Flowers on Mother’s Day

What a sight when the flowers are out in Victoria gardens Neath!

The gardening team  are brilliant

We  are so fortunate that we can sit down on the benches and just watch the world go by..

Anyone who can not get to the gardens these days RDN will  bring it to you

Images and Report  by RDN photographer Mike Davies

Support Available in Neath Port Talbot

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History Society April Meeting

Welcome to Spring 2022

Victoria Gardens Neath

Spring arrives on Sunday the 20th of March

Photo by MIKE DAVIES (RDN photographer)

Latest Covid Newsletter

Covid Vaccine Newsletter from Swansea Bay University Health Board

Date: March 3rd, 2022

Edition number: 36


This week we have two important pieces of news about the programme.

Firstly, parents and carers of all five to 11 year olds registered with GPs in the Swansea or Neath Port Talbot area can now request a Covid vaccination for their child by filling in an online form. All the details and the link to the form are below in the ‘latest news’ section.

We’ll also be delivering a spring booster, so that will be a second booster, to those aged over 75, older adults in care homes and those aged 12 and over who are classed as immunosuppressed. This is being done as a precaution because these vulnerable groups will have had their first booster last September or October, therefore will have the longest gap since vaccination. We will update you on the details of this rollout soon.

Both of these moves follow the acceptance by Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, of the latest guidance from the independent body which advises UK governments, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Looking ahead it is likely that there will be autumn Covid boosters for those who are the most vulnerable. We don’t have any further details at the moment but, as always, will update you as soon as the plan is confirmed.

As we are now in a less urgent phase of the programme, we are switching publication of this newsletter to an as-and-when basis. This means we’ll only send one out if we’ve got something really important you should know about.

You can read more about what we’re doing in ‘latest news’ below.

Latest news

Vaccination of children aged five to 11

You can now request a Covid-19 vaccination appointment for your child if they are aged between five and 11.

Following the recent JCVI recommendation that all children aged five to 11 should be offered two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, parents and guardians can register online to receive an appointment for their children.

You can fill out a form to request a Covid-19 vaccination for up to four children in your household within this age group. If you have more than four children aged five to 11 in your household, you can complete the form again.

Please only complete the form on behalf of a child aged between five and 11 for whom you have parental responsibility, and who is registered with a GP in the Swansea or Neath Port Talbot areas.

Follow this link to request an appointment for your five to 11 year old.

We are currently putting arrangements in place so we can start offering appointments in the coming weeks.

You will be contacted with the offer of an appointment once these arrangements are in place.

For most children the gap between each dose should be at least 12 weeks.

However, vaccinations are already in place for children aged five to 11 who are in a clinical risk group or are household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed. The recommended gap between doses for children in these groups is at least eight weeks.

The JCVI has carefully considered its decision and has recommended that a Covid-19 vaccination is offered to this age group. Follow this link to read the recent JCVI statement in full.

It’s never too late

There is a Covid vaccine available for everyone who wants one, so whether you’re missing your booster or haven’t had your first vaccine yet, there’s a session to suit you below at one of our centres or a community pharmacy.

You can drop in or book online.

Go to this form to book a Covid vaccine appointment online.

Vaccination venues in Swansea

Bay Mass Vaccination Centre, near Amazon, SA1 8QB (Please note that from Monday, March 7th the centre will no longer be open every day and opening times will change. Details are below.)

Drop in vaccinations available:

9am to 8pm from Monday, February 28th to Friday, March 4th

10am to 6pm on Saturday, March 5th and Sunday, March 6th

10am to 6pm from Wednesday, March 9th to Sunday, March 13th

10am to 6pm from Wednesday, March 16th to Sunday, March 20th

9:30am to 6:30pm from Wednesday, March 23rd to Friday, March 25th

10am to 6pm on Saturday, March 26th and Sunday March 27th

9:30am to 6:30pm on Wednesday, March 30th

10am to 6pm from Thursday, March 31st to Saturday, April 2nd

Container (local vaccination centre) outside Swansea Guildhall, SA1 4PE (Please note that from Monday, March 7th the centre will no longer be open every day.)

