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Bangor
City and Community
Bangor (49132325086).jpg
View of the city from Porth Penrhyn in 2019
Bangor is located in Gwynedd
Bangor
Bangor
Population 18,322 (2019 UK Office for National Statistics)
Demonym Bangorian
OS grid reference SH580722
• Cardiff 184 miles (296 km)
• London 258 miles (415 km)
Community
  • Bangor
Principal area
Ceremonial county
  • Gwynedd
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BANGOR
Postcode district LL57
Dialling code 01248
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament
  • Arfon
Welsh Assembly
  • Arfon
List of places
UK
Wales
Gwynedd
53°13′41″N 4°07′41″W / 53.228°N 4.128°W / 53.228; -4.128
A View of Bangor Pier from the other side of the Menai Straits - 2 October 2020
A view of Garth Pier
Bangor-Wales-map
A map of Bangor from 2018      City/community boundary      Countryside      Urban area
Bangormap1947
A map of Bangor from 1947
Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor
Ysbyty Gwynedd (Gwynedd Hospital)

Bangor is a cathedral city and community in Gwynedd, North Wales. It is the oldest city in Wales. Historically part of Caernarfonshire, it had a population of 18,322 at the 2019 UK Office for National Statistics. The city is best know for local landmarks such as Menai Suspension Bridge connecting the city and Isle of Anglesey, Bangor Cathedral, Bangor University and Garth Pier.

History

A plan & view of a chain bridge - erecting over the menai at Bangor Ferry 1820
An image of the Bangor Chain Bridge constructed in 1820 connecting Bangor with Anglesey
A market day in Bangor
A market day in Bangor, 1856
The city of Bangor, Caernarvonshire
Looking down on Bangor ca. 1860

The origins of the city date back to the founding of a monastic establishment on the site of Bangor Cathedral by the Celtic saint Deiniol in the early 6th century AD. Bangor itself is an old Welsh word for a wattled enclosure, such as the one that originally surrounded the cathedral site. The present cathedral is a somewhat more recent building and has been extensively modified throughout the centuries.

While the building itself is not the oldest, and certainly not the biggest, the bishopric of Bangor is one of the oldest in the UK. Another claim to fame is that Bangor allegedly has the longest High Street in Wales and the United Kingdom. Friars School was founded as a free grammar school in 1557, and Bangor University was founded in 1884.

In 1877, the former HMS Clio became a school ship, moored on the Menai Strait at Bangor, and had 260 pupils. Closed after the end of hostilities of World War I, she was sold for scrap and broken up in 1919.

During World War II, parts of the BBC evacuated to Bangor during the worst of the Blitz.

Geography

Bangor lies on the coast of North Wales near the Menai Strait which separates the island of Anglesey from Gwynedd unitary authority, the town of Menai Bridge lying just over the strait. The combined population of the two amounts to 22,184 people. Bangor Mountain lies to the east of the main part of the city, but the large housing estate of Maesgeirchen, originally built as council housing, is to the east of the mountain near Port Penrhyn.

Bangor Mountain casts a shadow across the High Street, Glan Adda and Hirael areas, so that from November to March some parts of the High Street in particular receive no direct sunlight. Another ridge rises to the north of the High Street, dividing the city centre from the south shore of the Menai Strait; this area is known as Upper Bangor (Bangor Uchaf).

Bangor has two rivers within its boundaries. The River Adda is a largely culverted watercourse which only appears above ground at its western extremities near the Faenol estate, whilst the River Cegin enters Port Penrhyn at the eastern edge of the city. Port Penrhyn was an important port in the 19th century, exporting the slates produced at the Penrhyn Quarry.

Transport

  • Bangor railway station is on the North Wales Coast Line from Crewe and Chester to Holyhead.
  • The A5 runs through the centre of Bangor, providing a route to Holyhead, as well as Snowdonia, Shrewsbury and London.
  • The A55 runs immediately to the south of Bangor, providing a route to Holyhead and Chester.
  • The nearest airport with international flights is Liverpool John Lennon Airport, 83 miles (134 km) by road.
  • Bangor lies at the western end of the North Wales Path, a 60-mile (97 km) long-distance coastal walking route to Prestatyn.
  • Bangor is on routes NCR 5, NCR 8 and NCR 85 of the National Cycle Network.

