in character, and ministers of religion of every denomination interested themselves in its activities. The original building was designed to accommodate about five hundred children---boys, girls, and infants, including living accommodation for the teachers. A reading room and library were also included. 5  In 1874 the school was described as 'one of the most efficient in the Inspector's District'. 6

The Margam Copperworks school (for boys and girls) at Taibach, were established in 1830 by the Margam Copperworks Company (Patron: the Hon. Captain Lindsay), 7 which were taken over later on by Vivian of Swansea, and managed by his son Pendarves Vivian. 8  As the school grew rapidly in numbers, an infants department was added, and in 1858 was described as 'one of the outstanding schools in the West Glamorgan and Carmarthenshire Prize Association, when seven pupils carried off substantial prizes for regular attendance, and achieving the cardinal accomplishments of the elementary schools'. 9

  • 1. History of Carmarthenshire, ibid, Vol. II, p. 367.
  • 2. Reports from Commissioners, Inspectors of Factories, ibid, 1868-9, p. 232.
  • 3. Reports from Commissioners, Inspectors of Factories, ibid, 1868-9, p. 232.
  • 4. ibid.
  • 5.  Y Diwygiwr, Medi, 1855, Rhif. 242, Cyf. XX, tud. 314: Penbre, Sir Gaerfyrddin, gan y Parch. H. Evans (A), Penbre.
  • 6.  Minutes of Committee of Council, 1874: Report by Rev. S. Pryce. Appendix, Table D, p. 139.  
  • 7. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 70.
  • 8. Wilkins, C. ibid, p. 60.
  • 9.  The Cambrian, Swansea, August 6th, 1858. These were: reading audibly and properly; writing legibly and neatly; and working sums in arithmetic correctly, and well trained in the habits and elementary truths of Christianity.

The Crown Copper and Spelter works at Neath, mentioned twice in the Commissioners Reports of 1847, probably had a small school, although it is not mentioned again in the School Returns of the nineteenth century. In his survey of day-schools at Neath in February, 1847, the Assistant Commissioner stated that 'Miss Williams's school was at the Crown Copper Works.'  1   but in the Parochial Table of Day-schools listed for Cadoxton, Neath, it is described as a private school conducted by Miss Williams near the Crown Copperworks, established in 1841, and attended by thirty boys and girls. 2

Two other schools were established in connection with the non-ferrous metal industries in the South Wales region---at Maesteg, and Pontamman, Carmarthenshire. The Spelter works school at Maesteg is first mentioned in the Returns of the Committee of Privy Council in 1854, 3  the proprietors erecting the school without the aid of a building grant, but receiving grants for pupil teachers. In 1866, the average attendance was only forty-eight, but this had risen to two hundred and twenty-seven in 1878. 4

The Pontamman Chemical works school was established in the 1850's by a Mr. Morris the proprietor, and the Brodie's who later took over the concern, carried on the school. Nefydd wrote almost contemptuously about the school in his diary:

'Pontamman : There is a small mixed school in this place established by Mr. Morris, proprietor of the chemical works. There are 40 children, but the young woman that is the schoolmistress is not at all adapted to the work. She is the daughter (21 years of age) of the schoolmistress at Cross Inn (Miss Edwards). She only gets of Mr. Morris £10 per annum. It is only the name of a school, and I thought of seeing Mr. Morris, but he was away from home. I will visit again, and urge him to establish a good school'. 5

In spite of the Agent's gloomy report, the school persisted at least until 1882, and also qualified to receive grants from the Committee of Council. 6  The school was open to all children, and those parents who could afford nothing, sent their children free of charge. 7

The remaining schools associated with the non-ferrous metal industries were in rural Wales, far from the industrial regions. In Cardiganshire, not far from Esgair Hir where Mackworth had established a school in the eighteenth century, two schools were promoted by proprietors of lead and silver mines at Ysbyty Ystwyth, and Goginan. The Ysbyty Ystwyth Miners' School was established in 1842 by the Level Fawr Leadmining Company. It started its life in a temporary building attached to the mines, but in 1846 a school was built. It was.......................

  • 1. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 338. 
  • 2. ibid, Part I  p. 62.
  • 3. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1854. General Report by Rev. H. Longueville Jones, p. 250.
  • 4. ibid for 1878, Tabulated Reports, Glamorgan.
  • 5. Nefydd MSS, ibid, Journal for 1856, entry for September 21st, 1856.
  • 6. Minutes of Committee of Council for 1882, p. 770.
  • 7. Information supplied by J. Jenkyn Morgan, Esq., Glan Berach, Glanamman, Carmarthenshire.

 ................................ 'a good stone building 63 by 15 feet; the accommodation at six square feet ---157 ... there were 60 children attending, but the schoolmaster was not too competent and he received £25 per annum salary'. 1  The school was described thus by Henry Penry who visited the place on November 19, 1846:

'I examined the day school. The building in which it is held was erected by the Lefel Fawr Leadmining Company, whose works are close by it. It is a long narrow building, four times as long as it is broad. It is well lighted and ventilated, and would be more convenient for two rooms, for a master and assistant, or two masters, better than for one. The school is conducted upon no system, nor has the master been trained, but the principal persons connected with these works are anxious that the master should be able to teach efficiently. They therefore wish him to go to see other schools at Aberystwyth and elsewhere, that he may improve his own. The reading of the highest class was tolerable. Two or three of the girls, daughters of some of the Agents connected with the works, read very well, and the knowledge of Scripture evinced by these scholars was more correct and extensive than what was manifest in other schools ... and the only things aimed at seemed to be reading the Bible and spelling long columns of words'. 2

This school carried on until the late 1870's, when the land was purchased in December, 1877, and the school was transferred to the local school Board as a public elementary school. 3

The Goginan mines producing lead and silver, were leased to the Mine Adventurers in 1700 for a period of ninety-nine years, and worked intermittently throughout the eighteenth century. In 1760, the property was bought by Pryse of Gogerddan, but after 1785, Sir Thomas Bonsall obtained the lease of the mine. 4   In the early part of the nineteenth century, the mining company of Messrs. J. Taylor developed the mines. 5  This Company, the Goginan Lead and Silver Mining Company, promoted a school by renting the schoolhouse from one of 'the Dissenting congregations', situated near the mine.

