Fortunately, changes in the sixties meant that I missed the dreaded lottery of the 11-plus examination which determined whether you were streamed for the Grammar School or the secondary modern.
In Rhyl, during the transition to comprehensive schools, the old Secondary Modern School was used as a junior high school where we went for the first two years of secondary school whilst additional capacity was built at the old Grammar School on Grange Road. We reached the Senior High School, as it was now called in 1970, the second cohort of comprehensive kids… the buildings were not ready… so we shared lots of mobile classrooms in the interim. It was one of the mobile toilets for the workmen building the new school block which was “rendered tottering” by some miscreant with a spanner in Beyond the Reso.
As part of the additional capacity, new brick buildings were erected and to the anger of many Rhyl residents, the old red brick central building of the school was demolished to be replaced by a building with breeze blocks and glass, which was the avant-garde style of the time.
The old building was elegant architecturally but was not really fit for purpose, the classrooms were dark and dingy and those facing on to Grange Road were accessed by rickety stairs. This was in part to accommodate a library which would have graced a stately home, and which we were never allowed into. Many teachers seemed to take the view that now all and sundry were attending what had been the Grammar School, such places of culture should be strictly quarantined.
By 1973 the building work had been completed and we had a new drama and sixth form block as well as an indoor pool which replaced the outdoor pool on the promenade, much to our disappointment. Christ Church Primary School decanted into the old Glyndwr site as their school was demolished.
Rhyl High School buildings are in the news again in 2016 as all the quadrangle of the original Grammar School and even some of the building built to supplement them in the seventies are being levelled to be replaced by a new building. Having been involved in the planning and commissioning of new school buildings during my time on the Building Schools for the Future programme, the new building looks to have all the hallmarks of the architects having the whip hand on design issues. The frontal glass and large atrium, much beloved of the building companies and their creative teams, together with a glass fronted gallery are common design mistakes which anyone involved in learning in schools would shun! Click on the link below…