Bangor, Gwynedd

Bangor (English: /ˈbæŋɡər/; Welsh: [ˈbaŋɡɔr]) is a city and community in Gwynedd, northwest Wales. It is the oldest city in Wales, and one of the smallest cities in the United Kingdom. Historically in Caernarfonshire, it is a university city with a population of 18,808 at the 2011 census,[1] including around 10,500 students at Bangor University. It is one of only six places classed as a city in Wales, although it is only the 25th-largest urban area by population. At the 2001 census, 46.6% of the non-student resident population spoke Welsh.[2]

Panorama Bangor 03 977
Bangor is located in Gwynedd
Location within Gwynedd
Population18,810 (2011 census)
OS grid referenceSH580722
• Cardiff184 miles (296 km)
• London258 miles (415 km)
  • Bangor
Principal area
Ceremonial county
  • Gwynedd
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBANGOR
Postcode districtLL57
Dialling code01248
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
EU ParliamentWales
UK Parliament
Welsh Assembly
A map of Bangor from 2018
  City/community boundary
  Urban area
A map of Bangor from 1947
Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor
Ysbyty Gwynedd


A market day in Bangor.jpeg
A market day in Bangor, 1856
The city of Bangor, Caernarvonshire.jpeg
Looking down on Bangor ca. 1860
A plan & view of a chain bridge - erecting over the menai at Bangor Ferry 1820.jpeg
An early design for the Menai Suspension Bridge constructed in 1826 connecting Bangor with Anglesey

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,[3] 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.[4] Friars School was founded as a free grammar school in 1557, and the University College of North Wales (later 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.

In June 2012 Bangor was the first ever city in the UK to impose a city centre wide night time curfew on under-16s. The six-month trial was brought in by Gwynedd Council and North Wales police, but opposed by civil rights groups.[5]

City status

Bangor has been unique outside of England in using the title of 'city' by ancient prescriptive right,[6] due to its long-standing cathedral. However, city status was officially conferred on it by the Queen in 1974.
By means of various measures, it also is one of the smallest cities in the UK.
Using 2011 statistics, comparing Bangor to:

  • Population of city council areas in Wales, is third (16,358 residents)[7] with St Davids (1,841) and St Asaph (3,355)
  • City council area size within Wales, is the second smallest city (2.79 sq mi) behind St Asaph (2.49)
  • Urban areas within Wales, is third placed (1.65 sq mi) behind St Davids (0.23) and St Asaph (0.50)
  • City council area size within the UK, is fourth after the City of London (1.12 sq mi), Wells and St Asaph
  • Urban areas within the UK, is fifth placed
  • Population of city council areas within the UK, is sixth.


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 as of the 2011 census. 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.



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 complex, Pontio, the replacement for Theatr Gwynedd, was scheduled for completion in the summer of 2014,[8] but the opening was delayed until November 2015.[9]

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.[10]

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".[11] Restoration work took place between 1982 and 1988, and the pier was re-opened to the public on 7 May 1988.[10] 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.[12]

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.[13]


The Archdeacon's House in Bangor was the setting for act 3, scene I of William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1.[14]

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

Gwynedd is the most Welsh-speaking county in Wales, with 65.4% of people saying they could speak it at the 2011 Census, although Bangor has been significantly more Anglicised than its hinterland and the rest of Gwynedd, mostly because of the large student population. While nearby towns in Gwynedd, such as Bethesda and Caernarfon were still 75-80% Welsh speaking in 2011,[15] Bangor was already only 53.4% Welsh speaking as early as 1971.[16]

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.[17][18][18] In 2015, of primary school pupils 5 years and over, the following percentages spoke Welsh fluently at home:[19]

  • 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 city has long been the most cosmopolitan settlement in Gwynedd, attracting 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.[17][18][18] Nevertheless, Welsh was the majority vernacular of the town in the 1920s and 1930s; 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.[20] The 1931 Census showed little change, with 76.1% of the overall population being able to speak Welsh.[21]


Bangor University and Coleg Menai are located in the city. Secondary schools include Ysgol Friars, Ysgol Tryfan and St. Gerard's School. There are also a number of primary and infant schools.[22]


Ysbyty Gwynedd is located in Bangor in the suburb of Penrhosgarnedd. It has 432 beds, making it smaller than the other district general hospitals in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (after Wrexham Maelor Hospital with 629 beds and Glan Clwyd Hospital near Rhyl with 466 beds.[23]


Bangor has a long-established football team, Bangor City F.C. which competes in the Cymru Alliance. Bangor City have 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.

