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Bangor University

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Bangor University

Bangor University
Welsh: Prifysgol Bangor
Motto Welsh: Gorau Dawn Deall
Latin: Mortis felix et dominus
Motto in English "The Best Gift is Knowledge"
Established 1884
Type Public
President Dafydd Elis-Thomas
Vice-Chancellor John G Hughes
Admin. staff 2000
Students 16,605[1]
Undergraduates 8,460[1]
Postgraduates 2,055[1]
Other students 6,085 FE[1]
Location Bangor, Wales, UK
Campus Bangor
Former names University College of North Wales, University of Wales, Bangor
Nickname Welsh: Y Coleg ar y Bryn ("The College on the Hill")
Affiliations EUA
Universities UK
University of Wales

Bangor University (Welsh: Prifysgol Bangor) is a Welsh university in the city of Bangor in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales. It received its Royal Charter in 1885 and was one of the founding member institutions of the former federal University of Wales. It was officially known for most of its history as the University of Wales, Bangor (UWB) (Welsh: Prifysgol Cymru, Bangor). From September 2007 it became known as Bangor University, having become independent from the federal University of Wales.

In 2012 Bangor was ranked 251st among the world's top universities.[2] According to the Sunday Times University Guide 2012,[3] it is rated top in Wales for teaching excellence and is among the top 15 universities in the UK in this category.


The pre 1926 site of the University College of Wales Bangor

The university was founded as the University College of North Wales (UCNW) on 18 October 1884, with an inaugural address by the Earl of Powis, the College's first President, in Penrhyn Hall.[4] There was then a procession to the college including 3,000 quarrymen (quarrymen from Penrhyn Quarry and other quarries had subscribed more than 1,200 pounds to the university).[5] The foundation was the result of a campaign for better provision of higher education in Wales that had involved some rivalry among towns in North Wales over which was to be the location of the new college.

The college was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1885.[4] Its students received degrees from the University of London until 1893, when UCNW became a founding constituent institution of the federal University of Wales.

During the Second World War paintings from national art galleries were stored in the Prichard-Jones Hall at UCNW to protect them from enemy bombing. They were later moved to slate mines at Blaenau Ffestiniog.[4] Students from University College, London, were evacuated to continue their studies in a safer environment at Bangor.[4]


During the 1960s the university shared in the general expansion of higher education in the UK following the Robbins Report, with a number of new departments and new buildings.[4] On 22 November 1965, during construction of an extension to the Department of Electronic Engineering in Dean Street, a crane collapsed on the building. The three-ton counterweight hit the second-floor lecture theatre in the original building about thirty minutes before it would have been occupied by about 80 first-year students. The counterweight went through to the ground floor.[6]

In 1967 the Bangor Normal College, now part of the university, was the venue for lectures on Transcendental Meditation by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at which The Beatles heard of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein.[7]

Student protests at UCNW in the 1970s focused mainly on calls to expand the role of the Welsh language .[4] Around this time consideration began of mergers with two colleges of education in Bangor: St Mary's College, a college for women studying to become schoolteachers, and the larger and older Normal College/Coleg Normal. The merger of St Mary's into UCNW was concluded in 1977, but the merger with Coleg Normal fell through in the 1970s and was not completed until 1996.

Name change

The change of name to Bangor University, or Prifysgol Bangor in Welsh, was instigated by the university following the decision of the [8]

Main Arts and other Bangor University buildings from Bangor Mountain

Campus and buildings

The university occupies a substantial proportion of Bangor and also has some departments in Wrexham.

Arts Building

The quadrangle in the main college building on College Road

The university was originally based in an old coaching inn, the Penrhyn Arms Hotel, which housed its 58 students and its 12 teaching staff. In 1911 it moved to a much larger new building, which is now the old part of the Main Arts Building. This building, designed by Sir John Prichard-Jones a local man who became a partner in the London department store Dickins & Jones, and was a substantial benefactor of the building.[4]

The building became a Grade I listed building in 1949.[9]

A modern extension, completing a quadrangle on the College Road side of the building, was completed in 1969. This is now known as the Main Arts Building.