Drop in between 10am and 6pm on the following dates:

Monday, February 28th to Friday, March 4th – all between 9am and 4pm

Monday, March 7th, Wednesday, March 9th and Friday, March 11th

Monday, March 14th, Wednesday, March 16th and Friday, March 18th

Monday, March 21st, Wednesday, March 23rd and Friday, March 25th

Monday, March 28th, Wednesday, March 30th and Friday, April 1st

Container (local vaccination centre) outside Pontardawe Leisure Centre, SA8 4EG

Drop in between 10am and 6pm on the following dates:

Tuesday, March 8th and Tuesday, March 15th

Tuesday, March 22nd and Tuesday, March 29th

Vaccination venues in Neath Port Talbot

Container (local vaccination centre) in the car park of Morrisons supermarket, Baglan Industrial Park, Christchurch Road, Port Talbot, SA12 7DA.

Drop in between 10am and 6pm on the following dates:

Monday. February 28th to Friday, March 4th – all between 9am and 4pm

Monday, March 7th to Friday, March 11th

Monday, March 14th to Friday, March 18th

Thursday, March 24th and Saturday, March 26th

Thursday, March 31st and Saturday, April 2nd

The pop-up clinic in Croeserw Community Hub has now closed.

Community pharmacies in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot

1st, 2nd or booster dose available

No appointment needed. (However, some people will receive an invite for vaccination at their local pharmacy.)

Ages 18 and over

Pregnant women welcome

Community pharmacies offering vaccination from Monday, February 28th



Well – Urban Village, Unit 4, Urban Village, 215 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NW. Monday and Wednesday, 9.30am to 5pm.


Well – Clase, 94 Rheidol Avenue, Clase, Swansea, SA6 7JS. Monday and Wednesday 9.30am to 5pm.


Welchem Ty’r Felin Pharmacy – Cecil Road, Gorseinon, Swansea, SA4 4BY. Tuesday only, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm.


Welchem Mountain View Pharmacy – 53 Mayhill Road, Mayhill, Swansea, SA1 6TD. Monday only, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm.


Newbury Pharmacy, 35-37 Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4BD, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am to 5pm.

Welchem Castle Pharmacy – 44 Queens Road, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4AN. Thursday only, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm.


Penclawdd M Rees, Sea View, Penclawdd, Swansea, SA4 3YF. Wednesday and Friday, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm.

West Cross

Well – West Cross, 8 Alderwood Road, West Cross, Swansea, SA3 5JD. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9.30am to 5pm.

Neath Port Talbot:


Vale of Neath Pharmacy, Vale of Neath, Chain Road, Glynneath, Neath, SA11 5HP. Monday and Thursday, 9am to 5pm.


Well – Neath, 130 London Road, Neath, SA11 1HF. Monday and Wednesday, 9.30am to 5pm.


Well – Skewen, 37 New Road, Skewen, Neath, SA10 6UT. Monday and Wednesday, 9.30am to 5pm.

Latest Covid vaccination figures

Please note: Figures correct as of 3.30pm on Thursday, March 3rd. These figures are for the Swansea Bay University Health Board area, not the whole of Wales.

1st dose: 305,309

2nd dose: 286,789

3rd dose (for the immunosuppressed): 7,348

Booster dose: 224,182

Running total (1, 2, 3 and booster doses): 823,628

The History of Neath Grammar School for Girls


Written by local resident Carole Wilsher

This snippet in a 1950’s copy of the Neath Girls’ Grammar School magazine caught my eye:-

“Two of the sweetest sounds in the world

  1. the song of the Nightingale
  2. the ringing of the school bell at 4 0’clock”

Schooldays – the happiest days of your life, or were they?

As I recall, education was, in those days, a very serious business, a lot of work and little play;  such progressive maxims as “learning through play” and “learning can be fun” were as yet unheard of.    Coedffranc Junior School seemed to me to be overshadowed by the spectre of the ‘11-plus’ and all other activities were eclipsed by the importance of passing that examination.

Well, I did pass it.  In September 1958 I entered the hallowed portals of Neath Girls’ Grammar School and its world of serious academic study with the proclaimed goal of a place in University.  And that, in a nutshell, was its aim.

