Cedric Moon will be at Bridgend Deaf Club on Tuesday 20th September at 7:00 to distribute the Book on the Royal Cambrian and Llandrindod Wells Residential Schools. The cost of the book will be £15. Address for copies – British Deaf History Society, Second Floor, Empire Court, 30 – 40 Museum Street, WARRINGTON, WA1 1HU
About the book
Welsh Residential Schools history
The Royal Cambrian Institution for the Deaf was founded in 1847 in Aberystwyth. People thought it better for the health of deaf children to be at a seaside location. There were only 8 children to start with, then the school moved to Swansea in 1850 because that was where the sources of funding was, Swansea being the industrial heart of Wales at that time. The school then moved to Craig field above the town in 1857.
The school had a deaf headmaster, Benjamin Payne from Ireland, who took over in 1876, deaf Irishman. The School became Royal in 1898.
The headteacher, Mr Moore, took over from Mr Payne in 1916. At that time teachers used signs/finger spelling to communicate. Government inspectors not happy with that, as the Government in the 1930s favoured oralisim. Moore retired in 1936, replaced by Mr Bayliss. He was oralist, in approach and communication methods. Government Inspectors were pleased with the change and Mr Bayliss encouraged partially deaf children to enter the school.
In 1940 there were around 90 children at the school. The School management wanted to move to a safer location away from Swansea but the Government refused to assist as Swansea was not declared as being gin a danger zone. Then in the 1941 three day blitz on the town people 230 died and fire bombs fell on school. Former children at the school remember being in the cellars with the school shaking from bomb blasts. The school was closed for safety.
Mr Bayliss wrote to MPs to complain about no evacuation support. Then the Govenrment made funds available and found buildings at Brynwern Hall at Newbridge on Wye and Rhayader. The senior boys first went to Dolgerddon Hall then in 1946 they moved to Brynafon, an ex workhouse.
Trustees wanted move back to South Wales and bought an old mansion in St Mellons, near cardiff. However in1948 fire destroyed the building. The Trustees bought another big house in Monmouthshire, Mounton House, but by then trustees could not cope with the situation and the Welsh Joint Education Committee took over responsibility for educating deaf children in Wales. Two old hotels in Llandrindod Wells were taken over for a school under WJEC control. The school opened in 1950 with Mr Bayliss headmaster, along with some teachers from the Cambrian School. There were a large number of children in first few years, 151 in 1950 and 204 1953. The biggest group came from Glamorgan. At same time the Government started to open up Partially Hearing Units. This was the cause of long term decline in numbers at the Llandrindod Residential School.
Most pupils enjoyed their time at the school as they could communicate with each other instead of being isolated in hearing schools. The school football teams were very good throughout the school’s history and often beat local schools in the Radnorshire school league.
School closed in the Summer 1973 with 45 children, these being transferred to the Glamorgan County controlled Ashgrove School for the Deaf in Penarth, Glamorganshire.