Halls of residence

The redbrick University Hall, built in a Queen Anne style, was the first substantial block. It was opened in 1897.[10] This building was to become the Welsh language hall Neuadd John Morris-Jones in 1974, taking its name in honour of Professor John Morris Jones.[4] It is now called Neuadd Rathbone.

Neuadd Reichel, built on the Ffriddoedd Farm site, was designed in a neo-Georgian style by the architect Percy Thomas and was opened in 1942 as a hostel for male students.[4][10]

Expansion in the 1960s led to the development of Plas Gwyn in 1963-64 and Neuadd Emrys Evans in 1965, both on the Ffriddoedd site, and Neuadd Rathbone at the top of Love Lane in 1965.[4] Neuadd Rathbone, designed by Colwyn Foulkes and named after the second President of the college, was originally for women students only.[10] The names of Neuadd Rathbone and Neuadd John Morris-Jones were later exchanged. The building originally opened as Neuadd Rathbone is now known as Neuadd Garth.

Current provision

Accommodation is guaranteed for all unmarried first-year undergraduate students at Bangor. There are more than 2,000 rooms available in halls of residence, and all the accommodation is within walking distance of the university. There are four residential sites in current use.

Ffriddoedd Site
Entrance to the Ffriddoedd halls of residence site

The largest accommodation site is the Friddoedd Site in Upper Bangor, about ten minutes' walk from Top College, the Science Site and the city centre. This site has eleven new en-suite halls completed in 2009, six other en-suite halls built in the 1990s and Neuadd Reichel built in the 1940s, and includes a coffee shop, launderettes, a convenience shop, Bar Uno and the Canolfan Brailsford sport centre.

Two of the en-suite halls, Bryn Dinas and Tegfan, now incorporate the new Neuadd John Morris Jones, which started its life in 1974 in College Road and has, along with its equivalent Neuadd Pantycelyn in Aberystwyth, became a focal point of Welsh language activities at the university. It is an integral part of UMCB, the Welsh Students' Union, which in turn is part of the main Students' Union.

The halls on "Ffridd" ("Ffridd" is the Welsh word for mountain pasture or sheep path; "ffriddoedd" is its plural form) include Cefn y Coed, Y Glyder, Y Borth, Elidir, J.M.J. Bryn Dinas and J.M.J. Tegfan, all of which were built in the early 1990s; Adda, Alaw, Braint, Crafnant, Enlli, Peris, Glaslyn, Llanddwyn, Ffraw, Idwal and Gwynant, which were all built in the late 2000s; and the newly refurbished Neuadd Reichel, built in the 1940s.

Normal Site

The Normal Site is on the shores of the Menai Strait next to the School of Education and the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences. It is the closest residence to the School of Ocean Sciences in Menai Bridge. The site has two self-catered halls: Neuadd Seiriol and Neuadd Arfon. These halls are due for closure following the completion of the new St Mary's Site Halls Development. The site is named after the former Bangor Normal College, which has since been incorporated into the university.

St Mary's Site

One hall, Bryn Eithin, overlooks the centre of Bangor, and is close to the Science Departments and the School of Informatics. This is a postgraduate site and has three blocks accommodating ninety-six students. This shared a site office, launderette and common room with the neighbouring St Mary's site halls and Barlow's halls, until the latter were closed to students in 2004. All three parts of the halls were used predominantly by undergraduates at that time. Demolition of the former St Mary's Site halls, with the exception of the 1902 buildings and the Quadrangle, began in 2014 to make way for new halls to be built on the site. These halls will accommodate around 600 students, and will allow the closure of Neuadd Seiriol and Neuadd Arfon on the Normal Site. Work is due to be completed by September 2015.[11]

In Welsh "Bryn" means "hill" and "Eithin" means "gorse".

