History and Heritage

Henry Rees


The first Headmaster of Ystalyfera County School was Arthur Blount Sully who took up the post at the opening of the school in 1896 and left in 1913. He was succeeded by Harry Rees who held the post for thirty years, from 1913 to 1943.

From the book 'The First Fifty Years' by Rees John Davies, M.A. (published 1946) comes this :

This chapter in the history of the Ystalyfera County Intermediate School begins with the appointment as headmaster in May 1913 - to commence duties on 1st August 1913 - of Mr Henry Rees, B.A., N.AL., student of the Middle Temple, and a native of Alltwen, Pontardawe.

Mr Rees, previous to his appointment as headmaster at Ystalyfera, was English Master at Pontypridd County School. Though not an ex-pupil of the Ystalyfera County School, having had his secondary education at the Old Higher Grade School, Swansea, Mr Rees nevertheless was a member of a family who, during almost the whole fifty years of the school's existence, had been intimately associated with its history. Mr Rees' sister was amongst the first pupils of the school; later two brothers followed in her footprints. Between 1906-1909 his father, the Rev. Rees Rees, the respected minister of Alltwen Congregational Chapel for twenty-nine years (1881-1910) was one of the school's governors. Again, Mr Rees' brother, Mr Frederick E. Rees, B.SC., was already in 1913 an inspector of secondary schools under Glamorgan County Council. With the decease of Mr T. Wade Evans, clerk to the school governors, in 1926, Mr F.E. Rees attended often at the school as acting clerk to the governors and deputy to Dr J. James, then chief educational official for Glamorgan, a post he held until September, 1944.

Mr Rees' activities and services in the sphere of education were not limited by the demands of his own school on his time and energies.
At an early date (1921) in his career as headmaster he became secretary of the Welsh Secondary Schools Association, a position he held until 1943. He was also secretary of the Glamorgan Association of Headmasters and Headmistresses for six years; a member of the Court of Governors of the University of Wales, an executive member of the Central Welsh Board, a Council Member of the Incorporated Association of Headmasters for England and Wales, a member of the Burnham Secondary School Committee, and the founder and a member of the Joint Four Association. Mr Rees, during his career, served in association with three permanent secretaries of the Board of Education, and three chief inspectors of the Central Welsh Board.

On 22nd October, 1945, a special meeting of the Welsh Secondary Schools Association was convened at the Shire Hall, Shrewsbury, on the occasion of Mr Rees' resignation as its secretary, to present him and to pah tribute to his services to education. Amongst those present were Sir Wynn Wheldon, then secretary of the Welsh Department of the Board of Education; Mr Eric Evans, M.A., then chief inspector of the Central Welsh Board; and Dr W. J. Williams, then chief inspector in Wales for the Board of Education.