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Cathays Municipal Secondary School; Cathays High School

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Cathays Municipal Secondary opened on 15 September 1931 in the Maendy district of Cardiff, becoming the fourth secondary school built by the Cardiff Education Committee. With separate boys and girls deparments, accommodation at the school was for 350 boys and 350 girls. The new school, located next to Maindy Barracks (opened 1877, NPRN 422149), consisted of two floors, boasted modern facilities, including separate assembly halls for each department, gymnasia, manual instruction rooms, laboratories, and classrooms. The school was designed by the City Engineer, George Whitaker and was reportedly built at a cost of around £53,000 by contractors W. S. Eglen of Pencisely Road, Cardiff. The main school building consists of a central two storey block with gymnasium and hall, and adjoining wings to the north east and south west with a main corridor running from each end and classrooms off to the south east side. Made of wire-cut bricks supplied by the Penarth Brick Company, Cogan, and 'Upho' multicolour 'Rus' facing bricks supplied by the Ravenhead Sanitary Pipe and Brick Company (Upholland, Wigan). The main building has slate pitched roofs and a classically influenced pedimented main façade on New Zealand Road with four Ionic columns and two pilasters. Original boys' and girls' entrances have portland stone surrounds with inscribed curved pediments. Surrounding the school is an ornamental iron railing designed by W. Rowe.

Notable post-war extensions were made at Cathays, including supplementing the two wings with additional classes to the north west side facing New Zealand Road and several ancillary buildings around the site including a three-storey D&T block, sports hall, and a more recent teaching block adjacent to the south west wing.

The school is located next to Maindy Barracks (opened 1877) and there are plans under the 21st Century Schools Programme (Band B: Sustainable Communities for Learning) to expand the school from 1,072 places to 1,450 places and replace the current Cathays High School buildings with new build accommodation on the Maindy Centre site adjacent to Crown Way and North Road from 2023.

M. Powel, RCAHMW. November 2022.

Sources: Aerofilms Collection AFC_6544165. RCAHMW; Cardiff Directory (Cardiff: Western Mail & Echo Ltd, 1937); Cardiff Council consultation documents; City of Cardiff Reports of Education Committee Reports, 1928–1931. Glamorgan Archives; Linnett, Clive Peter, ‘Secondary Technical Schools in England and Wales: A Study of Administrative and Curriculum Policies’, PhD thesis, University of Leeds, September 1986; Ordnance Survey Historical maps; ‘Population’, Digest of Welsh Historical Statistics 1974–1996Western Mail (18 January 1928, 31 October 1928, 3 October 1930, 12 December 1930, 22 October 1931, 30 October 1931).