History in Structure

Tonyrefail School

A Grade II Listed Building in Tonyrefail, Rhondda Cynon Taff

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Latitude: 51.5825 / 51°34'57"N

Longitude: -3.4379 / 3°26'16"W

OS Eastings: 300464

OS Northings: 188053

OS Grid: ST004880

Mapcode National: GBR HL.CFY8

Mapcode Global: VH6DP.CHC6

Plus Code: 9C3RHHM6+2R

Entry Name: Tonyrefail School

Listing Date: 19 October 2000

Last Amended: 19 October 2000

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 24282

Building Class: Education

ID on this website: 300024282

Location: Located at the corner of Gilfach Road and Ty'n y Bryn Road.

County: Rhondda Cynon Taff

Town: Porth

Community: Tonyrefail

Community: Tonyrefail

Built-Up Area: Tonyrefail

Traditional County: Glamorgan

Tagged with: School building

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Built as a grammar school in 1931 by the County Architect, D Pugh Jones, and opened in 1933. The school was divided into 2 reflected blocks with the girls to the N and the boys to the S. It became a comprehensive school in 1973.


School in neo-Georgian style. Two-storey, square plan with ranges around 2 courtyards divided by an assembly hall. Constructed of red brick with prominent stone dressings under hipped slate roofs, with brick stacks. Symmetrical front facing E with advanced central and end bays. Detail includes a dentilled eaves cornice, a sill band at ground floor level and a plinth with chamfered stone coping. The advanced bays have shallow buttresses flanking central openings, small gablets above with chamfered stone copings, and grey stone bands marking the level of the eaves. Flanking the central bay, the front is 8-window with 8-over-8-pane horned sashes each with an 8-pane ventilating light over. The lower storey windows have gauged brick heads and the upper storey windows rise to the eaves. There are 2 ridge stacks symmetrically placed to either side of the central bay. Central entrance with Tuscan columns in-antis with ringed capitals and bases supporting an entablature. This reads 'Tonyrefail / Secondary School'. Recessed moulded stone doorcase with cornice supported on scrolled brackets with foliate bosses and egg and dart moulding. Below is an inscription 'Ned Dysc Heb Foes'. Double panelled half-glazed doors and mosaic floor. Above is a tripartite window in the same style as elsewhere with a ribbon above bearing the Glamorgan shield, GCC and 1931. Stone tablets fixed to the flanking buttresses record the opening of the school on 18th September 1933, in English and Welsh. Beyond the buttresses are multi-pane cross windows to each storey and raised brick banding to the angles. The end bays have a sash window to each storey as elsewhere.

The N side has 2 narrow advanced entrance bays to L and R in similar style to the front. Each has a plain stone doorcase with cut-away top angles and an inscription 'Merched', and contains double panelled partly glazed doors. Above each doorway is an inset stairlight with corbelled stone sill, a 12-over-16-pane horned sash with ventilating light above, under a gablet. To the L is a large ridge stack. The elevation is 8-window between the bays, 4-window to the L, and 3-window to the R. The bottom R window is partly infilled with brick and 2 ventilating lights have been replaced with plain glazing. The S side is a mirror image of the N side, except that the entrances were for boys and there is no stack. The R doorway now leads to temporary buildings housing science laboratories.

The rear (W) side consists of 3 blocks with hipped roofs. In the centre is a single-storey gymnasium, slightly advanced, with swept eaves. It is 6-window with tall 8-over-12-pane horned sashes with ventilating lights above. The flanking blocks are 2-storey and 8-window, continuations of the side elevations, with lean-tos at ground floor level. The arrangement of openings varies slightly reflecting the different teaching rooms for boys and girls. The girls block is 3-window to the L and then 5-window. The boys block is 4-window and 4-window with a brick eaves stack between. (The stack is from the former metalwork room foundry). To the ends of the elevation are low lean-tos with pitched roofs, each containing a planked door and shallow 3-light window (these were storage sheds for the groundsmen). To their inner sides, are flat roofed single storey blocks, each 4-window, then 3-window. Open metal fire-escape staircases, original features, lead from the roofs of these bays, from doorways under 1st floor windows, replaced in the late C20.