The first headteacher, although 'of considerable talent as a preacher and orator, was a very bad character, whom the Company subsequently dismissed'. His successor, a very young man, was an untrained teacher. The pupils were drawn from the miners' families, and the children 'of the captains and Superintendents of the Works, who were all Cornish men, and consequently the first class consisted chiefly of English children'. 6 The master received a salary of £10 per annum besides school fees. 'Mr. Fossett, the intelligent Agent of the Company, was desirous of improving the school, and of rendering the master efficient by sending him to be trained, but wished to see what the Government would do'. 7

  • 1. 1847 Reports, Part 2, p. 31.
  • 2. 1847 Reports, Parochial Returns of schools, Part 2, p. 173.
  • 3. Ysbyty Ystwyth School Deeds, Education Office, Aberystwyth.
  • 4. Francis, A. History of the Cardiganshire Mines, p. 49.
  • 5. 1847 Reports, Part 2, p. 37. 
  • 6. ibid, p. 158. 
  • 7. ibid.

The description of local conditions and the remuneration of the schoolmaster given by two different people revealed some discrepancies. The Commissioner maintained that the yield of the lead and silver mines was very large, that the works were carried on without intermission, and that the people, as well as the proprietors were very prosperous, but inconceivably ignorant. The Reverend Owen Owen, a local resident stated that the people were poor, and that the schoolmaster could not be expected to be efficient in return for what he received as his remuneration. He said that most of the schoolmasters received gratuities in the form of food mainly, from the farmers and shopkeepers, 'who paid in kind for trifling services, and not infrequently for teaching their sons to read, cipher or write'. 1 The total income of the Goginan schoolmaster was £28---receiving only £10 from the Mining Company, and his comment to the Commissioner was 'I give them quite as much instruction as they give me payment for'. 2

In 1877, the Goginan land was bought for the Melindwr School Board, and the school passed into the hands of the local School Board. 3

It is uncertain whether a school was provided by the Leadmining company at Rhandirmwyn, Carmarthenshire, but it is worthy of note that the one hundred and eighty workers at the leadmines were enthusiastic enough to remunerate a schoolmaster to teach their thirty children who 'cleaned the ores at the works'. 4

In North Wales, a small school had a brief existence in Llandudno in connection with either the Gloddaith Lead mines or the Great Orme Copper mines. 5  Dr. John Prichard, the Baptist minister related:

'pan oeddwn o bedair-ar-ddeg i bymtheng mlwydd oed, daeth ysgol Saesoneg i Landudno, yr hon a gynhelid gan mwyaf gan berchenogion y gwaith mwn. Cefais yma ddechrau dysgu y Saesoneg; weithiau bod yn yr ysgol drwy y dydd, ac weithiau yn y prydnawnau wedi y deuwn oddiwrth fy 'stems' o'r mwnglawdd---dim yn gyson. Cyn ymadawiad John Rees, athraw yr ysgol, gallwn ddarllen ychydig yn y Beibl, ac ysgrifennu rhywfaint. Yn y flwyddyn 1811, yn ol a allaf gofio, ymadawodd John Rees a Llandudno, a chydag ef bob gobaith i mi am ychwaneg o ysgol'. 6


University College, Cardiff.


  • 1. 1847 Reports, Part 2, p. 31.  
  • 2. ibid.
  • 3. Goginan School Deeds, Education Offices, Aberystwyth.
  • 4. 1847 Reports, Parochial Returns, Carmarthenshire, Part 1, p. 225: Parish of Cilycwm:---The mining district of Rhandirmwyn, near Llandovery. There are employed in the Lead Mines: 180 men, and 30 boys and girls cleaning ores.... their education has been greatly neglected, in consequence of which they have no taste for reading any books or newspapers.... except the Bible. The inhabitants have tried to get education by subscribing a small sum to remunerate an inefficient schoolmaster to teach the children the rudiments of learning, without which they would be wholly unprovided'.
  • 5. Davies, Owen (Parch): Cofiant y Parch. Dr. Prichard, Llangollen. Caernarfon, 1880, Swyddfa 'Y Genedl Gymreig'. The reference in this book is 'gwaith mwn'---and also 'mwnglawdd" (ore, metal. or mineral mine). The two mines at Llandudno were the Great Orme and Gloddaith.
  • 6. 'When I was from 14 to 15 years of age, an English school came to Llandudno, maintained mainly by the proprietors of the mine. Here I started to learn English; sometimes I attended school all day sometimes in the afternoons having returned from my 'stems' in the mine---but not regularly. Before John Rees, the schoolmaster left, I could read the Bible a little, and also write a little. In 1811, so far as I recollect, John Rees left Llandudno, and his departure meant no more schooling for me.' ibid, p. 14.


Kilvey Juvenile Works school (Copperworks)  1

Established 1806. Promoters: The White Rock (Messrs. Freeman and Co.; and Upper Rock, Messrs. Grenfell and Co.) Copper Companies.

Indifferent buildings; no outbuildings. 15 feet high, area 26#17. Insufficient furniture and apparatus in bad repair.

36 on books, 9 for less than one year; 15, from one to two years; 7, two to three years; 4 remain from 3 to 4 years.

Under five years: nil; 5 to 10: 2 girls, 24 boys; over 10, 1 girl and 9 boys.

Average attendance in last year: 14 girls, 36 boys. Monitorial; 5 monitors. Religious instruction by teacher. Visited by minister and promoter. English books only; Welsh spoken to explain.

Master's age: 75. Started at 34. Mason previously.

Salary: £31-4-0. House and coals.

1d. per week stopped from the men's wages.


Kilvey Infants (Copperworks) school   2

Not connected with a religious organisation.

Established 1839. Promoters as before.

Tenancy at will. Good building, insufficient outbuildings, but good. 15 feet high, 30#53.

Sufficient furniture and apparatus in good repair.

200 on books. No admission book kept. Under 5 years: 35 girls, 29 boys. 5 to 10 years: 96 girls, 45 boys. Over 10 years: 5 girls. No Boys.

Average attendance in last year: 90 girls, 50 boys.

No curriculum given. Religious instruction by teacher. Visited by minister and promoter.

English books only. Welsh spoken to explain English books.

Master's age: 25. Trained at Grays Inn Road Model School, 6 months in 1841 ; and at Norwood

6 weeks, 1841.

Commenced teaching at 19. Compositor before.

Salary £60. No school pence. House and coals.

1d. per week from each workman of White Rock, Upper Rock, and Middle Bank Copperworks.


Commissioners Report on the Kilvey Infants and Juvenile Copperworks schools   3

These schools are supported by stoppages upon the wages of the men employed in the copperworks of Messrs Grenfell and Sons, and Messrs. Freeman and Co. The cost of accommodation is borne by the employers.