Let’s go back in time to the early 20th Century.  When my grandfather gained one of the very few fee-exemption scholarships (just 12 offered out of 104 candidates in 1897, then rising to 35 in 1908) in first decade of 1900, Neath County School was almost brand new.  Built in late 1896 it owed its life to the Intermediate Education Act of 1889.

My Grandfather’s Certificate of Examination Pass for Entrance Scholarship dated 1909

Years earlier, in 1872 Aberystwyth University had opened its doors after a nationwide appeal for funds. It was then followed by Cardiff University in 1883 and Bangor in 1884 with Aberystwyth given equal status in 1885.  There was now a desperate need for a form of Intermediate education to bridge the obvious gap between Elementary Schools and the Universities.  Yes, a few Grammar Schools did exist in Wales but their fees were far too high for the pockets of the average Welsh working class parents.  Despite a report in 1880 by the ‘Aberdare Committee’, proposing reform to and update of the curriculum in these Grammar Schools furthermore recommending new ones be built, progress was extremely slow;  it was to be another 9 years before that all-important Intermediate Education Act was passed by Parliament.  By this time local committees had already been formed and the Act proposed that money for funding these schools could be obtained in several ways:-  voluntary contributions, local rate, Government grant and other South Wales charitable funds.  Also established was a Central Welsh Board to inspect and examine these schools.

Financial support was forthcoming and £86,708 (equivalent today, approx. £11.5 million) was raised which enabled Glamorgan County Council to proceed with the building of these new schools.   Neath was in fact, one of the first 11 schools built – its official title was ‘Neath Intermediate and Technical School’ and it became known as Neath County School, (this was always the name used by my grandfather and mother and uncle – all former pupils).  The local architect of Neath school was the Borough Engineer at the time Mr D M Jenkins and the builder Mr Henry David of Skewen. Total cost of the 11 schools was £32,000 (equivalent today, approx. £4.2 million) and Neath was to be a mixed school with a ‘boys and girls’ department;  it was built for 120 pupils – 70 boys and 50 girls and actually opened with 74 children on the register.  The salary of the first Headmaster Mr J G Davies MA was £150 per annum (equivalent today, approx. £19,800) and the first  Senior Mistress was Miss Jessie Henry (who later became the Headmaster’s wife).  Tuition fees were £1.6s.8d (£1.33 – equivalent today, approx. £44) per term excluding books and with an extra 2/6d (13 pence – equivalent today, approx. £17) charged for stationery.

Expansion of premises was needed almost immediately as the original field where Games were played was required for new school buildings;   in 1898 Lord Dynevor was approached for first refusal of the field between the school and Dwr-y-Felin Road.

A dispute soon arose between the Governors over the school motto;  some favouring a Latin one and others a Welsh one – the Welsh one won the day – “Gorau Arf   Arf Dysg”.

Interestingly, too, the new Chairman John Newall Moore JP, a Skewen entrepreneur, was pressing for a reformed timetable to include technical instruction and fewer academic subjects.

However, success in academic subjects was evident right at the start – in the first recorded results of the Central Welsh Board examination in 1900  the 5 entrants achieved the Senior Certificate and by 1904 the number of successful candidates had risen to 16 while pupil numbers had increased to 204.  Building expansion too was taking place with a large new gymnasium opened in 1902 and the old gym converted into a physics laboratory.

In 1913 tuition fees were £3.10s.6d (£3.53 – equivalent today, approx. £424) to cover all subjects except music with the cost of books and mathematical instruments paid for by pupils and the number of exemption scholarships was still low with one scholarship paid for by the Neath Abbey and Skewen Cooperative Society for the children of its members.  Examination successes continued to rise reaching 54 in that year.

War was now looming large and less than a month after its outbreak 27 old boys had volunteered for service.

By the end of the War the accommodation problem was acute – worsened, actually, by the school being obliged to agree to allow part of the new school site (plans for which had been drawn up just pre-War) to be cultivated during the War time emergency.   346 pupils now attended the school, nearly treble the number of 1896 and that number rose to 416 in 1919.

In 1922 the County Council were asked to consider the suitability of Gnoll House to house the Girls’ Grammar School but finally in 1928 the new Boys’ School opened at the bottom of Dwr-y-Felin Road and Miss A. Decima Jones was appointed Headmistress of the Girls’ School in the original County School building.