College Road

College Road has one hall, Neuadd Garth (formerly Neuadd John Morris Jones, before that Neuadd Rathbone), which is a self-catering hall. The site is located a stone's throw from the Main Arts building in Upper Bangor, and departments such as Psychology, Music and the College of Business, Social Sciences and Law. Neuadd Garth, after undergoing refurbishment in 2012-13, is now home to postgraduate students and students with families.

Neuadd Rathbone (formerly Neuadd John Morris Jones, before that University Hall), which is located on the site, was previously a hall of residence.

Private halls

A private hall of residence called Neuadd Willis was built in 2006, incorporating the old listed British Hotel with a new extension to the rear and a further hall on the site of the old Plaza Cinema. A new hall was opened on the high street in 2013 and named Neuadd Penrhyn. It is owned by the same company as Neuadd Willis.

Former Refectory and Student Union Buildings

The Former Students' Union Building from Deiniol Road

Until 2010 the Students' Union building was situated on Deiniol Road at one end of College Park below the Main Arts building. The Refectory and Curved Lounge were built in 1963[12] and the main administrative building was added in 1969. The building was known as Steve Biko House from the 1970s to the early 1990s,[4][13] after Steve Biko.. The buildings were renovated in 1997 to create an 1,100-capacity nightclub, Amser/Time, where the previous refectory space was.

Demolition of the Union buildings and Theatr Gwynedd began in July 2010 to make room for the proposed Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre.[14] The Centre will include a theatre, a cinema, a studio theatre and social facilities including the new Students' Union.


Bangor University, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

The University is divided into five Colleges and these are then broken down into Schools and Research Institutes. Bangor's Colleges, and their constituent Schools and Research Institutes, are:

College of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Creative Studies and Media
  • School of Education
  • School of English
  • School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology
  • School of Lifelong Learning
  • School of Linguistics and English Language
  • School of Modern Languages
  • School of Music
  • School of Philosophy and Religion
  • School of Welsh
  • ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism
College of Business, Law, Education and Social Sciences
  • Bangor Business School
  • School of Education
  • School of Law
  • School of Social Sciences
College of Natural Sciences
  • School of Biological Sciences (includes Treborth Botanic Garden)
  • School of the Environment, Natural Resources and Geography
  • School of Ocean Sciences
  • Welsh Institute of Natural Resources
College of Health and Behavioural Sciences
College of Physical and Applied Sciences
  • School of Chemistry
  • School of Computer Science
  • School of Electronic Engineering

Student life

Students' Union

The Students’ Union provides services, support, activities and entertainment for students. All Bangor University students automatically become members of the Students' Union unless they choose to opt out. Its officers have seats on all major university committees.

As with most if not all Students' Unions, a yearly election takes place in which a number of sabbatical officers are elected. These sabbatical officers are held accountable for the actions and decisions of the union, and often work closely with members of the Students' Union Senate and other boards.

Sabbatical Officer Positions
  • Union President Rhys Taylor
  • VP Education & Welfare Lydia Richardson
  • VP Sport & Healthy Living Nicola Pye
  • VP Societies & Community Mark Stanley
  • UMCB President (Welsh Students' Union) Guto Gwilym


There are several opportunities to volunteer at Bangor University, the main hub being Student Volunteering Bangor, a department of the Students' Union.

Student Volunteering Bangor

Student Volunteering Bangor (SVB) is a department within the Students’ Union that offers more than 600 volunteering opportunities in 33 community-based projects. SVB volunteers currently contribute a total of 600 hours each week.

There is a long tradition of student volunteering in Bangor. The oldest records available detail the organisation of a tea party for local elderly residents in 1952. The Tea Party project continues to run to this day and is SVB's oldest project.

In October 2012 Student Volunteering Bangor was awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.


Bangor RAG (Raising and Giving) is a Student Volunteering Bangor project. The committee is made up of two coordinators and a number of committee members, plus several hundred "raggies". RAG collects money for two local and two national charities, which change every academic year and are chosen by the students. RAG members also regularly attend "raids" across the country and assist charities with one-off events throughout the year. Their mascot is a tiger named Rhodri RAG.