  • 1. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 330.
  • 2. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 330.
  • 3. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 331.


Mr. Grenfell told me that he had it in contemplation, after a time (he had but recently resided in the neighbourhood), to admit no young people into his works who could not read and write, or at least to make such, at extra hours, attend school. Just before my visit, five young men in his employ, aged from 18 to 22 years, had all signed an agreement, respecting their work, with marks.

Infant school:

I visited this school on the 17th February. The building is commodious and furnished in the usual manner. The site was given by Messrs. Freeman and Co. and the cost of erection defrayed by Messrs. Grenfell and Sons.

I heard a gallery lesson given. There was a stand with a frame into which prints could be fixed. Each Scriptural lesson was illustrated by a Scriptural print.

The girls were much older than the boys: the latter were drafted off into the juvenile school. There is no similar school for girls. They sew with the mistress in the afternoons, and members of Mr. Grenfell's family attend twice per week to teach them writing. Beyond this their daily instruction is confined to the routine of the infants' school. Almost all the answers came from the girls. Among others they repeated the number of miles which the sun is distant from the earth, etc. This school appeared to be efficiently conducted.

Juvenile school:

I visited this school on the 17th February. It is held in a dingy, dilapidated building. I found the old master (a mason disabled 41 years ago) sitting stick in hand. The 12 senior boys present were reading the Epistle of St. James.

The writing was middling. The books were not very clean. The master complained that the children could not come early in the morning, because they had to take their parent's breakfast to the works, and that they were removed at a very early age from school.

A list of attendance is sent in weekly to the Companies whose workmen support the school.


Summary of Kilvey Copperworks Schools, 1858-1894 Category:-British School.

1858-59 Grants of £73 for the augmentation of the salaries and pensions of certificated teachers. £38-2-0 grant for pupil teachers. £10 grant for books and apparatus.  1

1865-66 Average attendance: 326 in day school; 42 in evening classes. Annual grant: £212-1-8.  2

1867    Average attendance: 333 in day school; 51 in evening classes.  3

1868    Special comment in the Inspector' Report on its non-denominational character and excellence of schools. 4

1877    Average attendance: 448; Annual grant: £301-17-0. Two school Boards 'advancing in Swansea, but not complete'. 5


  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1858-59: Reports on British schools by J. Bowstead.
  • 2. Ibid, 1865, Report by B. J. Binns.
  • 3. ibid, 1867, p. 669.  
  • 4. ibid, 1868-9, p. 280. 
  • 5. ibid, 1877-78, p. 453.


1882    Accommodation for 608. Average attendance: 486. Annual grant: £354-4-0.  1

1888    Due mainly to the works schools, no accommodation problem at Swansea.  2

1889    Accommodation: 649. Average attendance: 537 at day school (Grant £477-6-9. Evening school: 65 (Grant £32-8-0).  3

1894    Listed as Board School. Accommodation, 842. Average attendance, 634. Grant: £536-10-6.  4

1897 'After considerable delay, the School Board of Swansea has settled down in earnest, not only to meet the demands of a growing population, but also to substitute new and improved buildings for old ones unsuitable and condemned. New schools will be built, especially at St. Thomas, to contain 1,200 scholars and to supply the place of the old Kilvey Copperworks schools, which when opened at the beginning of the century were thought to be equal to anything of the kind in the country. 5


St. John's Swansea - Hafod Copperworks School   6

Established 1847. Promoter: J. H. Vivian, Esq., M.P., Singleton Hall, Near Swansea.

Tenancy at will. Good buildings; sufficient outbuildings in good condition, 20 feet high; 60 x 30 feet.

Sufficient furniture and apparatus in good repair.

119 on books. Newly opened school. 119 stay for less than one year.

Under 5 years, nil; 5 to 10 years, 41 girls, 50 boys. Over 10 years, 13 girls 15 boys.

Monitorial, 20 monitors.

No religious instruction. Subjects include reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography, history.

Religious instruction by teacher(?)

English books only; English grammar.

Master aged 19. Trained at Borough Road for 6 months in 1846. Started teaching at 19. Joiner before.

Salary £85, with house, coal, and candles.

1d. per week from men, and 1/2 d. from the children employed at the Hafod Works.


Hundred of Swansea. Parish of St. John's, near Swansea  7

This parish includes the northern suburbs of Swansea, and extends up the eastern bank of the Tawe (opposite to Llansamlet on the western) until it joins the parish of Llangyfelach. The aspect of it differs little from Llansamlet. The principal feature in it is the Copperworks at Hafod, belonging to J. H. Vivian, Esq., M.P. His agent informed me that about 500 persons were employed in them of all ages and sexes, of which number 100 might be children, and 30 women.


  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1882, p. 776.
  • 2. ibid for 1889, p. 691.
  • 3. ibid, 1890 p. 455.    
  • 4. ibid, 1895, p. 1084.  
  • 5. ibid, 1898, Mr. Monro's Report, p. 289.
  • 6. 1847 Reports, Part 1, pp. 74-7.
  • 7. 1847 Reports, Part 1, pp. 359-60.


No boy was then employed who was under 12 years of age. As to wages, calciners were getting 14/- or 15/-; furnacemen, 21/- to 25/-, and occasionally 30/- (extra hours) per week, besides fuel gratis and a two-room cottage built by Mr. Vivian, at 1/4 per week. As a class they were not intemperate, but improvident, relying on constant employment. They were mostly Welsh, with few English or Irish among them. The Agent recollected no instance of a man who had risen from a workman to be a clerk; he considered them better off than any other class of workmen in the kingdom. The district was not unhealthy.

The Copperworks school is maintained by each man's wages being stopped 1d. per week, for which he has the privilege of sending all his children (however many) to school. In general, they were apathetic about education. The only intellectual resource of the adult population is the chapel, whether used for preaching or a Sunday school: such as do not frequent the chapel pass their leisure time in the beer-house. They are all Dissenters. A great improvement was said to have taken place in the manners of the district. This was attributed to the Sunday schools: they were introduced about 27 years ago: at that time the population was left wholly without spiritual care. I took down verbatim the following statement from a sort of clerk or overseer, apparently a man of 50 or 60 years old:

'At that time an Independent minister came to look after us---if he had been Baptist, Churchman, or anyone else to have drawn the net, he would have had us all'.