School populations in 1928 stood at:- 

the County School for Girls 232 pupils and a teaching  staff of 12 plus 2 visiting teachers,

and the County School for Boys  304 pupils with a staff of 13 and 1 visiting master.

In 1934 a step forward was taken by the Special Place System which abolished the difference between a fee-payer and entrance scholarship so very few parents were obliged to pay full fees.

The Education Act 1944 abolished fees altogether, introducing the Tripartite Education System of Education.

In 1938 the house and grounds of Glan-yr-Afon House were added to the Girls’ School with the house being converted into classrooms and grounds used for “experimental work in Botany.”  It is interesting to note, however, that the acquisition of the garden had led to the subject of Horticultural Science being introduced in the curriculum and, through the efforts of Miss Enid Morgan, the Senior Biology Mistress (later to become Headmistress of the School), a Scheme of Work was approved for examination by the Central Welsh Board.


And what of the Curriculum at this time?

A quotation from Jubilee Edition of County School Magazine states “There is little fundamental difference between the ultimate aim of the curriculum of a boys’ grammar school and girls’ grammar school.”   What an advanced and enlightened statement that is.

Very few pupils at that time left school without completing the course for the School Certificate and the number of passes for the Girls’ School in 1940-41 was 44 with 9 supplementary certificates while the Higher Certificate figure was 6.


During the first two years girls followed a general course of study in the following subjects:-

English, History, Geography, Latin, Welsh, French, Mathematics, General Science, Music, Art and Needlework but specialisation was required in Year 3 with a career in mind;  languages or sciences were chosen with Greek and German introduced as additional or alternative choices.

Increased time was also given on the timetable for subjects like Music, Art, Cookery and Horticulture.  The girls also had P.E. lessons weekly – a minimum of 1 lesson a week each of gymnastics, dancing and games.

Indeed, with the exception of Greek, there was little discernible change in that curriculum by the time I left the Girls’ Grammar School in 1965.

I mentioned earlier “the proclaimed goal” of the Intermediate School system, and the 1946 Jubilee edition of the School Magazine confidently asserted that “the school this year is represented by students at many universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London, Aberdeen, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Reading, at the University Colleges of Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea, at Studley Horticultural College, at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.”   It goes on to point out that although generally girls’ careers were teaching, clerical or nursing, the school had one engineer who had passed her Mechanical Sciences Tripos examination in 1942 and further that no woman’s name had appeared on the Cambridge Engineering lists for 16 years.

By 1962 the career trend for girls still seemed to follow the main pattern – it is interesting to note that of the 29 A level passes gained in that year were in Arts – just 4 girls having chosen Science and Mathematics;  also a statistic in that same year recorded that 84 of the 85 girls entered for O level examinations gained a certificate.  In addition, Neath Girls’ Grammar School was continuing to send its students to various colleges across the country – 22 of the girls leaving in 1962 went to Universities or Training Colleges while others pursued their training with an employer in a variety of careers from laboratory work to physiotherapy and nursing.

The Girls’ Grammar School reached the end of its life in the 1970’s when the Comprehensive System of Education was introduced in the Neath area.

My own view looking back (without rose coloured spectacles!) is that although I did not enjoy my years there, finding it rigid and humourless, it was without doubt a first class education.  Furthermore, I feel I can give that education a good deal of credit for equipping me with the wherewithal to meet the challenge of writing, publishing and selling my first book at nearly 70 years of age.

Make no mistake about it, education for girls was history in the making.  Given that Oxford University did not award degrees to women until 1920 (see footnote) Neath County School with its initial allocation of 50 places for girls in 1896, was highly progressive for its time and I really honestly believe that it was an education to be proud of even if I couldn’t wait for the 4 o’clock bell to ring!

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On 7th October 1920 women became eligible for admission as full members of Oxford University and were given the right to take degrees, a number of which were awarded to students retrospectively.  In 1927 the University dons introduced a quota limiting the number of female students to a quarter of male ones.  That rule was not abolished until 1957 and in 1959 women’s colleges were given full collegiate status.

