By B. A. Harrington
THP 600 boys of St. Illtyd's College in Cardiff. the only boys' aided grammar school in Wales, will begin their autumn term on Tuesday in magnificent new buildings overlooking the Bristol Channel,
Their move, from cramped, outof-date quarters to the new school at Llanrumney, on the road to Newport, is the result of a 20-yeat struggle to gain building permission from the local authority. In spite of St. Illtyd's many set. backs, few schools can have had a greater impact upon the Catholic life of the district they serve. When the late Archbishop Moslyn of Cardiff brought in a few De La Salle Brothers to establish a grammes school in 1923, the Catholics of Cardiff, mostly of Irish descent, lived in a physical, culturai and spiritual ghetto near the docks and steel works.
There Was hardly any Catholic professional or middle class. The wealthier families sent. their children to public schools. and few educated Catholics had their roots in the city. Their influence on Welsh society was relatively insignificant.
TROUBLE Economic conditions were ali against advancement. Pupils had to pay fees and buy their own hooks. Troubles in the coal industry hurt the Catholic working class. The Brothers walked the parishes begging parents to send their boys to the school. But even the small fees were not always paid and it seemed that the school could not continue.
In 1928 Br. Gilbert was sent as headmaster with an ultimatum. either close the school or make it a success — quickly. He met the challenge with a combination ol teaching skill, enthusiasm, high standards and an organising genius. The 1944 Education Act called for better buildings than the site permitted. But the school failed to gain direct grant status, and although hundreds sought admission the Cardiff Education Committee did not give St. Illtyd's priority. Finally, the local Members of Parliament succeeded in convincing the Ministry of Education to give the school a place on the building programme.