Educational Work in Cardiff Prison.
In 1922, a request was made by the Governor of the prison, to the Education Committee of the Welsh National Council of YMCAs, for the service of lecturers and tutors to give instruction to small groups of prisoners. The work had to be voluntary since state funds were not available for this purpose.
The request was favourably received and several lecturers agreed to take evening classes in appropriate subjects. Two classes were arranged in "Current Affairs" and "English" respectively and taken by experienced grammar school teachers.
The work proceeded smoothly. Class members engaged freely in discussion. At first a warder sat with the group but subsequently some teachers suggested this was not necessary. The experiment was successful and in a short time other groups requested class teachers in different subjects. These
activities increased and by 1925 a class met every night from Saturday and sometimes two classes in the same evening. Such required additional tutors end an excellent panel of teachers The subjects at that time included Current Affairs, History, English Literature, French, Mining, Ambulance Work and Crafts week).
Monday to progress was prepared. English, (twice each
In the same year Professor Barbara Foxley of the University
Cardiff, was invited by the Home Office to become the Honorary Adviser in Education on the women's side, to the Prison Governor, and the Welsh National Secretary of the YMCA was invited to become Honorary Adviser on the men's side. Additionally in 1927, the Education Committee was invited to recommend the names of three YMCA lecturers to become "Official Visitors" at Cardiff Prison and the heart-to-heart talks with prisoners were a valuable service undertaken by YMCA laymen.
The prison educational programme had made such great progress that it was stated in the 1925 report of the Welsh National Council of YMCAs that no less than 445 meetings had been held under the guidance of YMCA lecturers and tutors.
A new feature was introduced in 1928. A Sunday night programme which included a short lecture on some topical subject and several solos by two artistes.
The meeting, held in the Prison Chapel was attended by all available prisoners, both men and women.
In the same year another new feature was the Gymnastic Class. The equipment was secured by some friends of the Association and a competent young YMCA member from the Pontypridd YMCA instructed the class.
This work was still flourishing in 1930 when classes continued to be held every night of the week and the following programme implemented: