CYMDEITHAS HANES LLEOL RHUTHUN
RUTHIN LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
RHOS STREET PRIMARY SCHOOL
The rise of non-conformism in Ruthin and Wales more generally in the early nineteenth century led to pressure for non-Anglican primary schools, known as ‘British’ schools, to provide non-denominational education. Rhos Street School was such a school.
Founded in 1840, it initially used the Anglican Chapel of Ease in Rhos Street before acquiring its own building nearby; five years later, described as ‘an iron building of neat appearance’. Ironically, this was funded principally by an Anglican, George Johnson of Llanrhudd Hall. The present stone building, designed by Richard Cash (as was the similar but rival Borthyn ‘National’ Anglican primary school), was erected in the fashionable Elizabethan revival style in 1848.
Restricted to boys initially, girls were admitted in 1847 and children from the nearby Ruthin Workhouse two years later. From an initial intake of 193, pupil numbers swelled to 289 by 1895, an unusually large number given the population of Ruthin at that time. Again, for its time, the school had a very wide curriculum. In the 1930s the school became a local authority Mixed Council School, with 132 pupils. Numbers had increased to 169 by 2013, by which time it had been re-designated a County Primary School. In 1984, popular demand for a separate Welsh language primary school, led to the creation of Ysgol Pen Barras, sharing the same site. Its initial intake of 58 pupils had risen to 248 by 2011, putting enormous pressure on space and resources and growing demand for new premises for both schools. They leave for their new location in 2018 with well-established reputations.
This article appeared initially in Town and Around, published by the Ruthin and District Civic Association.