Over time we hope to add information on the history of schools in the area. Click on the links below (if there is one) to take you to more details of school’s history:
Adamsdown Board School on Adamsdown Square (CF24 0HS) was the first of the board school to be opened in the area on July 31st 1897. It was later enlarged in April 1897 and by 1901 it could accommodate 888 pupils. It was eventually closed in 1985 and demolished around 1988. The school fronted onto Adamsdown Gardens, built in 1877, on the Adamsdown Estate which was owned by the Marquess of Bute. Adamsdown Gardens was one of the many gardens and squares given to the Cardiff Corporation by the Marquess of Bute. The land is now occupied by Windsor Mews flats.
Albany Road Primary School
Albany Road Board School, now known as Albany Road Primary School (CF24 3RQ) was opened in November 1887. It was constructed on land owned by the Mackintosh Estate and cost £9,579 to build. Almost 300 pupils attended the school when it was first opened but by 1898 the school had been expanded and could accommodate 1643 pupils. When the school first opened it was noted that that the number of pupils not knowing their letters was high but by the end of the first year the school was being congratulated on its work and discipline which were described as excellent. The school was commandeered for use as a military hospital during WWI. The school is still very much open and now called Albany Primary
Bro Edern, previously St Teilo’s CoE High School
Bro Edern Secondary School, Llanedeyrn Road, Cardiff (CF23 9DT) is a Welsh-language secondary school. It was founded in 2012 and for the first academic year shared a site with Glantaf school before moving to this site, the former St Teilo’s Church of England High School. The school is named after the 6th-century prince and Celtic saint who is also remembered in the name Llanedeyrn. The school buildings date back to 1966 when St Teilo’s Church of England school began. St Teilo’s moved to a new building located on the former playing fields of Llanedeyrn High School on Circle Way West in 2013 after the later school closed.
Cardiff High School for Boys
Cardiff High School for Boys, originally known as the Cardiff Intermediate School for Boys, opened in temporary wooden buildings on Newport Road on 20 September 1898 and had its statutory basis in the Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1889. It became known as the Cardiff High School for Boys in 1911. New additional school buildings were approved in 1930, at the same time as the adjacent Merrett’s Bakery and Graham Buildings. In July 1965 the Department of Education and Science compelled all local education authorities to go fully comprehensive. In July 1969 the Cardiff Education Committee decided to ‘cease to maintain’ the Cardiff High Schools, combining them with Ty Celyn School, Llandennis Road, Llanishen to make an 11-15 year comprehensive co-educational school for 1,150 pupils with 250 in the sixth form. Cardiff High Schools for Boys merged with Cardiff High School for Girls in 1970 and over the next three years transferred to Cardiff High School at the Llandennis Avenue site. The original site was eventually sold to fund an extension to Willows High School, although part is still used for educational purposes, being occupied by St Peter’s Roman Catholic School for Boys and later St Peter’s Primary School.
Cardiff High School for Girls
Cardiff High School for Girls in The Parade, Tradegaville, Cardiff (CF24 3AX), was originally called Cardiff Intermediate School for Girls and opened in 1893 in a large ground-floor room at No.28 The Parade. The school moved to the purpose-built premises at 24-28 The Parade in 1900. The first headmistress at the school was Mary Collin, an English teacher and campaigner for woman’s suffrage during the early part of the 20th century. The school remained in The Parade until 1970 when it merged with Cardiff High School for Boys and over the next three years transferred to Cardiff High School at the Llandennis Avenue site. In 1975 the Welsh-medium school Ysgol Bryntaf moved into the Parade buildings who were there till around 1980. The buildings in the Parade have since been occupied by Cardiff and the Vale College and formerly Coleg Glan Hafren.
