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Bangor University ( ) is a university based in the city of Bangormarker in the county of Gwyneddmarker in northmarker Walesmarker.

The University occupies a substantial proportion of the city and also has some departments in Wrexhammarker. One of the University's key selling-points is its location between Snowdoniamarker and the island of Angleseymarker.


Until 1 September 2007 the University was part of the federal University of Wales, and was officially known for most of its history as the University College of North Wales ("UCNW", Coleg Prifysgol Gogledd Cymru in Welsh). It later became "University College, Bangor" ("UCB", Coleg y Brifysgol, Bangor: not to be confused with the University College of Bangor, which is a campus of the University of Maine at Augustamarker). From 1995 until 31 August 2007 the University was known as "University of Wales, Bangor" ("UWB") and Prifysgol Cymru, Bangor ("PCB").

The change of name to Bangor University or Prifysgol Bangor was instigated by the University following the decision of the University of Wales to change from a federal university to a confederal, non-membership organisation, and the granting of degree awarding powers to Bangor University itself. The University has, however, decided not to take advantage of these powers and will continue to award degrees in the name of the University of Wales for the time being.


The University was founded as the "University College of North Wales" on 18 October 1884 with an inaugural address by the Earl of Powis(sic) in Penrhyn Hall, there was then a procession to the college with 3,000 quarryman (quarrymen from Penrhyn Quarry and other quarries had subscribed over £1200 to the university). The result of a campaign for better higher education provision in Walesmarker, it was incorporated by charter a year later.

The University was originally based in an old coaching inn called the Penrhyn Arms Hotel (which housed its 58 students and 12 teaching staff), but in 1911 it moved to a much larger new building which is now the old part of the Main Arts Building. This building was designed by Henry Hare and opened by King Edward VII.

Its students received degrees from the University of London until 1893 when UWB became a founding constituent institution of the federal University of Wales.

In 1898, the red-bricked Rathbone Accommodation Halls were built. They are named after Lady Rathbone, one of the early patrons of the University.

On 22 November 1965, during construction of the 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 of 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.

In 1967, the University was the venue for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's lectures in Transcendental Meditation, at which The Beatles learnt of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein.

In 1996, Coleg Normal was merged with the University, as well as a franchise cooperation with Athens Metropolitan College located in Athensmarker, Greecemarker.

In 2007, the University became an autonymous institution, albeit with degrees still being validated by the University of Wales.

Vice Chancellors (earlier Principals)

The University has had a total of six Principals/Vice-Chancellors:


Honorary Fellows

Notable academics

  • Professor Mark Baird - Professor of Organic Chemistry. World leader in cyclopropyl ring systems and nanotechnology. Joined the University in 1990 as head of the department of Chemistry and has subsequently held posts as provicechancellor (PVC) of Research and PVC Third mission. Professor Baird is author of over 200 journal articles, book chapters and patents. He has recently (2008) taken up an appointment as a research professor within the chemistry department to concentrate on his world-leading work in the field of tuberculosis.
  • Professor Samuel L. Braunstein (quantum physicist), 1997 - 2004
  • Tony Conran - poet and translator. Was Reader in English and Tutor until 1983. Conran has a large number of books in print and has been a published poet since the 1950s. Edited and translated the standard text of Welsh poetry in translation, 'Welsh Verse' (1967/1986).
  • Professor David Crystal OBE (linguist and author) is an honorary professor of Linguistics (and part-time lecturer) at UWB.
  • A. H. Dodd (historian), 1919-1958
  • Professor Edward David Hughes FRS- Physical Organic Chemist and head of the department of Chemistry (1943-1948), who made significant contributions to mechanistic organic chemistry and pioneered the preparation of Oxygen-18 enriched water for use in mechanistic studies. The School of Chemistry was awarded (2009) a Landmark Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry to recognise the achievements of Professor Hughes.
  • William Mathias (composer), former professor of music
  • Sir John Morris-Jones (pioneering Welsh grammarian, editor, poet and literary critic)
  • Guto Puw - Leading Welsh composer and winner of the BBC Radio 3 Listener's Award at the British Composers Awards 2007.
  • Professor Kennedy Orton FRS - Physical Organic Chemist and head of department of Chemistry (1903-1930), leading ground-breaking work and making the Bangor Chemistry Department one of the most important in the UK in the years after the 1st World War (Chem. Soc. Reviews (1998) 27, 355 - 366). The main lecture theatre in the Chemistry Department at Bangor is now named after him.

