Memorial Garden

The Aberfan Memorial Garden is located on the site of the former Pantglas Junior School. On the 21st of October of 1966, a spoil heap collapsed and engulfed the school, killing 116 children and 28 adults, in what is now known as the Aberfan Disaster.

The garden was opened in 1970 and is managed by the Aberfan Memorial Trust. Some of the school playground wall has been retained while the other walls outline the layout of the school. 

In 2019, the Aberfan Memorial Trust commissioned a renovation of the memorial site. The National Botanic Garden of Wales helped to design a new, bee-friendly garden. Some of the old walls were replaced.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles both visited the garden to present sapling trees in remembrance of the disaster victims. There is also a tree that was planted by local schoolchildren on the 50th anniversary and another dedicated to the teachers and staff at the school.  

The renovated garden features reclaimed materials, such as stone from disused local bridges that were used to rebuild the walls.

During our visit to the memorial garden with the children of the Rhyd Y Grug primary school, as part of the workshops for If My Town Could Talk, we spoke with Jeff Edwards, a survivor of the disaster and the last child to be pulled from the debris alive. He told us about the history of the memorial garden and his survival experience.

The children were moved by Jeff’s story and asked him lots of questions about his rescue from the buried school. It was the first time that many had spoken with a disaster survivor from the community. The experience was poignant and memorable. Some of the students later told us that they would like to spend more time in the memorial garden, as usually they only visit once a year.

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