Nawdd Nos Bangor Nightline

Nightline is a listening, emotional support and information service run by students for students. The service is open every night of term from 8 p.m.. to 8 a.m. Nightline runs on five core principles, being

  • confidential
  • anonymous
  • non-judgemental
  • dedicated
  • non-advisory

Bangor Nightline, which started on 27 February 1974, was the tenth Nightline to open in the UK. It is affiliated with Nightline Association, and was the first Nightline in the UK to achieve Good Practice Guidelines accreditation and reaccreditation. In 2010 Bangor Nightline received the National Nightline Best Practice Award and Bangor Students' Union's Achievement of the Year award, and was runner-up for the Society of the Year award. In recognition of the contribution of anonymous volunteers to the service Bangor Nightline won the Bangor Students' Union's Societies Wildcard award and Best Fundraising and Campaign Event award in 2013, when it also received the High Sheriff's award.

Bangor Nightline's mascot is Dafydd the bear, who is active in student interactions around university buildings and on social media.

Clubs and societies

There are more than 150 societies, ranging from academic societies to sport clubs. Notable sports include football (Bangor University F.C.) and rowing (Bangor University Rowing Club).

Student radio

Storm 87.7 FM
Storm FM logo
Broadcast area Bangor
Frequency 87.7 MHz
First air date 19th March 2003
Format Bangor's Student Sound
Owner Bangor University Students' Union

Storm FM is the official student radio station for Bangor University and is one of only three student radio stations in the UK with a long-term FM licence. The station is broadcast on 87.7FM from a low-powered FM transmitter based on the Ffriddoedd Site. Storm is run on a voluntary basis by about 90 students. The FM licence allows for broadcast to a very small area of Bangor, namely the Ffriddoed Road Halls of Residence. Storm FM went online in 2009.[15]

Notable people associated with Bangor


Vice Chancellors

The University has had seven Principals/Vice-Chancellors:

Notable academics

Notable alumni

Fictional alumni

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Table 0 - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2007/08" ( 
  2. ^ "World University Rankings 2011-2012". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Bangor University Profile". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m David Roberts (2009) Bangor University 1884–2009, University of Wales Press ISBN 978-0-7083-2226-0
  5. ^ The Times, Monday, Oct 20, 1884; pg. 7; Issue 31269; col F
  6. ^ The Guardian, 23 November 1965, p. 6.
  7. ^ "Higher Browsing: The Third Degree". The Guardian. 27 August 2002. 
  8. ^ University Moves Towards University Title and Change Of Name
  9. ^ Bangor Civic Society. "Main Arts Building". Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c M L Clarke (1966) Architectural History and Guide, University College of North Wales Online at Bangor Civic Society
  11. ^ "St Mary’s Student Halls Development – News and Events, Bangor University". Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Caernarvonshire Life' May 1964"'". Bangor Civic Society. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  13. ^ Seren' Published at Steve Biko House"'". Seren. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  14. ^ "Demolition Work Starts on the Old Theatr Gwynedd". Holyhead and Anglesey Mail. Archived from the original on 4 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "Storm 87.7FM: Bangor's Student Sound". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Time Into the Vacuum 15 June 1970
  17. ^ Curriculum Vitae of Stefan Rahmstorf
  18. ^ "The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine - Press Release". 2010-10-04. Archived from the original on 5 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  19. ^ "Police chief announces retirement". BBC News. 1 May 2009. 
  20. ^ Harries-Rees, Karen (2006). "A man for change".  
  21. ^ Curriculum Vitae of Stefan Rahmstorf

Further reading

  • Clarke, M. L. (1966) Architectural History & Guide (University College of North Wales, Bangor); Online (Bangor Civic Society)
  • Roberts, David (2009) Bangor University, 1884–2009. Cardiff: University of Wales Press ISBN 0-7083-2226-3
  • Williams, J. Gwynn (1985) The University College of North Wales - Foundations 1884–1927. Cardiff: University of Wales Press ISBN 0-7083-0893-7

External links

  • Bangor University – Official website
  • Bangor University Students' Union (BUSU)
  • Lists of University College, Bangor students
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