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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 33003

Map Reference SH57SE

Grid Reference SH5808772019

Unitary (Local) Authority Gwynedd

Old County Caernarfonshire

Community Bangor

Type of Site CITY, TOWN

Broad Class CIVIL

Period Multiperiod

Site Description Bangor is associated with the oldest cathedral foundation in Britain, founded c.525 on the site of a Celtic clas and dedicated to St Deiniol.The name Bangor is derived from the wattle fence or 'bangor' surrounding St Deinol's settlement. The present cathedral (NPRN 43727) can be dated back to the early 12th century.

Originally a small market town, Bangor grew into a large industrial town following two important developments; the opening of the slate quarries of Bethesda, from where slate was shipped across the world from Bangor during the first quarter of the nineteenth century; and the opening of the Menai suspension bridge, built 1818 to 1826 by Thomas Telford at Bangor, which completed the London to Holyhead Turnpike Road. Subsidiary industries such as writingslate manufacturing, a sawmill and a foundry were established along the waterfront, and shipbuilding also became an important industry. The inauguration of a steam packet service between Liverpool and Bangor in 1822 also brought visitors by sea and helped to develop the town as an important tourist centre. The Pier at 1550ft long, is the longest surviving in Wales, it was opened in 1896.

Bangor also became the centre of higher education for north Wales with the establishment of the Normal College in 1862 (NPRN 23203), the University College in 1884 (NPRN 23260) and St Mary's College in 1893.

RCAHMW, 2009.

Bangor has been a cathedral city since the twelfth century and claims origins with the sixth century St Deiniol. Bangor remained a comparatively small settlement until the beginning of industrial slate mining near Bethesda at the end of the eighteenth century and the opening of the Menai Suspension Bridge in 1826.

Penrhyn Castle on the outskirts of the city and the mountain uplands of Snowdonia provided further prominent points of interests for explorers of Bangor’s picturesque surroundings. With the rise of seaside resorts along the north coast of Wales, similar efforts were undertaken in Bangor during the nineteenth century. A pier eventually opened in 1896, but without the sandy beaches of Rhyl and Llandudno, seaside tourism never quite caught on. In 1836, the German traveller Karl von Hailbronner found himself transported to ‘this little Gulf of Naples’ as he looked over Beaumaris Bay and heard the sound of the evening bells drifting over from the cathedral. By 1851, Ludwig Rellstab, another German traveller, found a transformed city as the previous calm and peaceful atmosphere had been replaced by the noise of countless horse carriages and tourists.

Record updated as part of the AHRC-funded project 'Journey to the Past: Wales in historic travel writing from France and Germany'.
R. Singer (Bangor University) and S. Fielding (RCAHMW), 2017.

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