Notable alumni


More than half of the academic departments at Bangor received an "Excellent" rating for the quality of teaching, and several departments scored very highly in the 2007 National Student Survey, with the School of Music occupying the top slot in the UK. The University recently doubled its number of research contracts won, bringing Bangor's research contract income to £20M.

Following a reshuffle in August 2006, the University is divided into six Colleges. These are then broken down into Schools and Research Institutes. One of the departments that closed as a result of the reorganisation was Mathematics. The Guardian league table placed Bangor fifth in the UK for maths despite the University no longer admitting students.

Bangor's Colleges, and their constituent Schools and Research Institutes, are:

College of Arts and Humanities
  • School of Creative Studies and Media
  • School of English
  • School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology
  • School of Linguistics and English Language
  • School of Modern Languages
  • School of Music
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
  • School of Welsh
  • NIECI (National Institute for Excellence in the Creative Industries)
  • ELCOS (English Language Centre for Overseas Students)
  • WISCA (Welsh Institute for Social and Cultural Affairs)
  • ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism

College of Business, Social Sciences and Law

College of Education and Lifelong Learning
  • School of Education
  • School of Lifelong Learning

College of Natural Sciences
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • School of the Environment and Natural Resources
  • School of Ocean Sciences
  • Welsh Institute of Natural Resources

College of Health and Behavioural Sciences
  • School of Healthcare Sciences
  • School of Psychology
  • School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences
  • Institute of Medical and Social Care Research

College of Physical and Applied Sciences

Halls of residence

Accommodation is guaranteed for all single, undergraduate first year students at Bangor. There are over 2,000 rooms available in halls of residence, and all of the accommodation is within walking distance of the University.

There are also a number of older halls buildings owned by the University that are no longer used and have become dilapidated due to maintenance costs.

There are 4 residential sites in current use:

Normal Site

The Normal Site is situated on the shores of the Menai Straitmarker next to the School of Education and School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences and the closest residences to the School of Ocean Sciences in Menai Bridge. The site has two self-catered halls: Neuadd Seiriol and Neuadd Arfon.

St. Mary's Site

St. Mary's site is situated near the top of Lôn Pobty, overlooking the centre of Bangor, and very close to the Science Departments and School of Informatics. Originally a convent, St Mary's site was incorporated into the University in 1976. It was originally a college for women teachers. Since then, the site has been expanded and at one point even accommodated nearly 2,000 students, although in recent years the site has been falling into a state of disrepair (Barlows block was finally closed around 2003 due to asbestos issues). The Main block now accommodates over fifty students and there is accommodation for several families also on site.

In 1997, Bryn Eithin was built and added an extra 96 rooms to the site. Bryn Eithin, although managed by the University halls team, is owned by a housing association and is leased to the University until 2027. Bryn Eithin is reliant on St. Mary's site for its services. Post and laundrette services are all located on the site just over the road.

St. Mary's site is for sale and is due to be closed in the near future. Plans for Bryn Eithin when that does happen have not yet been released but it is believed that it will become either postgraduate accommodation or family accommodation.

College Road Site

John Morris Jones (JMJ) halls of residence
The College Road Site is located a stone's throw from the original Top College building in Upper Bangor, and departments such as Psychology, Music and the School of Business and Regional Development. This site also has two accommodation halls - the Welsh speaking John Morris Jones (this was built in the early 1960s, originally for women only and called Neuadd Rathbone), and the English speaking Neuadd Rathbone (this was one of University's first halls of residance, originally for women only and called University Hall).Neuadd John Morris Jones started its life in 1974 and has, along with its equivalent Neuadd Pantycelyn in Aberystwyth, became a hub of Welsh identity and Nationalism. It is also the main focal point of Welsh language activities of the University and is an integral part of UMCB, which is the Welsh Students' Union, part of the main Students' Union body. The hall itself is affectionately known as 'JMJ' to all its current students and alumni. John Morris Jones was named after the first professor of Welsh at the University. Neuadd Rathbone is a catered halls and has a deep rivalry with JMJ.

