Well knock me down with a feather. Or more of a bulldozer actually, as we finally see my old secondary school, a testament to that marvellously monstrous 70’s architecture, demolished.
Barry’s Bryn Hafren School for Girls, which looked like a prison and felt like one, is now no more – just a pile of rubble full of bricks, mortar, and memories of halcyon days gone by.
Mind you, they could have saved some cash on a demolition team as I reckon as there’s a fair few women who’d happily have turned up to kick a few walls down – myself included.
A £33.8m posh Pencoedtre High School, with its views to the sea, a full-size sports hall, science labs, and music studios, now stands proudly on the site.
The project is part of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s 21st Century Schools programme, which has also seen Whitmore High re-built and a major upgrade for the Bro Morgannwg school which takes pupils from three to 18.
I’m absolutely ecstatic for the pupils of the future but there were no such lovely luxuries like this back in the day.
Us Eighties’ kids had to make do with bog standard stuff, a sad little swimming pool, and nipping up the path at break time for some brief respite.
None of that modern mixed sex nonsense either. We had the Boy’s School and the Girl’s School and bever the twain would meet – well apart from up the Comp Disco on a Friday…but that’s a different story.
And what about the uniform we had to wear too. The person who thought that we should wear bottle green throughout our school days, switching to brown in the sixth form, certainly had a sense of humour…or a sadistic streak.
Never mind the colours – A line skirt, stuffy uncomfortable blazer, long socks, horrendous shoes and a satchel. What a challenge that was for a fashion-conscious female.
You just had to chuck a Biker’s leather over the top, super style your mullet, and hope for the best really.
Truth be told though, I will ever be grateful for to that bizarre building that was Bryn Hafren for the much-loved memories of my mates, and the friendships formed over five years of laughter and learning.
Solid, safe connections with a great gang of girls, a core of which I still hang out with today. There’s also those I bump into around town – and the rest are sitting serenely on my Socials.
So it wasn’t all Bryn Hafren bad really…every cloud and all that.
The Voice of Our Community
Sue Vincent-Jones, blogging as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and activist. She writes about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
Written exclusively for the Vale’s newest newspaper, and digital platform, The Glamorgan Star, her latest ‘Passing Comment’ column, an addition to the infamous Sue’s Views collection, can be found here.