Papers of St. David's College School

Scope and Content

The group contains papers, relating to St. David's College School, along with a small number of papers of Lampeter Grammar School. These include correspondence; financial papers; registers; papers relating to sports teams; school magazines; reports; papers relating to exams and papers concerning the unveiling of the commemorative plaque.

Administrative / Biographical History

St. David's College School was established in 1884. During the mid-nineteenth century, Lampeter had a thriving grammar school, but by the 1880s it had virtually ceased to exist. The college authorities, under Principal F J Jayne, decided therefore to open an intermediate school attached to the college, based upon the model of the University College and King's College schools in London. Stables and coach houses in the college grounds were converted, and classes began in January 1884.

Originally, the school had 20 pupils. After a year, this had increased to 72. Generous gifts from subscribers allowed for further expansion and the provision of scholarships for local boys. The Governing Body of the school was largely made up of members of the college board. School finances were handled at the college bursary, senior boys attended college lectures and a school service was held at the college chapel every Sunday afternoon. Thus strong links between college and school were maintained. A variety of courses were on offer at the school, and pupils were trained for commerce, agriculture, law, medicine and the civil service, but most wished to go on to gain entry to St. David's College, and subsequently one of the old universities with which it had strong links.

St. David's College School was recognised as providing a good standard education, and by 1898 it had delivered 140 boys to the college. This was in addition to the members of the Matriculation Class for senior men wishing to gain entry to St. David's College. During the early twentieth century the school prospered, receiving glowing reports from inspectors and gaining local authority and Board of Education grants.

Yet by the 1930s, the situation had changed. Fewer boys were now entering the college. The local authority grants had also either decreased or disappeared. In 1938, the college offered the school buildings to the local education authority for use as a secondary school, but were refused. Under Principal Archdall, it was finally concluded that maintaining the school was no longer in the interests of the college. In 1943, a poor report by inspectors prompted the establishment of a college committee to investigate the issue. It concluded that the school should remain open only until a secondary school was established in the town. The school finally closed in July 1945. The buildings continued to be used by the college for various purposes until they were demolished in 1973, and the school's old boys placed a commemorative plaque on site in 1979.