Ffriddoedd Site

Entrance to the Ffriddoedd halls of residence site
The largest accommodation site is the Friddoedd Site in Upper Bangormarker about 10 minutes walk from Top College, the Science Site and city centre. This site includes a coffee shop, laundrette, bar and 6 en-suite buildings (Bryn Dinas, Cefn y Coed, Elidir, Y Borth, Tegfan and Y Glyder) all constructed in the mid 1990s. It also houses the Maes Glas sports hall, which received National Lottery grant funding and is open to the community and students.

Neuadd Reichel opened in 1942 and was named after Sir Harry Rudolf Reichel, first principal of the university. A large extension was completed in 1950. The hall had many traditions, including the requirement to wear gowns to dinner, a Robert Burns Dinner, a costume ball (such as "Medicine Ball" and "Cannon Ball") each term and the, some would say infamous, Bene Diceymus Night. Aled Eames was the highly regarded and popular warden of Neuadd Reichel for twenty years.

Plas Gwyn opened during the early 1960s and Neuadd Emrys Evans opened in 1966 with Llys Tryfan which was demolished over the summer of 2007 to make way for new halls to be built in the summer holidays of 2008. These older halls have shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. Despite it having been knocked down many people have 'bits' of Llys Tryfan such as bricks that were stolen, room numbers, sink brackets and other removable products from the halls.

New University halls are currently being constructed on the Ffriddeodd site in two phases. Phase One began in October 2006, and when completed will be two new buildings constructed on what used to be the playing fields. Phase Two will see the demolition of the 1960s structures, and further new buildings erected in their place. Residents' main objections regard the height of the structures following the previous building project in the mid 1990s which included Bryn Dinas, a 7 storey building which can be seen from several miles in all directions and was found to be sinking into the ground due to poor foundations.

The new halls were named in July 2007 following a competition run by the University's Estates & Facilities department. The winner was Thomas Hecht (an Undergraduate in Electronic Engineering) and theme of water was chosen. The names chosen were: Crafnant (Llyn Crafnantmarker), Llanddwyn (Ynys Llanddwynmarker), Glaslynmarker, Gwynant (Llyn Gwynantmarker), Idwal (Llyn Idwalmarker), Braint (Afon Braint), Alaw (Llyn Alawmarker), Peris (Llyn Perismarker), Enlli (Ynys Enllimarker), Aberffrawmarker

Private halls

A private hall of residence called 'Neuadd Willis' (named after a well liked and respected architect) has been built (2006), incorporating the old listed British Hotel with a new build extension to the rear. This project is run by Watkin Jones (a local building firm) and Carlton North Wales Ltd and is not a University owned or managed hall. Local residents have mixed feelings about such developments, some feel it will ease pressure on the housing stock in the city, whilst others fear that it will create too much of a concentration of students in a given area.

Carlton North Wales and Watkin Jones is currently in the middle of building another Halls of Residence. This is to be on the site of the old cinema. Plans for this build incorporated a main office from which both sites could be run.

Students' Union

Students' Union as seen from Deiniol Road
The Students' Union is situated on Deiniol Road at one end of College Park below the Main Arts building. The Refectory and Curved Lounge were built in 1963 and the main administrative building was added in 1969. The building was known as Steve Biko House in the 1970s to early 1990s, named after student activist Steve Biko who had been killed in anti-apartheid protests in South Africa. The buildings were renovated in 1997 to create an 1100-capacity nightclub, Amser/Time, where the previous refectory space was. In 2004, the student-only venue located in the main admin building, Main Bar, was renovated to become the 700-capacity Academi. The overall complex also consists of two catering venues, Student Services department and the Students' Union offices. The Union buildings are in some need of development and the University's current Estates Strategy has earmarked the site for demolition and rebuilding by 2010. However, due to funding issues demolition will not begin until at least the end of academic year 2009/10.