Crwys Road School
Crwys Road Board School, near the junction with Fanny Street, had a chequered history. It opened in January 1883 and enlarged in 1890. In 1901 it had accommodation for 1255 pupils. It closed in 1939 as an elementary school when it was handed over to the council for war purposes. After the war the building was then refurbished and took on a new identity as the College of Food Technology, which acquired a national reputation even before its move in the late 1960s to new buildings on Colchester Avenue. The school building reverted briefly to a school c.1972, accommodating an overflow from Gladstone Girls’ Secondary Modern, but was demolished in 1973. A Co-op foodstore with offices above and British Heart Foundation charity chop now occupies the site. Its most famous pupil was First World War hero Fred Barter of Daniel Street who won the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at the WWI Battle of Festubert on 17 May 1915. On the 8 July 1915 a reception was held at Crwys Road School for the return of Sergeant Major Barter V.C. from the war. A plaque remembering the former pupils who had fallen in WWI was unveiled by Fred Barter in the 1930s. Tensions appear to have been running high in 1921 when headmistress Miss Wakley protested about her class sizes being 86. She was told her protest was unreasonable and given three months notice. The newspaper archives feature a number of references to former staff including Mrs Tate who is said to have opened the school and Bill Charles who taught there for 42 years.
Howardian Comprehensive School
Howardian Comprehensive School was formed in 1970 as a result of merging Howardian High School for Boys and Lady Margaret High School for Girls which had been on the Colchester Avenue site since 1948 and 1953 respectively (both the girls and the boys schools had previously been situated in Howard Gardens, Adamsdown, and called Howard Gardens High School, the origin of which goes back to 1885).
When Howardian Comprehensive School was formed, a 6th Form Centre was constructed between the two existing school buildings and formed partly out of the boy’s old sports pavilion. Howardian High School was closed in July 1990 despite widespread protests. The lower school building, the old Lady Margaret High School, was demolished shortly afterwards. The upper school building was used as an adult education centre before being used to house Howardian Primary School whilst their brand new building was constructed which opened in 2018. The old 6th Form Centre was used as a Youth Activities Centre for DoE courses and alike. Past pupils of the school include Michael Moritz, the venture capitalist.
Howardian Primary School
Howardian Primary School, Hammond Way (CF23 9NB) came into existence in 2015 and for the first three years occupied the old Howardian High School before moving into a brand new building built on the old playing fields of the old secondary school in September 2018. The school is proud of the Howardian name and so it adopted the badge of the old High School as its’ crest. It should also be congratulated for finding room to display some of the historical artifacts from the old school.
Lady Margaret High School for Girls
Lady Margaret High School started life as Howard Gardens school in the Adamsdown area. When Howard Gardens split into a girls and boys school in the 1930s the girls school was named Lady Margaret High School after Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII and grandmother of Henry VIII. With the Adamsdown site becoming overcrowded a decision was made to construct a new school for the girls on Colchester Avenue in Penylan. Construction began prior to WWII and the walls reported to be 6 foot high in the late 1930s. Building of the new school was however interrupted by WWII and the overcrowding at Howard Gardens exacerbated by the fact it got severely damaged in an air raid. The new Lady Margaret High School was eventually opened in 1948. The school later went on to merge with neighboring Howardian High School for Boys in 1970 to form and the overall school called Howardian High School a comprehensive school. The Lady Margaret building housed the younger aged pupils in the newly formed school. Howardian High School closed in 1990 and the old Lady Margaret building demolished and replaced with new housing in the including Foster Drive (CF23 9BD), the road probably closest to where the old school stood. Past pupils include Betty Campbell MBE (1934–2017) who was a community activist and Wales’ first black head teacher.
Lady Mary High School / Corpus Christi
Lady Mary school stood between Cyncoed Road and Birchwood Lane. New housing has now been built on the land such as Ffordd Cwellyn (CF23 5NB). Lady Mary High School was founded as two Catholic Secondary Modern schools. The Boys school opened in 1957 and the Girls in 1958. At the time each school catered for some 360 pupils. The school’s name originally came from Lady Mary, daughter of the Marquis of Bute, owner of the surrounding estate. The boys and girls school merged in 1968 when the number attending the school was 1380. A sixth form was added to the school in 1974. The school was renamed Corpus Christi High School in 1987. The school closed in 1995 and the buildings later demolished and Corpus Christi High School moved to it’s new location in Lisvane.
Marlborough Primary School
Marlborough Primary School (CF23 5BU) is on the corner of Blenheim Road and Marlborough Road. The original Marlborough Road Board School opened in 1900, but damaged by bombing in WWII and demolished. Much more information on the history of Marlborough Road school can be found by clicking here.