The present excellent and conspicious building has been erected at the expense of J. H. Vivian, Esq., M.P., and other rooms are about to be built in a short time for the separate accommodation of girls and infants. The present room has a floor sloping upward from the dais, on which stands the master's desk. The parallel desks are divided down the centre by a partition, so that when the children are in the desks, either to write or receive simultaneous instruction, the boys and girls are separated. When the school is in drafts, they occupy opposite sides of the room.

The master, who appeared a superior man, had arrived only the day before my visit, and was wholly engaged in the process of organisation. Indeed, the carpenters were still at work, and the apparatus not fixed.


Report by Joseph Fletcher, H.M.I. on the Hafod Schools, 1848   1

5th June, 1848: Hafod, Swansea, British School. Boys: 185; Girls: 167; Infants, 202.

These schools have been raised and are maintained on a scale of the greatest munificence, chiefly for the children of the men employed in the neighbouring copperworks, by J. H. Vivian, Esq., M.P., on the principles, with regard to religious instruction, of the British and Foreign School Society, viz. that the authorised version of the Scriptures but no catechism shall daily be used in the instruction of the children. The boys' and girls' schools are under teachers trained by that Society, and the Infants' school under a female teacher trained by the Home and Colonial Infant school Society. The boys' school has not made during the past year the progress that could have been desired, although reading, without spelling and interrogation, is taught mechanically on the text of Scripture cards in the lower part of the school, which likewise receives a course of excellent collective secular lessons, as well as lessons in elementary arithmetic, devised by the master, and given chiefly by a pupil teacher, paid by the patron, though sometimes also by the master himself. In all, except these secular lessons, the school is not above the average, and in several important particulars is below it.

The writing is in good style, and the arithmetic on a good system: but for want of a spirit of accuracy, of neatness, and I think, also of duty, the results are inferior. Again the interrogatory exercises upon the draft reading lessons, entirely ommitted in the lower part of the school, are conducted in a spirit of offhand indolence and inaccuracy in the upper: and as this is a most important part of the training of the upper body of the school, the defects which hence arise, combined with a ..............

  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, General Report for 1848-9, by Joseph Fletcher, H.M.I. on British and Denominational Schools. Appendix.

 .................. general looseness in the reading exercises, entail an unclearness in the reading of the master's own class, and a want of alert and dutiful correctness in it, which is inconsistent, after every possible allowance, with his own attainments and abilities, and with the amplitude of the means placed at his disposal. Even the express intellectual culture of the lower half of the school is very defective, in being totally dissevered from the reading lessons, except at the brief visits of the master to each draft, and the effect throughout is a want of that order in the operations and coherence in the results, for the exhibition of which the school offers a very favourable opportunity.

The general plan of the girls school is similar to that of the boys', and the lowest section appears to take part in the secular gallery lessons given to the lowest section of the school. Some of the monitors were working at spelling exceedingly well, writing the words down on the blackboard as they were orally spelt, if any difficulty arose: but the methods generally were not such as to secure a real collectiveness of attention, as they ran into individual instruction on the one hand, or simultaneous answering on the other, where interrogation was at all practised, in the few upper drafts. As a whole, therefore, while this school has made a much greater progress in cleanliness, neatness, order, and general tone than the boys', it shows an analogous want of a consistent and pervading correctness in the attainments of the children, as far as they have gone, and of a more vigorous cultivation of the habits by which alone it can be attained.

The Infant School is in a condition of neatness, order, discipline, and complete organisation, which under the circumstances of a rude neighbourhood, in which the vernacular tongue is almost wholly Welsh, is very creditable to its matron teacher; whose large gallery, however, contains too great a number for her to keep the whole in effective operation, learning at once to use the English language as well as their own faculties, as they must.

To meet this deficiency, she requires several pupil teachers or a select double set of paid monitors from the girls' school, to enable her to have at work several sections between that of the babies and the one held by herself for collective instruction, which, by this means, would always be kept to a moderate number.


Report on Hafod Copperworks Schools , for 1850-51, by Joseph Fletcher, H.M.I.

Hafod Copperworks, Swansea. Inspected, 10th Sept. 1850.

Excerpts from Report:

185 boys; 167 girls; 202 infants.

Boys' School: British; good furniture. Books and apparatus good. Monitorial organisation, good. Good discipline. Good methods. Zealous and qualified teachers.

Girls' School: ditto.

Infants School: One large gallery, and numerous forms. A second smaller gallery required. A fairly qualified matron.

This school supported entirely by Messrs. Vivian, has changed teachers since my last visit, and is now in thoroughly sound condition, as a monitorial school on the general plans of the British and Foreign School Society, with an enlarged top class, well grounded by the master himself. The organisation, plans, methods, etc. of the school are all good, but require to be carried out with greater energy and completeness than is exhibited by the mere boy-monitors employed under the teacher, and yet the progress recently made in the habits, manners, language, and intelligence of the children, is, under the circumstances, quite satisfactory.


  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, for the year 1850. Joseph Fletcher's Report on British, Wesleyan, and other Denominational Schools.


The girls' school also has changed teachers, but with far less happy results: for though it is in good mechanical order, while under the general command of its teacher, the methods pursued in its classes are so defective as to sustain the attention imperfectly to a very moderate course of instruction; while the general tone of the management is harsh and repulsive.

The infant school, which retains its former teacher, has made excellent progress in English, order, and cleanliness, and wants only a little adult or adolescent assistance to make its sectional teaching thoroughly good in three different portions, and become an exemplary institution. Its success is already sufficient to decide the value of this class of schools in the struggle against the peculiar difficulties of language especially, which lie in the way of the instruction of the poorer classes in Wales.


Hafod Copperworks School, Swansea. Note by W. G. Williams, (one of the teachers at Hafod Council School, 1933), on the first page of an old register of the school).

Note: Some of these details are not correct, e.g. the statement that the children did not pay school pence.

1. When this school was first opened, and for quite 40 years afterwards, children of parents who worked under Messrs. Vivian and Sons had preference over other children as regards admission. Children of parents employed by Vivian did not pay school money, as their parents paid a certain small sum through wage deductions. For these reasons it was necessary to keep separate 'Admission Registers'. This admission register was used for 'Works' children as they were called, and children admitted to the school, whose parents were not employed under Vivian were entered into another 'Admission Register'.

2. When, however, all elementary education became free, the differentiation between such children ceased, and this admission register was discontinued. Thus this register contains the names of Works children from 1854 to 1894. From 1894, to the opening of the new Hafod schools, all children were placed on the same register.

