Park Street School Llanelli

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Recently Llanelli Community Heritage's attention was drawn to a one hundred year old photograph of Park Street School, Llanelli, which was demolished circa 1976. The framed photograph was purchased some 15 years ago by Mike and Linda Davies. Although having the surname 'Davies' they are not from Wales, but are natives of the Midlands. At that time they were rummaging around the local antique shops of Broadway, Worcestershire, in the Cotswolds and were taken by the design and style of the surrounding picture frame. Without any thought being given to the subject in the photograph they made the purchase and the picture was stored away for some time and forgotten about.

Two years ago the Davies' retired and located to Wales where over the years they had spent some of their holidays. Unpacking their long stored possessions they rediscovered the old photograph. Upon reading its title they were amazed to find that the 'Llanelly' (Llanelli) was the nearby town to the village of Five Roads that they had just moved to so they contacted LCH.

The photograph shows the pupils of the school with their prizes following their ‘Terminal Examinations’ in the July of 1914, which was just at beginning of the First World War. Is it just possible that one or two of the lads in the photograph may have served in that war?

Park Street School used to stand in the area now occupied by Llanelli’s new 'East Gate' development. Research is ongoing to discover more about the school photograph and its pupils. Should you have any information please do contact us.

The photograph has been deposited in the Local Collection of the Llanelli Library. 

LCH0208

Addendum by David Thomas (November 2015)

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The Park Street School photograph July 1914 discovered by Mike and Linda Davies made interesting reading.

My grandfather (David Thomas) and his brothers (Cliff, Jack and Watcyn) went to Park Street School and I thought that the following information may be of interest:

Photo 01
Watcyn Thomas is holding the slate (dated 1915) and David Thomas is standing next to the teacher.

Uncle Watcyn went on to play rugby for Llanelli and be captain of the Welsh rugby team (no. 8). He is probably the only member of his playing generation who wrote a book (Rugby-Playing Man). He was the first member of our family to go to university and studied English at Swansea.

As a boy, I remember uncle Watcyn very well and we were always told about the book he was writing. Well, he finished it and it gives an interesting snapshot of life in a working class family in Llanelli in the early 1900s, as well as Park Street School.

He stated that he started school in 1913 and that the headmaster was nicknamed Rusty because he had a red beard. He states that, He caned boys mercilessly and many a lad shivered as he entered the classroom. One late mark in the register resulted in four strokes of the cane across the hand: if you did not touch your cap to him on the road you received three or four strikes across the posterior, and one inside the thigh. How times have changed in infant schools!

There was also a different approach to truancy - Truancy was no answer for he went out hunting for 'matchers', as we called them, with a pack of boys.

He stated that neither Rusty, nor his deputy, equally sadistic, was Welsh speaking as seventy percent of his pupils were.

Photo 02
David and Watcyn Thomas are both in the photograph and have very distinctive haircuts! Watcyn Thomas is fourth row from the front and fourth in from the right. David Thomas is third row from the front and fourth in.

Photo 03
The slate reads Park Street School League Champions 1915-1916. David Thomas is back row third in from the right. I wonder if the cup still exists!

Photo 04
Rusty the headmaster with the ginger beard as referred to in the book can be seen in this photograph.

I am afraid I cannot help with the identification of the boys in the picture referred to in LCH0208 but the teacher is the same in many of the photographs. He could possibly have been the deputy head.

I believe that David Edgar Morgan (Welsh International in 1920 and Rugby League Player) went to Park Street but as he was born in 1896 he would have been older than my grandfather and uncle Watcyn. I wonder if there are any other sportsmen out there who went to Park Street?

RUGBY-PLAYING MANRUGBY-PLAYING MAN by Watcyn Thomas © Published by Pelham Books February 1977 ISBN 0 7207 0952 0.