Roath Village School
The small Roath Village School dates from sometime before 1840. It stood on Albany Road, on the corner of Roath Court Road (CF24 3SB). The school opened some time prior to 1840. The school eventually closed sometime around 1900. By this time the Marlborough Road Board school would have been open. In the 1901 Census it is described as the ‘Old School’.
Roath Park Primary School
Roath Park Board School, now called Roath Park Primary School on Pen-y-Wain Road (CF24 4BB) was built in 1894 and officially opened on 9th January 1895 by Mr. Lewis Williams JP, Chairman of Cardiff School Board. Mr Williams opened the school with a gold key designed by Mr Spiridion, jeweller of Duke Street, Cardiff. The school was built on a plot of land purchased from the Bute family for £2500. Architecturally the buildings are typically Victorian. The architect of the school was Mr E.W.M. Corbett and his plans were based on previous board schools already built, notably Moorland Road, Radnor Road and Saltmead School. The builder of the school was Mr. Harry Gibbons, contractor and merchant of the Steam Joinery Works, 185 Richmond Road. It was originally designed to accommodate 1256 pupils and cost £16,000 to build.1995 and produced this Roath Park Primary School Centenary 1895-1995 Souvenir Booklet. The school celebrated its centenary in The Roath Park Primary website contains information and pictures of the school’s history.
The school originally existed as 3 schools with three Headteachers. The two storey building comprised a boys school on the top floor and a girls school on the ground floor. The infants were housed in a single storey building. The buildings , with their lovely redbrick and terracotta façade, have remained largely unaltered. In 1950 it became a separate Junior Mixed and Infant School with two Headteachers. The flat roofed hall was added in the mid 1970’s. On 1st January 1982 it became a County Primary School, with a Nursery Unit added in 1988 and Physically Handicapped Unit in 1989. Details of the school today can be found on the Roath Park Primary website.
Stacey Road School
Stacey Road Board School was opened in July 1892 and enlarged in 1894. The school had accommodation for 1,255 pupils by 1901. It was built on land known as ‘The Island’ or ‘Island Farm’ owned by Mrs Mary Charles. Stacey Road is named after Rev.J.H & T.E.Stacey, the later being the brother-in-law of Edward Priest Richards (of Plasnewydd), agent to the Marquesses of Bute. From the papers in 1897 we learn the a school inspection showed that ‘boys compete with girls in fancy work: scarf knitting, mat weaving and embroidery’. In 1926 George Williams retired after 41 years teaching at the school! George probably taught Stacey Road’s most famous pupil Fred Keenor who after leaving school went on to be a professional footballer, playing over 500 games for Cardiff City, winning 32 caps for Wales and captaining Cardiff City when they beat Arsenal in the 1927 FA Cup final. In WWII the school suffered some damage in the blitz with windows being blown out. In Feb 1941 it was reported that ‘classroom temperatures on assembly were all lower than 50 degrees and one as low as 41 degrees. The caretaker states he cannot get into the heating chamber early enough to ensure the required temperature on account of the `Black-Out’ restrictions and that the furnace is not functioning properly because a lack of firewood prevents him from letting the fire out for proper clearing of clinkers’. To escape the bombing ‘thirty-six children from Stacey Boys’ travel to Blaenrhondda as do eighteen infants and an unspecified number of the girls’. When the school celebrated its centenary in 1992 the pupils dressed up in clothes that that would have been worn 100 years previously. The guest of honour was James Callaghan M.P. Stacey Road Primary School is still going strong almost 130 years after it opened.
St Anne’s school
St Anne’s School, Crofts Street started life in 1879 as St Clement’s church school. The main purpose of the building that opened in Nov 1879 was a school, but it also doubled up as a church where services were held on a Sunday evening and one evening in the week. St Anne’s church was built next to the school in 1886. The school then became known as Crofts Street National School. The school suffered heavy damage in an air raid on 6 Jan 1941 and pupils were sent to neighbouring schools. By May however Crofts Street re-opens as ‘the temporary repairs have been completed’ and in Jan 1942 the Head of Crofts Street notes ‘Heating and Lighting has been installed in the Air Raid Shelter’. In 1949 was renamed St Anne’s Church in Wales Primary School before becoming an infant school in 1954. Centenary celebrations were held at the school in 1979 when teachers and pupils dressed up in costumes that would have been worn when the school opened. Among those who returned to the school for the centenary celebrations were Maldwyn and Marion Morgan, then in their seventies and married for 55 years, who first met at the school at the age of four. At its peak the school had 220 pupils falling to 80 pupils in later times and then just 20 pupils before the school finally closed in 2011. The school building still remains. After St Anne’s school closed it was used as a Steiner nursery school and is now Pelican, Wales’ first Organic Day Nursery.