3. The Hafod Copperworks school was first opened on the 11th February, 1847, but it appears from other sources of information that such books as admission registers were not used. This will account for the first name on the register being entered in 1852.

4. This book was found among some rubbish in the old school building, and returned to the Hafod Council school by one of the teachers, namely, W. G. Williams, who has entered these notes for the guidance of others.

June 1933.




Date of Entry / From what school / No. / Name / Age / Residence / Father's No. in Works Register / Class on Entering / Class on Leaving / Date of Leaving / Remarks
-/   -/ 1/ Walter Hogg/14/ Trevivian/19/  -/    -/    -/  Very good boy


  • 1. Admission Register, Hafod Copperworks school. The above notes appear on the inside of the cover page.


1.Some remarks in the last column included: Father in silver works; Uncle in silver works; Father in Spelter works; Father in lead works, etc.

2. The ages of admission varied from 6 to 14 years.

3. For the years 1852-1860 the records were poorly kept. Most of the pupils left to work in one of Vivian's works.

4. Children came up from the Infants school at 7 years of age.




To: Mr. CARR, Headmaster

From: W. MORGAN,
Vivian and Sons,
Hafod Sulphuric Acid Works,
July 27th, 1855.

Please admit William Henry, and Albert Hughes, children of
Samuel Solt, to the Boys' Schools, and pass Jane, daughter of
the above into the Infant School.



Excerpts from Hafod Copperworks School, Logbook, 1863-1900

Note. --- For most days, the phrase 'ordinary progress' appeared as the comments for the day.


Page 1. June 1st: The pupil teachers all in good time this morning: a full school, 156 boys present, and I think a good day's work done.  J. M. Carr, Headmaster.

Page 2. June 10th: A boy named Fudge left school today to work in the Tinworks, Landore. Age: 9 years.

Page 3. July 1st: pupil teachers left school for an hour or two in order to get their money from Post Office.

Page 4. July 2nd: Few children in school today because of the Swansea Wool Fair.

Page 5. August 10th: Swansea Boat Races. Very few children present.

Page 6. August 20th: Mrs. Vivian and Mr. Graham Vivian, visited the school today.

Page 6. Sept. 3rd: Very wet morning; new supply of books and slates from Borough Road, London.


  • 1. Admission Register, Hafod Copperworks Schools.
  • 2. Hafod Copperworks School Logbook.


Page 7. Sept. 10th.     Mrs. Vivian visited the school.
            Sept. 16th.                            do.

Page 10.  Oct. 13th.  Mrs. Hussey Vivian visited the school this evening: 175 boys present.
               Note.---Mrs. Vivian seemed to visit the school weekly, and always listened to reading and dictation lessons.

Page 24.   1864. Average attendance for past year: 152.
                           No. presented for examination : 114.
                           Amount of Grant for boys' school: £73-1-4.

Page 25.   The school establishment consists of:
                 1.      John M. Carr, Certificated Master, Headteacher. 
                 2.      Gethyn Davies, pupil teacher close of 4th year.
                 3.      David Morgan,    do.     do.     1st year
                 4.      John Jenkins,       do.     do.     1st year.
                                                                         Joseph Bowstead, H.M.I. 20/6/64.

Page 102. 1867: School Report for 1867: 'As a school connected with Works, this Department has
                           many good points and is satisfactory on the whole. But the boys ought to do their work
                           more accurately, especially in ciphering'.

                                    Total amount of grant for 1866: £266-1-6
                                                             do.    for 1867: £293-18-6.
                                                             Increase;             £27-17-0
                 School Establishment: John Carr, and four pupil teachers.

Page 172. 1870: An evening class of 39 young men has passed a creditable examination.

Page 226. 1874: School Establishment: John Carr, 1st class Cert.
                                                               J. John. Asst. 3rd Class Cert.
                                                               6 Pupil teachers.



Summary of Hafod Copperworks Schools, Swansea, 1846 - 1894

Year            No. on Books            Average weekly Attendance       Government Grants
1846                  350                              Not given                                        -   1
1848                  316                                  223                                             -   2
1850                  554                              Not given                                        -   3
1854   Schools received £97 grant for Pupil Teachers, but no building grant.  4
1855  £140-10-0 for Pupil Teachers and gratuities to teachers for instructing them.  5


  • 1. Jones, G. J. ibid.
  • 2. Minutes of Committee of Council, Vol. II, 1847-8: Appendix to Mr. Fletcher's General Report.
  • 3. ibid, 1850-1: Tabulated Reports for 1850 by J. Fletcher.
  • 4. ibid, General Report on Schools aided by grants, 1854, p. 250.
  • 5. ibid, 1854-5: Detailed statement of grants, Wales, 1855.


Year            No. on Books            Average weekly Attendance       Government Grants
1865              Not given                       521 (day) 38 (evening)             £266-16-3  1
1873    Boys      361
           Girls       341
           Infants     476
           Total     1178                                    Not given                           Not given   2
1877               Not given                                   809                               £585-18-0  3
1882                1,038                                        787                               £662-7-0    4
1889                1,042                                        923                               £882-4-0    5
1894                1,114                                        889                               £860-4-0    6
1898    Schools taken over by Swansea School Board.  7


Summary of Llanelly Copperworks Schools, 1847-1894

Year            No. on Books        Average weekly Attendance         No. present at examination
1847                 223                                      160                                            150   8
1848                 150 boys; 100 
                         girls & infants                  Not given                                Not given 9
1850                 120 boys; 80
                        girls & infants                            do.                                        do.   10
1852                 164 boys; 68 girls                     do.                                        do.   11
1854 (No statistics of pupils, but a £91-13-4 grant for Certif. teachers, and £284 for pupil teachers.)  12
1858                 393 boys & girls                 219                                       Not given 13
1864                 265 boys                          Not given                                       do.   14
1865                Not given                             352 boys and girls                      do.   15
1867                Not given                             366                                             do.   16


  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1865-6: Tabulated Reports of Wales, Rev. B. J. Binns, M.A.
  • 2. Parliamentary Papers, Vol. LIX, 1873, p. 410.
  • 3. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1877-8, Tables for Glamorgan by B. J. Binns.
  • 4. ibid, 1882: Tabulated Reports, p. 776.
  • 5. ibid, 1889: Tabulated Reports, Part IV, Appendix, p. 691.
  • 6. ibid, 1894: Tabulated Reports, p. 289.
  • 7. Vivian Collection, MSS and Papers, 1840-1923, D/DGV, 36, Glamorgan County Council Record Office, Cardiff.
  • 8. Minutes of Committee of Council, Vol. II, 1847-8, Appendix p. 298.
  • 9. ibid for 1848-9: Appendix, Report for June 11th, 1848.
  • 10. ibid for 1850-1: Tabulated Reports by J. Fletcher, 11 September, 1850.
  • 11. ibid for 1852: Report by Mathew Arnold on Midland District.
  • 12. ibid for 1854: General Report by H. Longueville Jones, p. 250.
  • 13. Return to an Address of the House of Commons, 25th July, 1861: printed, 28th April, 1862. Letter from R. Goring Thomas, Esq. Junr. to the Secretary of the Committee of Council on Education, l0th July, 1858 (written from Iscoed, Kidwelly).
  • 14. Llanelly Guardian, November 3, 1864. Letter from J. E. Jones, Headmaster.
  • 15. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1865, Report by B. J. Binns, Carmarthenshire.
  • 16 ibid, 1867, p. 669.