Internally, the school is divided by the assembly hall, a single-storey 5-window range. It is of yellow brick under a slate roof with red brick beneath a flat stone sill band. Other detail includes a flat stone impost band, wide boarded eaves and multi-pane cross-windows. The courtyard elevations are 2-storey and consist of low red brick walls with chamfered stone copings on which are cast iron columns which support the gallery. The columns to the lower storey have been encased in uPVC, with uPVC glazed infill between them. Double doors in similar style in original positions. To the upper storey, the iron columns with ringed capitals are exposed, along with open metal balustrading consisting of plain uprights with a central panel of diagonal members to each section. Above the balustrading is uPVC glazing.


Inner double doors lead to the entrance hall. Three-bay panelled ceiling divided by moulded cross beams, that between the 2nd and 3rd bays supported by 2 Tuscan columns forming a screen, beyond which a corridor runs to N and S. Straight ahead are 2 identical round headed doorways leading into the assembly hall. These contain double panelled half-glazed doors with overlights in moulded wooden surrounds with panelled soffits. Small pane glazing with armorial stained glass (the Glamorgan shield) to doors and coloured margin glazing. Doors to rooms and to corridors off entrance hall in a similar style, with flat heads and armorial stained glass. These rooms had an administrative function and included the head teacher's office. Coloured mosaic floor including a circular motif in the centre bearing the Glamorgan shield. Coloured mosaic dado and deep ceiling cornice.

The assembly hall has a 5-bay segmental-vaulted ceiling with recessed panelling. (Late C20 theatre lighting is attached underneath). At the W end is a stage with proscenium, pilasters supporting a dentilled entablature and triangular pediment. Panelled stage front, to the sides of which are panelled doors. Wide pilasters between windows and dentilled ceiling cornice which is a continuation of the entablature. Panelled dado, original iron radiators and blockwork floor.

The corridors which lead off the entrance hall surround the courtyards and were originally open. The side walls are of yellow brick above a stone sill band with red brick below. Detail includes panelled doors (some double, some half-glazed), and windows in a similar style to the exterior. The rooms nearest the entrance hall were staff rooms and retain small fireplaces with wooden surrounds, and cream tiled dado with grey frieze. Beyond them are the classrooms with coloured glazed dado tiling, blockwork floors, panelled boarded ceilings, picture rail and original radiators. The staircases are immediately adjacent to the E side entrances. Stone dog-leg stairs with plain iron balustrading and moulded wooden handrails.

On the W side, the gymnasium is in the centre and is also accessible from the assembly hall. It has a panelled boarded ceiling and retains much of its original equipment including parallel bars. Flanking the gym are cloakrooms (girls to the N and boys to the S) with glazed brown tiling, beyond which are the toilets. Both cloakrooms and toilets retain many of their original fittings and detail. The upper storey is similar to that below with yellow brick side walls and half-glazed panelled doors, but many of the rooms are larger. They include a library with wooden panelling in the NE corner, science laboratories (E), art rooms (N), needlework room (NW) and metalwork room (SW).

Reasons for Listing

Listed as a specially fine example of the work of the County Architect in the pre-war period; the interior is of particular merit with good retention of detail.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Entrance Gates & Piers at Tonyrefail School
    Facing the junction of Gilfach Road and Ty'n y Bryn Road.
  • II Ty'n y Bryn
    At right angles to the road and set back slightly, the W end built into the slope. The entrance faces S.
  • II Bingo Hall
    Fronting the road at the corner with School Street.
  • II Capel y Ton
    Prominently located in the centre of Tonyrefail. Set back behind forecourt walls and railings within a graveyard containing numerous monuments.
  • II War Memorial
    Located in Trane Cemetery directly in front of the entrance and on the central avenue.
  • II Tylcha Wen including attached range of former outbuildings
    Set down from the road at right angles to the valley bottom and facing S. Now surrounded by modern housing.
  • II Llanilid
    Located off the S side of a lane running W from Thomastown to Gelli'r Haidd. The house is built into and at right angles to the hillside.

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