VALLEY GRAMMAR SCHOOL
(Scroll down for the complete photograph)
In September 1959 the pupils and staff of Amman Valley Grammar School in Ammanford were assembled on the lawn in front of the 1928 building for a photograph of the whole school. At that time there were about 550 staff and pupils, a small enough number to include us all. We were arranged in a semi-circle on the lawn with the camera at the centre so that everyone was equidistant from the lens. This ensured the resulting photograph would show everyone lined up in a straight line (the school building behind wasn't so lucky, which ended up curved in the photograph).
Amman Valley Grammar School (the 1928 building)
There would be another photograph taken in 1967 when the school was still small enough for the camera to encompass all the pupils and staff. But in 1970 Amman Valley Grammar School and Amman Valley Secondary Modern were merged to create Amman Valley Comprehensive. The 1700 pupils of the new school would defeat the camera's ability to capture everyone in one shot and there has never been a school photograph since.
The photograph that everyone purchased in 1959 was a long scroll about three feet long, a bit like the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Norman Conquest of 1066, but without the axes, spears, bows and arrows which the pupils kindly agreed to leave at home for the occasion. That photograph has been scanned in for this web site and broken down into manageable portions to display on your computer monitor. (What you see on your screen below is actually twelve separate sectons cunningly stitched together by computer software to give the appearance of one long, seamless photograph.)
As the shadows of time lengthen across our lives you may wish to remember yourself or your school friends as you were in the sunshine of your youth. If you spot yourself, or any friend, former boyfriend, girlfriend etc, and you want to print an enlarged copy of this photograph on to four A4 pages, click HERE. The photo will open in a new window and you can print it off. There is photographic quality paper available for ink jet printers which can result in very high quality photographs.
You can also save it to your computer by clicking on 'File' and 'Save a copy'. You can now e-mail it as an attachment to someone to remind them what their former self was like.
In September 1999 a reunion was held in the old Drill Hall in Church Street next to the school to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the photograph (the Drill Hall is now a function centre called the Aman Centre). 211 former pupils and staff were present for the evening with a visit organised around the old school buildings beforehand. Older we are, and some of us may even be wiser, but plenty of memories were re-kindled and former acquaintances renewed as, for one evening at least, those shadows didn't seem quite so long or quite so threatening. In October 2009 another reunion was held ten years after the first one and, who knows, 2019 may see yet another one, though by then a seance, rather than a reunion, may be needed to contact most of those in the photograph.
The cloakroom pegs are empty now,
And locked the classroom door,
The hollow desks are dim with dust
And slow across the floor
A sunbeam creeps, until
The sun is seen no more.
Ah, notices are taken down,
And score-books stowed away,
And seniors grow tomorrow
From juniors today,
And even swimming teams can fade,
Games mistresses turn grey.
[A history of the school can also be found in this web site. Click HERE for part one and HERE for part two. The text of a booklet produced to commemorate the school's fiftieth anniversary in 1964 can be read HERE.]
The technology of the Internet is dependent on ordinary telephone lines so that large graphic files like photographs can take a few seconds to appear on your computer screen. (The reason you are reading this otherwise quite useless piece of information, by the way, is to allow time for the photographs below to download. Text, however, appears almost instantaneously, so you can read these words while the photographs arrive in a more leisurely manner.)
In the photograph that follows no attempt has been made to identify anyone: that's your job. The teachers are lined up on either side of the headmaster and headmistress. The sequence of left to right on your screen also represents left to right in the original photograph. Use the horizontal scroll bar to scroll across to each section and the vertical scroll bar to scroll up and down within each section.
To get back to the web site home page, click on any one of the 'Home Page' buttons at the bottom.
(Terry Norman, pupil 19581965)
Date this page last updated: October 1, 2010