Year            No. on Books        Average weekly Attendance         No. present at examination
1871-2          Not given                           491 (Average)                           636  1
1874                 do.                                  535 ,,                                         605  2
1877-8              do.                                  589 ,,                                   Not given  3
1880                699 (accom.)                    625 ,,                                          do.  4
1882                740 ,,                                721 ,,                                          do.  5
1885                723 ,,                                730 ,,                                          do.  6
1889                741 ,,                                741                                             do.  7
1890                741 ,,                                733                                             do.  8
1894                741 ,,                                743                                             do.  9



Excerpts from Inspectors Annual Reports on the Llanelly Copperworks schools for 1850 and 1852

11th September 1850: Inspected by Joseph Fletcher, H.M.I.

Boys: 120. Pupil Teachers: 3. Girls and Infants: 80, P. T.  1.

Since my last visit to these schools built and supported on a liberal scale by Messrs. Nevill, thc master of the former has been for 2 months at the Church Normal School at Carmarthen and there obtained his certificate: and an entire change appears to have come over the spirit of his work, which is now carried on in the best tone and with equal vigour throughout the school, alternately in monitorial drafts and in three large sections of nearly equal numbers and progress: the former for the more and the latter for the less technical branches of instruction.

I can have no hesitation therefore in recommending this school for pupil teacher training. 10


Llanelly Copperworks, Boys. 128. Desks and furniture modified for collective teaching and good; books and apparatus good; Organisation in three sections for collective and small classes for monitorial instruction. Good. Methods good. Certificated teacher, zealous and improving. This school has made a very satisfactory year's progress, and the improved neatness, intelligence, and general ability of the children are very obvious. The writing may yet be made an occasion of cultivating habits of superior nicety of hand, etc., yet the school in its present condition is a model for the surrounding districts.

Llanelly Copperworks, Girls. 85. Details as above boys'. Methods fair; Mistress improving though little trained. This school has undergone a change of teachers in the course of the year. It is in excellent discipline and tone and shows great progress in the neatness and improved demeanours of the children. Its class methods want more vigour however; and the present teacher, if she enjoyed some opportunities of training, would be qualified to supply the deficiency  11

  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1874: Appendix, Table D, p. 139.
  • 2. ibid.
  • 3. ibid, 1877-8. 
  • 4. ibid, 1880, p. 732.   
  • 5. ibid, 1882, p. 770.
  • 6. ibid, 1885, p. 631.   
  • 7. ibid for 1889 p. 678.
  • 8. ibid for 1890: List of schools aided by grants, Appendix, Part IV.
  • 9. ibid for 1894: p. 1076.
  • 10. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1850-1: General Report for the year 1850, by Joseph Fletcher, H.M.I. on British, Wesleyan, and other Denominational Schools.
  • 11. ibid for 1852-3.



Pupil Teacher Agreement Form   1


Charles Wm. Nevill, Esq., of Westfa, and William Henry Nevill, Esq., of Llangennech, and John Evans of Marine Street, Llanelly, hereinafter called the Managers, on behalf of the Managers of the Llanelly Copperworks British School,


Thomas Jones of Railway Terrace, Llanelly, the father of Thomas J. Jones, hereinafter called the Pupil Teacher
Receives £10 per annum 1st year, and increased by £2-10-0 per annum each subsequent year.
Period of engagement (serving under a Certificated Teacher): 1868-1873.




Statement of Accounts for the year 1864

1864         Income                                                                                               Totals

                School Pence                Govt. Grant            Other Sources 

Boys        £112-9-14
Girls            62-0-8
Infants         53-15-3
Total        £228-5-01/2                    £190-17-2                £92-10-11/2                £511-7-4


       Salary of  teachers     Salary of Assts.    Bks. & App     Fuel &c.   Repairs   Rent    Other Exes.   Total
£                           £                           £                    £                £         £                 £            £
Boys     126-5-0                    107-9-7                 17-6-9          6-0-0        1-18-0    8-15-0      4-12-3    272-6-7
Girls      64-0-0                      30-15-3                 8-18-0         3-9-0        1-0-2      4-7-0        2-6-2      114-15-7
Infants    45-16-8                    58-18-7                 8-8-10         3-9-0        0-19-0    4-7-0        2-6-1      124-5-2

Total   £236-1-8                  £197-3-5              £34-13-7     £12-18-0    £3-17-2   £17-9-0    £9-4-6    £511-7-4



Excerpts from the Diary or Logbook of Llanelly Copperworks School, Two volumes: August 25, 1862-June 6, 1783; and June 9, 1873-November 4, 1910.

Vol. I.  1862-1873.

August, 1862, Summary of Inspector's Report: 'Reading, writing and arithmetic, and all the ordinary subjects are admirably taught in this school. It is more numerously attended than heretofore, and in every respect highly efficient and successful'.


  • 1. Nevill MSS., 516, N.L.W.
  • 2. Llanelly Copperworks Schools, Miscellaneous Papers and Account Sheets: Llanelly Public Library.


August 3rd, 1863: School examined under the Revised Code by S. Joyce, Esq., H.M.I. David Williams Headteacher.

Sept. 14th, 1863: John E. Jones, succeeded Mr. David Williams as Headmaster. School full.

Dec. 23rd, 1864: Scriptural examination conducted by C. W. Nevill, W. Morgan, H. Hammond, and the Master.

Vol. II. June 9, 1873.

School fairly full. The half-timers (under the Factory Act) coming to school so irregularly were required to pay a full fee of 8d. per week.

