Weekly City Spotlight: Bangor

Bangor is a city in North West Wales, in the unitary authority of Gwynedd. With a population of 17,575 (2011 census) Bangor is one of the smallest cities in Britain and the only the 36th largest urban area by population in Wales, even though it is only one of six places classed as a city in the country.

Over 10,000 students from 85 countries worldwide are educated at Bangor University. The University is a huge part of Bangor’s identity and was built in 1884 following funding by local quarrymen who volunteered to give some of their wages towards providing a better standard of higher education. In various cost-of-living surveys, the city of Bangor has been constantly ranked as one of the most economical areas to study in the UK.

The findings of 2001 census reveal that 46.6% of the city’s population (not including students from Bangor University) speak Welsh, which is relatively little for Gwynedd. Despite these findings, the Welsh language is used as much as possible by locals, giving the language prominence in the city to this day. You are sure to receive a warm welcome in Bangor, whether that be in English or Welsh.

Historic Bangor

The city of Bangor can be dated back as early as the 6th century AD. The name ‘Bangor’ originated from an old Welsh word for a wattled enclosure, just like the one that initially enclosed the cathedral site.

The building isn’t the oldest and definitely not the biggest, the bishopric (diocese) of Bangor is one of the oldest in Britain.

In 1877, the former HMS Clio was used for education, as a school. The ship was moored on the Menai Strait at Bangor and could accommodate up to 260 pupils. The school was closed after the end of World War I, and the ship was broken up and sold for scrap in 1919.

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Additional information on Bangor can be found on the Visit Snowdonia website.

Famous Faces

A number of famous faces have originated from, or are connected to, Bangor. Just some are listed below.

Amie Ann Duffy, known as Duffy, is a Welsh singer-songwriter and occasional actress.

Cai Griffiths, a rugby player for London Welsh.

Matthew Dent, a graphic designer. His designs were selected for the new reverse sides of seven coins of the pound sterling, after a competition open to the public by the Royal Mint on April 2nd 2008.


Garth Pier

Given the large expanse of mudflats exposed at high tide, it’s surprising that the Victorians chose to build one of Britain’s longest pleasure piers here. Built in 1896, Garth Pier stretches 460m into the Menai Strait, reaching most of the way to Anglesey. Shops and kiosks are scattered along the pier and there’s a tearoom at the very end. In the distance you catch the sun glinting off Thomas Telford’s striking Menai Suspension Bridge.

Bangor Cathedral

More formally known as the Cathedral Church of St Deiniol, this building occupies one of the oldest ecclesiastical sites in Britain, dating from AD 525 when the saint founded his community here. The earliest part of today’s stone church dates to the 12th century, although that building was largely destroyed in 1211 during a raid by England’s King John, whose men also burned the city. Further ravages took place in the 13th century, during Edward I’s invasion, and in 1402, during the Glynd?r uprising. Two centuries later Cromwell’s men used the cathedral as stables.