Culture

Music and Arts

Classical music is performed regularly in Bangor, with concerts given in the Powis and Prichard-Jones Halls as part of the university's Music at Bangor concert series. The city is also home to Storiel (the new name for the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery). A new arts centre, the Pontio arts complex, is earmarked for completion in the summer of 2014., this was delayed until opening November 2015

Bangor hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1890, 1902, 1915, 1931, 1940 (through the medium of radio), 1943, 1971 and 2005, as well as an unofficial National Eisteddfod event in 1874.

Garth Pier

Garth Pier is the second longest pier in Wales, and the ninth longest in the British Isles, at 1,500 feet (460 m) in length. It was opened in 1893 and was a promenade pier, for the amusement of holiday-makers who could stroll among the pinnacle-roofed kiosks.

In 1914 it was struck by a vessel that had broken free of its moorings. The damaged section was repaired temporarily by the Royal Engineers, but when in 1922, a permanent repair was contemplated, it was found that the damage was more severe than had been thought. The repairs were made at considerable cost and the pier remained open until 1974 when it was nearly condemned as being in poor condition. It was sold for a nominal price to Arfon Borough Council who proposed to demolish it, but the County Council, encouraged by local support, ensured that it survived by obtaining Grade II Listed building status for it.

When it was listed that year, the British Listed Buildings inspector considered it to be "the best in Britain of the older type of pier without a large pavilion at the landward end". Restoration work took place between 1982 and 1988, and the pier was re-opened to the public on 7 May 1988. In November 2011, essential repair work was reported to be required, the cost being estimated at £2 million. A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund was sought but the application was rejected.

Bangor Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St Deiniol is a Grade I Listed building and is set in a sloping oval churchyard. The site has been used for Christian worship since the sixth century but the present building dates from the twelfth century. It has a two-bay chancel, transepts, a crossing tower, a seven-bay nave and a tower at the west end.

Play

The Archdeacon's House in Bangor was the setting for act 3, scene I of William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1.

Retail trade

Bangor has a central shopping area around the High Street, and retail outlets on Caernarfon Road, on the outskirts of the city. One of these is St. David's Retail Park, built on the site of the demolished St David's maternity hospital.

In 1865, Morris Wartski, a refugee from the Tsarist pogroms, first established a jewellery business on Bangor's High Street, and then a drapery store. His son, Isidore, went on to develop the drapery business and to create a large, fashionable, store. He also redeveloped the Castle Inn on High Street in Bangor, which then became the high-class Castle Hotel.

Wartski was a very popular mayor of the city and a great patron of local sports and charities. Wartski Fields were bequeathed to the city and people of Bangor by his widow, Winifred Marie, in memory of Isidore Wartski.

Welsh Language

Bangor is located within Gwynedd, the most Welsh-speaking county in Wales, in which 65.4% of people over age three said they could speak Welsh according to the 2011 Census. However, Bangor has, for a relatively long time, been significantly more Anglicised than its hinterland and the rest of Gwynedd in general, mostly because of the large student population. While notable nearby towns in Gwynedd, such as Bethesda and Caernarfon were still more than 75% and 80% Welsh speaking, respectively, in 2011, Bangor was already only 53.4% Welsh speaking as early as 1971.