May 18th, 1874: School full. Mr. John Dodd, ex pupil teacher of the Bryndu Colliery School, Glamorgan, came to act as an Assistant Master.

Jan. 17th, 1876: Total children in Boys' school: 289. Paying  8d.: 1;   6d. 4;   4d. 120;   3d. 118;  21/2d. 15; 2d. 25;  1d. 6. Free---none. Total, 289.

22nd Oct. 1878: Sent list of irregular children of parents working at Copperworks and lead works to C. W. Nevill, Esq., with a view of getting the workmen to send them more regularly.

30th March, 1882: Pupil teachers and candidates receive their stipends at the Copperworks Office.




Tabulated Returns of Statistics calculated on measurements taken by Mr. Moseley, H.M.I, June, 1871.


Area Principal Room and  Classroom

Max. Attend. allowed for 8 sq. f t. per child

Cubical cont. of Principal Room

Max. Attend. permitted at 80 c. f. per child

Last year's aver. attend

Last quarter's aver. attend. on July 28


1687  5/6







1055  25/72


12,950   7/27





1107  1/4


12,925  11/12







Scale of Salaries

Boys' School.

1. W. D. Smith, Headmaster. Particulars of qualifications, length of service, and former salary already given. £75 p.a.
2. Tudor J. Thomas, assistant,                           do.      do.                                          £69 to 1st Sept., £74 from.


  • 1. Llanelly Copperworks Schools, Miscellaneous Papers, and Accounts. Llanelly Public Library.
  • 2. ibid.


3. Rees G. Thomas,                      do.     do.                          £42 to 1st Sept., £52 from.
4. David Evans, and Joseph James, Pupil teachers to be at £13, £16, £19, £22, for each year of service respectively. Pupil     Teachers in 2nd year had been paid by Nevill, Druce, and Co., to March 31st, at £15 per annum.
5. Thomas Francis was a candidate for P.T., has now left paid at £5 p.a. to 31st March---left 13th October.
6. Wm. E. Davies is a candidate for P.T. as above.
7. Wm. E. Rowlands,     do.      from October 13th.

Girls' School.

1. Sarah A. Samuel. Certificated Assistant, not trained took 2nd year papers, Christmas, 1890 passed 2nd class, 3rd     Division. Had her parchment Feb. 1893. Been in service 7 years. Present rate £45 p.a. to be £50 from Sept. 1st.
2. Andrena M. Davies, Assistant, 2nd Class Queen's Scholarship, 1890. Been assistant 3 years, present rate £30 p.a. £42     from 1st Sept.
3. Mary A. John, assistant, passed 3rd class scholarship, 1892, to be at £40 p.a.
4. Sarah Davies, P.T. in third year, from Feb. 1st, paid by Nevill, Druce and Co., at rate of £14 p.a. £15 as from March     31st.
5. Sarah J. Phillips, P.T. in second year, from Feb. 1st. paid by Nevill, Druce and Co., at rate of £12 p.a. To be £13 p.a.
6. Annie J. Morgan, P.T. in 1st year, from Feb. 1st, paid by Nevill, Druce and Co., at £10 p.a. to be £11.
7. Helena Jones,                  do.                do.               do.


1. Ellen Belt, Cert. Asst. untrained, cert. exam. Xmas, 1888. 3rd class 2nd Div. Parchment, Feb. 1891. Asst. from Aug. 1888. to be £50 from 1st Sept.
2. Rose Thomas, asst. 4 years, not passed Queen's scholarship. £40 from 1st Sept.
3. Margretta Evans, P.T. in fourth year from 1st Feb., paid by Nevill, Druce and Co., to be £17.
4. Annie Morris, P.T. in 3rd year as Sarah Davies above, £15.
5. Annie Vaughan as S. J. Phillips, above, £13.
6. Mary Hallam, candidate for P.T. from June 19th, 1893.
7. Kate Evans,                    do.




Place where the Works & schools are established

Name of Proprietor

School rooms, size of in feet

Total cost buildings  incl. teachers' houses

Amount given by Privy Council or any other body

Pembrey, Near  Llanelly    

Messrs. Mason & Elkington 

Boys 62 x 20.Girls do. Infants:30 x 24




  • 1. Reports from Commissioners, Inspectors of Factories, 1868-9, p. 232.


Average annual cost of schools to the proprietor: £270.

The parents are at perfect liberty to send them to school or not.

Has the principle of a small tax on workmen's wages for educational purposes been at any time adopted? Yes, but now abandoned.

Is any kind of preference given to children who have been educated in the school in supplying vacancies in the works, or after they have obtained employment? No.

How long have the schools been opened? 13 years (i.e. 1855).

Are the rules of the schools regarding regularity of attendance and cleanliness, etc., enforced? Yes.

Does the school provide slates, books, etc., or do the parents supply them? The school.

How many children attend whose fathers earn less than £1 per week? Cannot say.

Are any scholars free? How many and under what circumstances?  1.

Teachers' Grade of Certificate: Boys: 3rd; Girls: 3rd; Infants: 3rd.

Fees paid by children of workpeople: Boys: 2d. and 1d.; Girls, 2d. and 1d.; Infants, 1d.; Evening, 0.

Fees paid by children of other people: Boys: 3d. and 2d.; Girls, do. Infants: 11/2d. and 1d. Evening: 0.

Number of children of workpeople in school: Boys, 69; girls, 86, infants 59. Other people: boys, 94; girls, 97; infants, 74.

Average age of children in various classes: 10 years.

No one working under the half-time system attends the schools.




Description of schools by the Rev. H. Evans, Independent Minister, present at opening:

Penbre, Sir Gaerfyrddin. Ymgasglodd tyrfa luosog yn y lle uchod ar yr achlysur o agoriad ty-ysgol newydd a hardd wedi ei adeiladu gan Mason ac Elkington, Ysweiniaid, yn hollol ar eu traul eu hunain, ac yr ydym yn sicr ei fod yn un o'r adeiladau mwyaf ardderchog adnabyddus yng Nghymru.

Ei fesuriad: 63 x 40 o droedfeddi o fewn i'r muriau. Y mae wedi  ei addurno a'r paentwaith harddaf, ac a'r darluniau (maps) o'r fath orau ... a chyflawnder o lyfrau o bob dosbarth ... anghenrheidiol i blant ddysgu darllen, rhifyddiaeth, celfyddyd, a chan. Adeilad yn ddigon helaeth i gynnwys o 400 i 500 o blant.

Y mae y boneddigion hefyd wedi bod mor garedig a darparu ystafell ddarllen (reading-room) yn y pen deheuol i'r adeiladaeth, ac addewid o lyfrgell helaeth a gwerthfawr.

Am 6 o'r gloch y dydd uchod, galwyd ar y gweithwyr a'i gwragedd  gyfranogi o'r wledd a ddarparwyd gan y Cwmni, sef Mason ac Elkington yn hollol ar eu traul eu hunain, pan y cyfranogodd o bedwar i bum cant o de a theisen flasus. Wedi bawb gael eu digoni, agorwyd drws yr ystafell arall perthynol i'r un adeiladaeth, pan y cododd Chas. Williams, Ysw. i fyny, ac y cynygodd Apsley Smith, Ysw., i gymeryd y gadair, ac eiliwyd ef gan y dorf ... rhoddodd gynghorion gwerthfawr hefyd i'w weithwyr, etc.

Yna galwyd ar y canlynol  siarad: Parch. H. Evans (A); Parch. R. Hancock (A. Seisnig); Parch Mr. Morgans (B); J. H. Rees, Cilymaenllwyd, a C. W. Coombs, Gwaith Llestri, Llanelli.


  • 1. Y Diwygiwr, Medi, 1855, Rhif. 242, Cyf. XX, tud. 314.


Mae y gweithwyr a'r ardal yn gyffredin yn teimlo yn wresog iawn at y boneddigion uchod am y dull rhydd a di-bartiaeth sydd yn perthyn i'r ysgol yn ei chychwyniad cyntaf. Nid yw yn perthyn i'r un enwad yn fwy na'r llall. Rhyddid i'r plant fynd i'w capeli ar y Sul, a dim un catechism i'w ddysgu yno.

Y mae gan y perchnogion waith copr eang, gweithiau glo, a gwaith priddfeini. Telir y gweithiwr ag arian bob pythefnos,--- dim 'truck' yma o gwbl.





Average Attendance






£. s. d.




2 -0-9 (Appar. & Books)
68-2-6 (Certif. Teachers)
93-0-0 (Asst. Teachers)
49-6-0 (P.T's.)   1




108-17-4   2




Not given  3

1874 School listed among three of the most efficient schools in the H.M.I.'s District.  4







312-19-0  5




387-12-6  6




395-10-0  7




549-19-1  8



Boys. Church

Established 1830. Promoters: The Margam Copperworks Company.

Resident Director: Hon. Capt. Lindsay, Taibach, Glam.

Tenancy at will. Good building with sufficient outbuildings.


  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1858-9: Report by Rev. H. L. Jones, Tabulated Reports.
  • 2. ibid, 1865-6: General Report by Rev. B. J. Binns, Tabulated Reports.
  • 3. ibid for 1867: p. 670.
  • 4. ibid, 1874: Appendix, Table D. p. 139.
  • 5. ibid for 1882: p. 770.
  • 6. ibid for 1889: General Report by W. Williams on the Welsh Division, p. 679.
  • 7. ibid for 1890: Tabulated Reports, Carmarthenshire.
  • 8. ibid for 1894: Carmarthenshire, p. 1077.
  • 9. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 70.


In good condition. Area: 30 x18.

Insufficient furniture and apparatus in good repair.

140 on books.

Duration of attendance not available.

Under 5: 40 boys. From 5 to 10: 80. Over 10: 20.

Method: Monitorial, with 60 monitors (including girls school).

Subjects: Holy Scriptures; catechism; reading; writing; Rel. Instr. by teacher. Visited by patron. English books only; English grammar.

Master's Age: 30. Starting teaching at 30. Accountant.

Salary: £55, with house, coals, and candles.

Married to mistress in Girls' School.

Stoppage on the men's wages at the Copper works of  4d. per week from those who are married and householders; 1d. per week from unmarried men who are not householders.




Established 1830. Details as for boys' school.

Area 30 x 18. 95 on books. Attendance not ascertained. Under 5 years: 30 girls; from 5 to 10: 30; over 10: 35.

Monitorial. 60 monitors including boys' school.

Subjects: Holy Scriptures; Catechism; reading; writing. Other details as for boys' school.

Age of Mistress: 27; Married woman, joint salary with master of the boys' school. Stoppages as for boys' school.




1861: 150 boys.  2

1877: 'The Margam Copper works infants schools has been enlarged to double its size'.  3


  • 1. 1847 Reports, Part 1, p. 70.
  • 2. 1861 Report, ibid, Vol. II, Appendix E, p. 636.
  • 3. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1877. Reports of schools in Glamorganshire by Rev. B. J. Binns, M.A.


1880: Accommodation 537. Average attendance 404. Annual grant £289-13-8.   1

1890: Accommodation 704. Average attendance 558. Annual grant £488-5-0   2

1894: Accommodation 704. Average attendance 552. Annual grant £474-10-0   3





1854   Grant of £43-15-0 for Pupil teachers. No building grant. 4

1859     do.   5

1866    Average attendance 48   Annual grant: £19-19-6.  6

1867     do        107                    Not given   7

1878     do.       227                    Annual grant £165-9-0   8

1880    Accom. 236     Average Attendance 218      Annual grant £126-14-0  9

1890     do.       312     Average attendance  242                 do.     £211-15-0  10

1894     do.       312                     do.            261                 do.     £228-7-6   11

  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1880: p. 733.
  • 2. ibid for 1890: Tabulated Reports of Schools, Glamorganshire.
  • 3. ibid for 1894: Tabulated Reports of Schools, Glamorganshire, p. 1084.
  • 4. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1854. p. 250.
  • 5. ibid for 1859: Report by J. Bowstead on British Schools.
  • 6. ibid for 1866: Tabulated Reports by Rev. B. J. Binns.
  • 7. ibid for 1867: p. 669.
  • 8. ibid for 1878: Tabulated Reports, Glamorganshire.
  • 9. ibid for 1880: p. 733.
  • 10. ibid for 1890: Tabulated Reports, Glamorganshire.
  • 11. ibid for 1894: Tabulated Reports, Glamorganshire.





1877-78 Average attendance 38. Annual Grant £25-18-0  1

1880   Accommodation for 57. Average attendance 34.  Annual Grant £24-8-0  2

1882  Accommodation for 57. Average attendance 50. Annual Grant £34-10-0  3

  • 1. Minutes of Committee of Council, 1878. Tabulated Reports, Carmarthenshire.
  • 2. ibid for 1880: p. 732.
  • 3. ibid for 1882: p. 770.