Many Bangor fans have been seen to have anger towards the Welsh FA for forcing Bangor into the Welsh Premier League when there are other Welsh teams in the English pyramid system. 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, of which won the title in its BUCS league in mid 2016.


Bangor is home to a small BBC broadcasting centre, producing a large amount of output for BBC Radio Cymru. The studios are also the main North-West Wales newsroom for television, radio and on-line. The BBC's Light Entertainment Department moved to Bangor during World War II and many classic programmes (like It's That Man Again) came from Bangor.

Bangor was also previously home to two commercial radio stations, Heart Cymru (serving Anglesey and Gwynedd) and the now-defunct Heart North Wales Coast (serving the North Wales Coast), which shared studio facilities on the Parc Menai office complex - the studios were closed in August 2010 after the stations were moved to Wrexham.

Bangor University also has its own student radio station called Storm FM, which broadcasts to the Ffriddoedd Site and from their website.

In 1967, The Beatles came to Bangor, staying in Dyfrdwy, one of the halls comprising Adeilad Hugh Owen (Hugh Owen Building), now part of the Management Centre, for their first encounter with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, during which visit they learned of the death of their manager Brian Epstein.[24][25]

On 24 February 2010 BBC Radio 1's The Chris Moyles Show announced Bangor as the location for Radio 1's Big Weekend concert festival. The morning show was broadcast on location from Bangor, with the announcement as well as a portion of the lineup being revealed. Big international acts such as Rihanna, MGMT, Kesha and Alicia Keys played as well as homegrown British acts like Biffy Clyro, Pixie Lott, Cheryl Cole, Pendulum and Dizzee Rascal.


Electoral wards in the city of Bangor, Gwynedd
Electoral wards in Bangor

Bangor lies within the Arfon constituency for elections to the UK parliament. Arfon is also the constituency for elections to the National Assembly for Wales.

The City of Bangor Council serves the people of the city, created in 1974 following Bangor assuming city status.[26] Twenty councillors are elected from the eight electoral wards in the city, namely: Deiniol (2), Dewi (3), Garth (2), Glyder (3), Hendre (2), Hirael (2), Marchog (3) and Menai (3). In 2017 half of the seats were won by Plaid Cymru.[27] The city also elects eight county councillors to Gwynedd Council. The Community of Pentir adjoins the city.

Notable people

See Category:People from Bangor, Gwynedd

Twin towns


  1. ^ Office for National Statistics 2011 census - Bangor C
  2. ^ "Local statistics - Office for National Statistics".
  3. ^ Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws. Oxford Univ., 1909. Accessed 31 Jan 2013.
  4. ^ "Bangor and the area". University of Bangor. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  5. ^ "It's 9.01pm in Bangor. Do you know where your children are? (If not, they might be locked up)". The Independent. London. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  6. ^ Beckett, John (2005), City Status in the British Isles, 1830–2002, Routledge, p. 12, ISBN 978-0-7546-5067-6
  7. ^ Official Labour Market Statistics, Nomis. "Custom report - Bangor".
  8. ^ "Bryn Terfel: Pontio theatre named after opera star in Bangor". 11 October 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Pontio centre opens its doors to the public in acrobatic 'Welcome Day'". 29 November 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Bangor Garth Pier, North Wales". The Heritage Trail. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Bangor Pier, Garth Road, Bangor". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Bangor Pier". National Piers Society. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Cathedral Church of St Deiniol, Bangor". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  14. ^ "SCENE I. Bangor. The Archdeacon's house".
  15. ^ "Welsh speakers by electoral division, 2011 Census". Welsh Government.
  16. ^ "Welsh-Speaking in Wales According to the 1971 Census". JSTOR 20000922.
  17. ^ a b Internet Memory Foundation. "ARCHIVED CONTENT UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives".
  18. ^ a b c d "Cyfrifiad: Niferoedd y siaradwyr Cymraeg wedi disgyn". Golwg360.
  19. ^ "Ystadegau am iaith disgyblion, Ionawr 2014 a 2015 - a Freedom of Information request to Welsh Government". WhatDoTheyKnow. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  20. ^ "HISTPOP.ORG - Search > Results > Counties of Carnarvon and Anglesey, 1921   Page Page i".
  21. ^ "HISTPOP.ORG - Search > Results > County of Anglesey and Caernarvon (Part I), 1931   Page Page xxii".
  22. ^ "Schools – Gwynedd Council". Archived from the original on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  23. ^ "NHS beds by organisation and site".
  24. ^ "Bangor and the Beatles". Bangor University. Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  25. ^ "The Beatles in Bangor". BBC Wales. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  26. ^ "History Of The Council". Bangor City Council. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  27. ^ "The City Council". Bangor City Council. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  28. ^ "Ball, the Last Master Standing, celebrates 100th birthday". Professional Golfers' Association of America. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2018.

External links

Archdeacon of Bangor

The Archdeacon of Bangor is the priest in charge of the archdeaconry of Bangor, an administrative division of the Church in Wales Diocese of Bangor. In 1844, the Archdeaconry of Bangor was combined with the Archdeaconry of Anglesey to form the Archdeaconry of Bangor and Anglesey. The archdeaconry comprises the seven deaneries of Archlechwedd, Arfon, Llifon/Talybolion, Malltraeth, Ogwen, Tyndaethwy and Twrcelyn.In 2018, the Archdeaconry was separated in diocesan boundary changes, with half becoming the new Archdeaconry of Anglesey, thus recreating the pre-1844 structure.

The current incumbent is Mary Stallard.

Bangor Cathedral

Bangor Cathedral (Welsh: Eglwys Gadeiriol Bangor) is an ancient place of Anglican worship in Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales. It is dedicated to its founder, Saint Deiniol.

The site of the present building of Bangor Cathedral has been in use as a place of Christian worship since the 6th century. The cathedral is built on a low-lying and inconspicuous site, possibly so as not to attract the attention of Viking raiders from the sea. The Gothic style building on the hill is part of the university.

Bangor City F.C.

Bangor City Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Bangor) are an amateur Welsh football club from the City of Bangor, Gwynedd.

Founded in 1877, Bangor City have played in the inaugural season of the Welsh Cup and the UEFA Europa League, along with being founder members of the North Wales Coast League, the Welsh National League, the North Wales Combination, the Welsh League (North), the Northern Premier League, the Alliance Premier League and the League of Wales.

The club's home colours have traditionally been royal blue shirts, royal blue shorts and royal blue socks, although over the years home colours have varied to include royal blue and yellow and scarlet and Royal blue.

Bangor RFC

Bangor Rugby Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Rygbi Bangor) is a Welsh rugby union team based in Bangor, North Wales. Bangor RFC is a founding member of the Welsh Rugby Union. The club fields a Seniors, Youth, Juniors and Ladies teams.

Bangor railway station (Wales)

Bangor railway station is a railway station in Bangor, Gwynedd, operated by Transport for Wales. The station, which is 24 3⁄4 miles (40 km) east of Holyhead, is the last mainland station on the North Wales Coast line between Crewe and Holyhead. It is the busiest in terms of passenger numbers in North Wales, as it serves the community around Caernarfon and further west, it is close to the Snowdonia National Park and Bangor University, and has an interchange with bus services to the various towns and villages of northern/western Gwynedd and Anglesey.

Capital Cymru

Capital Cymru is a local Welsh language radio station owned and operated by Global. The station broadcasts to Gwynedd and Anglesey from studios in Gwersyllt, Wrexham via the Arfon transmitting station.

Previously, the station formed part of the Heart network and earlier the Marcher Radio Group. It switched to Capital on Tuesday 6 May 2014. Heart North Wales now covers the region as part of the Heart network.

From May 2014 to May 2019, the station formed part of the Capital network.

Coleg Menai

Coleg Menai (Meaning in English: Menai College) is a further education college located in Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales. The college also has campuses in Parc Menai, Llangefni, Caernarfon and Holyhead.

The college provides a range of academic and vocational courses including A levels, Apprenticeships, English for Speakers of Other Languages programmes and Access courses. It also offers some higher education courses in conjunction with Bangor University, Glyndŵr University and the University of South Wales.

On April 2, 2012, Coleg Menai and Coleg Llandrillo Cymru (which included Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor) merged to create Grwp Llandrillo Menai, the largest further education institute in Wales.

Dafydd Ieuan

Dafydd Ieuan (born 1 March 1969, Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales) is a Welsh musician and producer, best known as the drummer with the band Super Furry Animals, The Peth and The Earth (band).Ieuan played with Gruff Rhys in their early band Ffa Coffi Pawb. He was a drummer for Welsh band Catatonia from 1993-1996, recording on their early singles and debut album Way Beyond Blue released in 1996. During the same period Super Furry Animals formed and Ieuan left Catatonia to focus on them.Ieuan runs the Cardiff-based label and recording studio Strangetown Records with brother Cian Ciaran and Mick Hilton. With Ciaran, he was awarded by BAFTA Wales 2011 for Original Music for the S4C drama Pen Talar filmed by Fiction Factory.Ieuan released The Golden Mile with The Peth ("The Thing" in Welsh) in 2008, with Welsh actor Rhys Ifans on vocals. A second album, Crystal Peth has been recorded but has yet to be released. With DJ and rapper Rashid "Wibidi" Omar, he recorded and produced music under the band name Wibidi. In 2013, he recorded with The Earth (band), with guitarist Mark Roberts (formerly of Catatonia), bassist Tristan Marley and vocalist Dionne Bennett.In 2006, Ieuan played drums on James Dean Bradfield's first solo album The Great Western Ieuan produced and drummed on tracks on the forthcoming debut album from Gulp (band) with Super Furry Animals bandmate Guto Pryce.

Dewi Bebb

Dewi Iorwerth Ellis Bebb (7 August 1938 – 14 March 1996) was a Welsh rugby union player who won thirty four caps for Wales as a wing.

Dewi Bebb was the son of the Welsh historian Ambrose Bebb. Educated at Friars School, Bangor, he later studied at Trinity College, Carmarthen, and Cardiff Teacher Training College. He made his debut for Swansea in a game against Llanelli in 1958. He remained with Swansea throughout his playing career, making 221 appearances, scoring 87 tries and captaining the team in the 1963–4 and 1964–5 seasons.

Eddie Niedzwiecki

Andrzej Edward "Eddie" Niedzwiecki; born 3 May 1959) is a Welsh former footballer who played as a goalkeeper for Wrexham and Chelsea. After retiring early due to injury Niedzwiecki became a coach with Chelsea and then Arsenal before working with Mark Hughes with the Wales national team. Since then he has worked with Hughes at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City. In March 2018, he was appointed assistant first-team coach at Southampton.

Farrar Road Stadium

Farrar Road Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium in Bangor, Wales. The site of the ground is now covered by an Asda supermarket. From 1920, the year it was opened, until 2011 it was used mostly for football matches and was the home of Bangor City F.C. The stadium held 1,500 people, with 700 seats.The stadium was due to be demolished and redeveloped into a leisure complex after the 2008–9 season. Due to several delays however the last game that Bangor played there was a 5–3 win for the home side versus Prestatyn Town on 27 December 2011. The club then moved to their new stadium at Nantporth, situated on the outskirts of the city by the Menai Strait.

It was announced in 2010 that the council had signed a deal with Asda to build a supermarket on the stadium site; this despite the stipulation by original landowners Penrhyn Estates that it would be used for sporting and leisure facilities in perpetuity for the benefit of the local populace.

Garth Pier

Garth Pier is a Grade II listed structure in Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales. At 1,500 feet (460 m) in length, it is the second-longest pier in Wales, and the ninth longest in the British Isles.

Ian Whyte (actor)

Ian Stuart Whyte (born 17 September 1971) is a Welsh actor, stuntman and former professional basketball player.

John Edward Daniel

John Edward Daniel (26 June 1902 – 11 February 1962) was a Welsh theologian and college lecturer who became chairman of the Welsh political party Plaid Cymru.

Matthew Tipton

Matthew John Tipton (born 29 June 1980 in Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales) is a Welsh football manager and former professional player who is the manager of NIFL Championship team Portadown.

Pat Pocock

Patrick Ian Pocock (born 24 September 1946, Bangor, then Caernarvonshire now Gwynedd, Wales) is an English former cricketer, who played in twenty Tests and one ODI for England from 1968 to 1985.

The cricket correspondent Colin Bateman opined, "The selectors never really trusted Pat Pocock, although he was one of the most authentic spin bowlers of his generation. Pocock's action was textbook high; he spun the ball, varied his angles, and had a sweet loop."

Rhun Williams

Rhun Williams (born 5 June 1997) is a Welsh rugby union player who plays for Cardiff Blues as a fullback but can also play wing. He is a Wales under-20 international.

Williams made his debut for the Cardiff Blues in 2016 having previously played for their academy, Cardiff RFC, Caernarfon RFC and RGC 1404.

In May 2017 Williams was selected for the Wales national team summer 2017 tour of Samoa and Tonga. On 23 May 2017 he withdrew from the squad due to injury and was replaced by Phil Dollman.

Talybont, Bangor

Talybont (otherwise Tal-y-bont), is a small village to the southeast of the city of Bangor in Gwynedd, north Wales.

Ysgol Glanaethwy

Ysgol Glanaethwy is a drama school in Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales. It is known in particular for its choir, Côr Glanaethwy.

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