St David’s Catholic Sixth Form College, previously Heathfield House High School for Girls
St David’s College on Ty-Gwyn Road (CF23 5QD) has an interesting history. Prior to being a school, this was the site of the Convent of the Good Shepherd and a home for penitent and destitute women. The convent was demolished in the 1960s.
A school was built on the site in the 1970s and was originally home of Heathfield House School for Girls which moved up from its previous site in Richmond Road. In 1987 Heathfield House merged with St Illtyd’s School for Boys and moved to another site. The school on the Ty Gwyn Road site then became St David’s College in 1987.
St German’s infant school was on the corner of Metal Street on the land between Tin Street and Iron Street. It opened on 5 Jul 1874 and was Metal Street National School. The building was designed by G F Bodley and T Garner architects, of London who later went on to design St German’s church. The design was Arts and Crafts influenced, perhaps also inspired by St Fagan’s Castle. The land was originally part of Upper Splott Farm but later owned by Lord Tredegar who donated the land for the school to be built and Lord Bute is said to have paid for much of the materials for the school to be built. On 18 May 1943 the school suffered a lot of damage during an air raid. The boys and girls schools merged in 1944 and in 1949 it became known at St German’s Church in Wales Primary School. In 1966 all children over 11 years old were transferred to St Teilos School and St Germans became a Junior School. The School was remodelled in 1969, the open air toilets in the playgrounds which had always been difficult to use in bad weather were demolished and new modern cloakrooms with hot water washing facilities were built inside the school, gas fired central heating was installed replacing the coal fires which had served the school since it was built, a dining hall with an adjoining kitchen was built on the upper floor and used for school meals, The school closed in 1983. The Grade II listed building has now been converted into flats called St German’s Court and Mews.
St Illtyd’s College (formerly Splott University Settlement)
The Cardiff University settlement (also known as the Splott University Settlement) opened in 1901 at 50 and 52 Portmanmoor Road, Splott. It was the instigation of academic staff at the University of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff, notably Professor Ronald Burrows and Professor J.S. Mackenzie, whose objective for the Settlement was the provision of educational and recreational facilities not normally available to the poorer members of the community. The Settlement opened with four separate clubs: the Lads’, Girls’, Women’s and Men’s, whose overall membership reached 250 by 1903. In 1904, the Settlement formed itself into a limited company and the University Settlement Hall opened in Walker Road (now Courtenay Road) in December that year, although it remained unfinished until 1906.
Accommodating 500-600 people it included classrooms, a gymnasium and other recreational rooms. The Settlement remained active until the First World War when many of its members enlisted, the premises being requisitioned for use as a military hospital during the conflict. After 1918 it proved difficult to resume the Settlement. The members were dispersed and the sense of urgency gone. In December 1922 it was resolved that the Settlement be wound up and the property sold.
Following a public auction in 1923, St Illtyd’s Roman Catholic School took possession and in 1924 the property was transferred to the Charity Trust of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. An imposing extension costing £10,000 was built on to St Illtyd’s College in 1937 fronting Courtenay Road. At the pinnacle of the building was a relief five pointed cross stone carving, the emblem of the De La Salle Brothers with the motto ‘Duw a Digon’ (God is Enough). Statues of St Patrick and St de la Salle sat in elevated alcoves on the front of the building. The main school building was badly damaged by a bomb in 1941 during WWII. The overcrowding which resulted from limited facilities at the building being available and its overall popularity eventually led to the decision to relocate the college.
The college moved to its present Rumney site in 1964. The Splott building subsequently had a number of commercial uses including a printing office, wholesalers, charity offices and a TV location. The building was demolished in 2016 despite a vigorous campaign being fought arguing that the building, with its imposing facade, was of historical significance. In 2019 flats called ‘College Buildings’ were constructed on the former school site.
Two very differently written pieces by Lucinda Matthews-Jones and Dic Mortimer look at the building and its history.