All Bangor University students automatically become members of the Students' Union, which as well as having an entertainment function, has a dedicated Student Advice and Representation Centre, Volunteering Department and officers have seats on all major University committees.

Paid sabbatical posts are held by (2009/2010):John Jackson - Students’ Union President;Spencer George - Deputy President;Tom Hecht - Societies & Events Officer;Andy John - Athletic Union President;Sharyn Williams - UMCB President.

Student radio

Storm FM is the official student radio station for Bangor University and is one of only three student radio stations in the UK to have a long term FM license. 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 around 90 students at the university. Unfortunately, the FM licence only allows for broadcast to a very small area of Bangor - namely the Ffriddoed Road Halls of Residence. On March 1, 2009, Storm FM officially went online, with the service being available to anyone who accesses the Storm website[824772].


Bangor Rag Radio Stereo FM started in 1972 by a number of Dean Street (Electronics Engineering) students, initially just for Rag Week. This was a pirate radio station, possibly the first University stereo FM station in the UK. The FM transmitter was moved around Bangor to avoid capture by the GPO, often with a microwave link line-of-sight from the Student's Union building roof to provide live studio radio programmes.

Storm FM was set up in October 2001 by the then president of the Students' Union, Niall Duffy. The first show was broadcast at 13:00 on March 19, 2003.

In 2005, two presenters received nominations at the Student Radio Awards; Emma Gascoigne for Best Female, and Spencer George for Best Newcomer. The station was also nominated for Best Station Sound at the Student Radio Awards 2004.

Following considerable time off-air, the 2006/07 academic year saw a totally re-branded Storm FM relocate to a new studio in the Students' Union building, directly under the control of the Students' Union. Until that point, broadcasts were made from the University's Media Centre in upper Bangor.

In October 2007, Storm FM received two nominations at the Student Radio Awards for Best Marketing & Branding and Best Live Event/Outside Broadcast, the latter receiving a Bronze Award at the 2007 SRA ceremony for its local coverage of the National Assembly for Wales election, 2007.[824773]

LGBT Society

Unity Bangor (Formerly LGBT Pride[824774]) is the official student LGBT Society for Bangor University. Unity Bangor is run by a small group of volunteers, who make up the ‘’LGBT Committee’’[824775].

The LGBT committee work in close contact with local businesses, the Student Union, National Union of Students and other LGBT Organisations around the UK.

Social Events

Fruit Salad – Unity Bangor holds a monthly social event, in the Student Union’s Night Club Academi. These events are generally themed, and offer an Attitude Free evening for all Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Straight students and the local Population. The aim of “Fruit Salad” is to allow people to feel comfortable in an environment acceptable of LGBT people.


Unity Bangor has an active campaigns base, with notable previous campaigns including Donation not descrimination[824776] and Word Aid’s Day [824777].

Local Connections

Unity Bangor has close connections with local authorities, including the University, Local Education establishments and North Wales Police [824778]. Unity Bangor attends meetings throughout the year in the local Police HQ, situated in Colwyn Baymarker.

Unity Bangor also works in partnership with local LGBT and Gay Friendly establishments, most notably Rascals and the Three Crowns.

Further reading

  • The University College of North Wales - Foundations 1884-1927, J Gwynn Williams, University of Wales Press 1985, ISBN 0708308937
  • Architectural History & Guide (University College of North Wales, Bangor), M L Clarke, Online (Bangor Civic Society)

See also


  1. University Moves Towards University Title & Change Of Name
  2. The Times, Monday, Oct 20, 1884; pg. 7; Issue 31269; col F
  3. Publication: Guardian 1821-1975; Date: Nov 23, 1965; Section: None; Page: 6
  4. Time Into the Vacuum 15 June 1970
  5. Police chief announces retirement
  6. Curriculum Vitae of Stefan Rahmstorf
  7. Bangor's Students Record their Satisfaction. - News and Events at Bangor University

External links

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