The History of Dynevor SchoolDynevor School first opened its doors to pupils as the Swansea Higher Grade School for Boys in 1883, in Trinity Place – a site long since redeveloped as the Orchard Street multi-storey car park. 100 boys were taught by the headmaster, Gomer Jones, assisted by a staff of four. GomerJones held the position for a term before joining the schools Inspectorate. His successor, Samuel Roberts, would lead the school in its early and formative years, becoming the longest serving Head Teacher in the history of the school.
The school flourished and in 1894 moved to a larger site in Dynevor Place with accommodation for 500 pupils. Formal recognition as a Municipal Secondary School came in 1907 as the aim of emulating a grammar school structure increasingly shaped the dynamic of the institution.
The school’s third headmaster, Mr. W. A. Beanland took the helm in 1911 and supervised a significant expansion of the premises in 1929, across Dynevor Place and De la Beche Street. The latter block would be occupied by The Municipal Girls’ School, soon to be known as De la Beche, with Miss Taylor as headmistress. In that year Llewellyn John became the fourth headmaster.
Swansea Municipal Secondary School for boys was renamed Dynevor Secondary School in 1930. In the same year former pupils led by W.A. Beanland formed the ‘Old Dy’vorians Association’.
The school consolidated its academic standing in the decade which followed. Commercial subjects were no longer included in the curriculum and the proportion of former pupils recruited to the teaching staff grew.
The German 3-night blitz of Swansea’s town centre in February 1941, resulted in very major damage to school buildings. Roofs were destroyed by incendiary bombs, rendering the top floor uninhabitable until 1959.
The civic response was speedy and positive in ensuring the continuity of pupil education. Alongside evacuation to neighbouring counties, facilities were shared between Dynevor and the nearby Swansea Grammar School, also damaged, and the De la Beche girls school relocated across other local schools. In 1942, during these war years, W. Bryn Thomas succeeded Llewellyn John. With the coming of the Butler Education Act of 1944 the school was named, Dynevor Secondary Grammar School.
In 1952, Glan Powell, a past pupil and member of staff, became headmaster and the replacement of the makeshift facilities adopted after bomb damage became the priority.The top floor of both wings would be rebuilt providing new science laboratories, library and a new Assembly Hall on the corner of Dynevor Place. The final reconstruction work was completed under new Headmaster, Meredydd Glyn Hughes who took up the reins in 1957.
D. Bernard Norris, a former Dynevor pupil, was appointed headmaster in 1965, and was responsible for leading the school through transition to a ‘senior comprehensive’ in September 1971. In September 1978 Llwyn-y-Bryn Girls’ School was amalgamated with Dynevor, so creating a new Dynevor Co-educational Comprehensive School.
As the school’s centenary approached the leadership of the school changed hands again and in 1979, W. D. Hubert Davies became the school’s ninth headmaster. He, as with each of his predecessors managed historic change in the progressive structural and educational development of the school. Celebration of the School Centenary was a high spot of this period but with the advent of tertiary education in the same year, the phasing out of the school’s sixth form began.
In 1986, although he did not realise it at the time, Allan Smith became the final and third longest serving headmaster of the school. His 15 year tenure saw, as a result of educational policy, an inevitable decline in pupil numbers. It then became his unenviable task to supervise the transfer of Dynevor pupils in 2001, to the site of the former Dillwyn Llewelyn Comprehensive School for the creation of the new Dylan Thomas Community School. School facilities continued at the Dynevor site for a further year while Year 9 and Year 11 pupils completed their studies and exams. Then, at the suggestion of the Old Dy’vorian Association, past pupils and masters were invited back on Wednesday 24th July 2002 for a last farewell before the doors were finally closed.
This account, and the list of key dates in the history of the School, is taken from the record compiled by Dave Tovey (Class of ’52) and in turn from the 75th Anniversary and Centenary School Magazines published in 1958 & 1983.
“The Vanished Swansea School”
The feature “The Vanished Swansea School with a quite remarkable list of former pupils” is reproduced with the permission of the author, Nino Williams Senior Reporter of the South Wales Evening Post/Wales Online. It was also published online on 24 February 2019.
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