In 2011, only 36% of the population of Bangor said they could speak Welsh; a significant decrease from the 46% recorded at the 2001 Census. However, that does not necessarily mean that 36% of the towns population speaks Welsh habitually or that such a figure is true of all age groups; reports of the local primary schools suggest that as few as 25% of school children speak Welsh as their main language at home. This does, however vary significantly from primary school to primary school. In 2015, of those pupils 5 years and over, the following percentages spoke Welsh fluently at home:

  • Ysgol Ein Harglwyddes - < 3%
  • Ysgol Cae Top - < 3%
  • Ysgol Glanadda - < 10%
  • Ysgol Hirael - 10%
  • Ysgol Glancegin - 14%
  • Ysgol Llandygai - 17%
  • Ysgol Babanod Coed Mawr - < 17%
  • Ysgol Y Faenol - 23%
  • Ysgol Y Garnedd - 61%

The reasons for this are that the city has for long been the most cosmopolitan settlement in Gwynedd, attracting the most incomers from both England and further afield, with Bangor University being a key institution. At the 2011 Census, 49.3% of Bangor's population was born outside Wales. Nevertheless, a majority of the City's inhabitants were able to speak Welsh beyond the 1971 Census, and Welsh certainly was the majority vernacular of the town in the Interwar Period; at the 1921 Census, 75.8% of Bangor's inhabitants could speak Welsh with 68.4% of those aged 3–4 being able to, indicating that Welsh was being transmitted to the youngest generation in most homes. The 1931 Census showed little change, with 76.1% of the overall population being able to speak Welsh.

Twin towns



Sport

Bangor has a long-established football team, Bangor City F.C. which currently competes in the Cymru North, the second tier of Welsh football. Bangor City won the Welsh Premier League on three occasions (1994, 1995, 2011) and were continuous members of the league since its inception until 2018. Bangor City have also won the Welsh Cup eight times, most recently in the 2010 competition. Before 1992 they were members of the English football pyramid, peaking with the Northern Premier League title in 1982 and being FA Trophy runners-up in 1984. They have also competed in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup three times (including its final season, 1998–99, before being merged into the UEFA Cup), UEFA Champions League twice, and UEFA Cup five times, though they have not progressed far in any of the European competitions.

Fans wanting to protect football in the city, formed a breakaway club called Bangor 1876 F.C. in the summer of 2019 and on 19 June 2019, the FAW announced the new club had been accepted into the Gwynedd League for the 2019–20 season.

Bangor is also home to rugby union team Bangor RFC who play in the WRU Division Two North league. As well as the city's team, the university boasts a very competitive rugby union team, which won the title in its BUCS league in mid-2016.

Education

Bangor University and Coleg Menai are located in the city. There are a few Secondary schools, these include Ysgol Friars, Ysgol Tryfan and St. Gerard's School. There are also a number of primary and infant schools. Ysgol Y Faenol, Ysgol Y Garnedd and Ysgol Cae Top are all primary schools.

Notable people

See Category:People from Bangor, Gwynedd
  • Errie Ball (1910–2014), golfer, played in first Masters Tournament in 1934.
  • Duffy (born 1984), singer-songwriter. First Welsh woman to achieve number one on the UK Singles Chart since 1983.
  • John Edward Daniel (1902–1962), theologian and Plaid Cymru political leader.
  • Matthew Dent (born 1981), graphic artist and designer of the redesigned 2008 British coinage.
  • Cai Griffiths (born 1984), rugby player playing for London Welsh.
  • Wayne Hennessey (born 1987), footballer (goalkeeper) playing for Wales and Burnley.
  • Owain Tudur Jones (born 1984), professional footballer.
  • Angus McDermid (1920–1988), BBC News foreign correspondent.
  • Eddie Niedzwiecki (born 1959), goalkeeper and professional footballer.
  • Harry Parry (1912–1956), jazz clarinetist and bandleader.
  • Ben Roberts (1950–2021), actor, who was known for playing Chief Inspector Derek Conway in the British television series, The Bill.
  • Sasha (born 1969), DJ and record producer.
  • Gwilym Simcock (born 1981), pianist and composer.
  • Alex Thomson (born 1974), record-breaking solo around-the-world sailor.
  • John Francon Williams FRGS (1854–1911) editor, journalist, writer, geographer, historian, cartographer and inventor. Williams was born in Llanllechid and lived in Bangor during his childhood.

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