Information  for this article was obtained from various sources including:-

1946 Jubilee Edition of Neath CountySchool Magazine

1962-3 Neath Grammar School for Girls Magazine

‘Skewen Village Story’ by Carole Wilsher

Dorothy L Sayers, ‘A Biography by Colin Duriez’

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Neath Castle Goes Back in Time

If you missed Neath Medieval Day today -no worries! RDN photographer Mike Davies was there to capture some glimpses of the past for us

The first castle in Neath was located west of the river Neath near the Roman fort of Nidum, and was a timber fortification in a motte and bailey structure.When Richard de Grenville founded Neath Abbey close by, he abandoned this original castle, and it may have been used by the monks as a source of building material.[5]

Images by Mike Davies RDN Photographer

The Queen’s Jubilee-Information

The year 2022 sees Her Majesty The Queen become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne.

There will be year-long celebrations as communities and people come together to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s historic reign.

Communities across Neath Port Talbot are encouraged to take part in the celebrations by hosting events to mark this momentous occasion.

There is more information on the Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan’s website. 

The Queen’s Green Canopy

Plant a Tree for the Jubilee

Local Events and Street Parties

There are lots of jubilee events planned in Neath Port Talbot

Event organisers are advised that ‘road closed’ signs, diversion signs, cones and barriers plus a Traffic Management Plan are required for an official road closure notice to be approved by the Council. A specialist traffic management company must be used to produce the plan and supply the signage, cones, barriers etc. in accordance with the current highway regulations. However, the company should not charge organisers a “Submission of Application & Legal Fees to Neath Port Talbot Council” as we do not charge for processing this type of event road closure.

The following Platinum Jubilee Guidance Notes – Street Party Road Closure Requests

!No main roads will be allowed to close

Are you planning a Street Party for the Platinum Jubilee? Are you planning a Road Closure for your event? Do you realise that you need permission from the Council for any road closures? If so, we need to inform you in advance that there will be costs associated with your road closure. You will need insurance to cover yourselves and those attending, as well as authorised traffic management. With this in mind, have you considered hosting the event elsewhere – e.g. gardens of the street’s residents, another enclosed outdoor space or even a local community centre, church or village hall?

information and documentation needs to be submitted by 1st April 2022 at the latest

  1. Event Registration Form needs to be completed and returned – this can be obtained from
  2. Highways require a minimum of 8 weeks’ notice for road closure requests. If the date, time or location of the road closure requested changes, the notice period will have to start again.
  3. A Traffic Management Plan needs to be produced by a competent traffic management contractor and will need to be submitted to Special Events for circulation to Highways by the 1st April 2022 at the latest. The contractor needs to provide proof of a Street Works Licence (supervisor and operatives) to show that they are competent under the New Roads and Street works (NRSW) Act 1991. A simple plan from the traffic management company supplying the signs is needed in order to show that they will be located correctly on the highway at the closure point. Organisers will need at least two road closure signs, a certain number of cones at a set spacing and only the traffic management company can advise on this. The plan is required in order to ensure the road closure will conform to the regulations.  In summary, a specialist traffic management company must be used to produce the plan and supply the signage, cones, barriers etc.
  4. Diversion and Road Closure Signage etc. will need to be supplied and installed by a competent traffic management contractor (as above). Organisers will need to supply confirmation from the company of what signage they will be supplying by the 1st April 2022 at the latest.
  5. Public Liability Insurance Certificate – A Public Liability Insurance Certificate is an essential requirement and the Authority stipulates a minimum cover level of £5m. You be able to apply for funding to cover this cost – Platinum Jubilee Funding

The following information will need to be supplied by the 13th May 2022

  1. Confirmation of First Aid Cover – The Purple Guide for First Aid states that no event should have less than 2 first aiders and the authority follow this principle for all event applications. If cover is being provided by individuals, we will need to see their qualification certificates.  If being provided by a company such as St Johns, we will need confirmation of the level of cover they will be providing. 
  2. Covid 19 Risk Assessments – whilst we do not know whether these will be required for the time of the Jubilee, organisers are advised to view the guidance on the Welsh Government website. You can also visit the MIA page which contains Risk Assessment template.

Funeral Notice for Mrs Molly Walsh

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant

Image of St. David’s Cathedral by MIKE DAVIES