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Group of people being shown around building

Former pupils return to Llwyn y Bryn

It was a walk down memory lane for a group of former Llwyn y Bryn pupils when they returned recently for a special guided tour.

The friends, led by Liz Mundee, attended Llwyn y Bryn Grammar School from 1965 to 1972.

The beautiful old building now forms part of Gower College Swansea and is home to a diverse group of students who study a range of subjects including art and design, photography, music and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).

The group were met and given a guided tour by Learning Area Manager Kieran Keogh and they had brought along a selection of photographs taken during their time as pupils so they could compare the ‘then and now.’

“We had a wonderful visit,” says Liz. “Kieran was so accommodating, and it was very interesting to hear what is going on in the College today.

“I began at Llwyn y Bryn in September 1965. I had to catch two buses to get there which was very daunting for me. The school seemed so huge when I first arrived. So many corridors and classrooms. The sixth formers looked so grown up and important, I was very nervous of them.

“I enjoyed playing netball, rounders, singing in the choirs and taking part in the Eisteddfods. I was excited to be selected to teach and conduct the House Choir when I was in the sixth form.

“I studied maths, English literature and language, French, Welsh, history, geography, music and general science. I also studied music and English at A Level.

“I have had a very successful teaching career  and I am very thankful to Llwyn y Bryn school for the high standards that were set. At times I found these intimidating as I was very shy but looking back, I know they helped to shape me into the strong woman I became.

“Memories of my time at Llwyn y Bryn include a wonderful trip to Norway in the fourth year, no running in the corridors, always wearing berets outside of school, the sixth form staircase, the wonderful wooden veranda overlooking the netball courts, the ‘cricket pitch’ that was a very steep slope where we were allowed to sit at break times, school assemblies, the school hymn ‘Now thank we all our God,’ and black gowns flying behind the teachers as they hurried down the corridors!

“I was very excited to come back to the school and it was wonderful to meet up with some of the girls from my year. It was lovely to see our old school still serving the community as a College and the courses offered are very interesting and diverse.”

More memories of Llwyn y Bryn:

Iris Duffy

“I enjoyed coming back to Llwyn y Bryn and seeing what had changed since I left.  

“When I was at school, I remember one of the music teachers made me sing over and over 'If music be the food of love, sing on…' I never pronounced ‘music’ to her satisfaction!

We usually had exams once a year and we used to take in mascots. I had a troll or ‘Dolli hyll’ as my Welsh teacher used to say. I also remember a garden party on the bottom field and inviting boys to come along!”

Eirwen Richards

“The only thing I really remember is that I was the youngest in our year so was the youngest of the school. First speech day at the Brangwyn Hall I was dragged out of my seat and taken to the side of the stage and given a bouquet of flowers to present to the mayoress. It was around October 1965.”

Jackie Allen

“Something I remember fondly is listening to a piece of classical music during assembly on a Thursday morning.”

Marilyn Tozer

“I remember berets on at all times when we were outside!  I remember things like door monitors - girls who would open the door for the teacher leaving the classroom. Can’t imagine that these days!

“Going back was amazing! It felt a lot more like the school than I thought it would.”

Yvonne Smith

“There were a lot of rules and traditions that we were expected to keep to but it meant that everyone knew what was expected of them. The school motto - the journey to high honour lies not in smooth ways - highlighted this.

“As you progressed through the school there were certain landmarks like sixth formers being allowed to use the staff entrance, the sixth form stairway in front of the headmistress's room and having access to the lawn.

“Many members of staff had been at the school from leaving university. My aunt left in 1943 and remembered young teachers like Miss Butler (Welsh) Miss Phillips (French) Miss Nock (Biology) and Miss Solomon, the school secretary. Most staff swept into the classroom in their black gowns and instantly generated silence and respect, while we stood until given permission to sit.

“It was brilliant going back to the school. Of course, things have changed with modern teaching methods and the need to provide access for all students throughout the old building but it was still possible to see the shape of my old school and it highlighted so many good memories. It was also a pleasure to see the beautiful artwork of today's students.”

Christine Evans

“I took Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Latin, all of which helped me in my nursing career. It was great to see the old building.”  

Rita Evans

“I enjoyed assembly at school, especially singing the hymns and getting into the choir. I enjoyed entering things into the Eisteddfod art competition and one year I came second with a drawing I did of my niece. I also did a lino cutting which was used on the cover of the school magazine

“I really enjoyed meeting up with the other former pupils. It was nice that I could remember some of them from school. It was also lovely to see how the school has changed in all those years, but great that so much has also stayed the same. The gardens and grounds of the school are still stunning. It did feel strange to actually go into the Headmistress’s room and also to see that the beautiful wooden staircases are still there.”

Allyson Evans

“The bit I remember most from the school was the sports - like rounders, netball and hockey which I loved, and I played in the school teams visiting neighbouring schools for matches.

I remember the quite eccentric teachers and the strict rules like wearing your beret from home to school to home and not daring, certainly in the first months, to take it off at all during your journey to and from school!

As for the return a few weeks ago, I found it quite nostalgic. There were nine of us and I had been friendly with most of them so that was lovely and, once you looked closely, those young girls were still there.”