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Closed petition SAVE COWBRIDGE OLD GIRLS’ SCHOOL FROM DEMOLITION
We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to protect the former Intermediate School for Girls’ in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan. This was the first intermediate school to be built specifically for the education of girls in Wales (and England) and is the subject of a planning application for demolition. Failure to protect it will lead to the loss of a nationally important historic asset.
Opened in 1896, Cowbridge was the first girls’ intermediate school to be built in Wales (and England) as a result of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889, a pivotal moment in Welsh History. Amid its contemporaries, Cowbridge was highly unusual in including accommodation for boarders from the outset and largely funded by a local philanthropist.
The original character of the school survives to a very high degree, both internally and externally, including the original hall and staircase. Only 5 comparable (of 95) schools are listed across Wales. A survey of them all confirms that Cowbridge survives to an equivalent degree to some and a better degree than others.
The architect, Robert Williams, was a pioneer of his time and renowned for being a radical, prominent advocate of building conservation, national pioneer of social housing, promoter of the Welsh School of Architecture and proponent for the publication of building literature in the Welsh language. He later went on to work in London and then Egypt for the Davies Bryan family, where many of his buildings still stand and are nationally protected.
In summary, the former Cowbridge Intermediate School for Girls’ survives as a prominent and attractive testimony to a pivotal moment in Welsh history and the equal opportunities afforded to underprivileged girls of the time. We urge the Welsh Government, as custodians of our heritage, to protect this building either through listing or the provision of additional social housing funding to allow its conversion.
Reference: Scourfield (2019). FORMER COWBRIDGE COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL, ABERTHIN ROAD, COWBRIDGE - AN HISTORICAL AND ARCHITECTURAL APPRAISAL.
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