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Menai College, Ffriddoedd Road, Bangor

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Map ReferenceSH57SE
Grid ReferenceSH5723771745
Unitary (Local) AuthorityGwynedd
Old CountyCaernarfonshire
Period20th Century

Caernarfonshire Technical College opened on the 18th September 1957, having been approved by the Ministry of Education as part of the 1954-55 building programme. It was designed by the County Architect Westbury Lloyd Jones with deputy County Architect T. Summers Davies; the reinforced concrete framework, floors and roof slabs were designed and constructed by the Trussed Concrete Steel Company, the general contractors were Messrs. Williams and Williams (Caernarfon) Ltd. It was built to replace the Bangor Technical Institute (built 1947) on Deiniol Road. The five-acre site included three classroom, two drawing offices, seven workshops and four laboratories to accommodate an esitmated intake of 75 students. With an additional plan to add a County College on the same site, a kitchen and dining room were included, but no assembly hall or common room as they were to be a shared resource with the later planned development. The contract cost for construction was £112,350 with a further £25,000 for furniture and equipment. 

The Ffriddoedd Road frontage consists of a four storey block to the right, with alternating horizontal bands of green opaque glass and clear glazing in a green metal framework delineating each storey. Originally the infilling panels were of Mineralite Asbestolux panels to the front, and vitreous enamel steel tray units in a dark maroon to the rear elevation. At ground floor this building housed the dining room and kitchen, and the chemistry and building science laboratory. At lower ground floor level was the applied mechanics and heat engines laboratory, together with the boiler house and oil store. On the first floor were the two drawing offices and the electrical laboratory, while the second floor housed two classrooms and the engineering science and physics laboratory. The landing provided a small exhibition space. Floors were generally of wood block or themroplastic tiles, while the internal decoration used colours chosen for their light-reflective properties. 

To the front, and at right angles to this block, is a single story range used as the administration block. This included the staff room, Principal's room, sectretary's room, staff toilets and stationary store. The exterior is distingushed by a large slate mural, decoarted with engraved depictions of the tools of the Technical College. 

To the left sat the single-storey, barrel-vaulted workshops, the undulating waved roof both providing extra lighting for the workshops below, and echoing the form of the mountains visible in the distance behind; this design decision was also made in light of the fact that the Technical College was built in a residential area and that something more architecturally effective was required than standard north-light roof constrcution. The roof was made up of a series of Truscanoid panels giving a clear span of 85ft. The workshop block included seperate workshops for the electrical installation and telecommunications, plumbing, machine-shop engineering, motor mechanics, carpentry and joinery, bricklaying and plastering, and painting and decorating as well as a third classroom. Concrete floors finished in granolithic. 

The site was expanded in 1969 and a sports hall was added in 1972. The workshops were demolished in 2019 in advance of sale of the site by Coleg Menai. 

Susan Fielding, RCAHMW July 2019