Bangor, Gwynedd: Old Photos & Film

Bangor Gwynedd Wales UK local history

The university and cathedral city of Bangor is the oldest city in Wales and yet is also one of the smallest cities in the UK.

In the 2011 census, the city had just 16,358 residents – and more than 10,000 of them were students at Bangor University. Almost half of the permanent community speaks Welsh, reflecting the high level of Welsh speakers in Gwynedd compared to all other parts of Wales.

Bangor was part of the historic county of Caernarfonshire until 1 April 1974. Under local government reorganisation the city became part of the newly created county of Gwynedd.

A City Through Time

“Photographs of Bangor Gwynedd in the late 1800’s”

YouTube channel D.W.Jones made a video montage from a booklet about the city in the old days.

“Bangor old and new.”

A 14 minute video montage using photographs from different decades and locations around the city. Compiled by Gordon Lewis.

The City In The 1920s

“Prince In North Wales (1923)”

Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales, visited Dolgelly, Blaenau Festiniog, At Bangor, Conway Castle, and Colwyn Bay. Thankfully each location is marked with a title card in this British Pathé film. 

Born on 23 June 1894, Prince Edward was in his late thirties when this visit occurred. A number of accompanying dignitaries are in uniform, reminded us that the Great War ended just five years previously.

In January 1936, Edward VIII served as King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India. Eleven months later he resigned, and married the twice-divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson.

“Welsh Bishop Consecrated (1925)”

On 24 February 1925, the Archbishop of Wales consecrated Cannon Daniel Davies as the 72nd bishop of Bangor. This British Pathé film recorded the event at St. Asaph Cathedral in Denbighshire.

The opening title starts with “For first time since year 573”. It’s unclear what aspect of the ceremony was referred to, since the line of Bishops of Bangor is almost uninterrupted since the 6th century.

Sadly Daniel Davies died on died 23 August 1928, just 3 years after this film was made.

The Royal Occasion At The University of Wales

“Elizabeth And Philip (1949)”

In 1949 the Duke of Edinburgh was  installed as Chancellor of the University of Wales, Bangor. Princess Elizabeth (3 years later Queen Elizabeth II), Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the writer and actor Emlyn Williams received Degrees. All official proceedings were conducted in Welsh. The audience also appears in the short clip.

The 1960s

“View over Bangor 1960’s from Bangor Mountaink”

Bearing in mind this is home filming in the 1960s so the quality isn’t what we record today, there are some moments nearby buildings are seen clearly. 

Steam Trains At Bangor in 1962

Railways mostly still ran on steam in 1962. In just under a minute and a half, we see a world that disappeared within a decade.

Steam Train in Bangor 1962

The 1970s

“Royal Welch Fusiliers in Bangor Gwynedd 1975”

The Royal Welch Fusiliers led the city’s large Remembrance March in 1975. This home 8mm cine film shows them going past Vallas chippy and up to the cenotaph via the high street. Many local people appear, including a large number of Brownies marching at the back of the procession.

“1970s Bangor Railway Station, Wales, Home Movies”

This thirty second clip of Bangor station shows a platform busy with passengers. Next we visit the cathedral.

Public Transport In The 1990s


From DaveSpencer32’s channel about buses in the old days, this one shows local buses in the city in 1995. Dozens of cars and pedestrians appear too.

“North Wales Coast Class 37s 1998”

Kevin Moore recorded Bangor station in 1998. It’s a sharp contrast to the steam trains seen in the 1962 clip above.

The New Millennium

“Bangor 2000”

To celebrate the new Millennium, local poet and artist, George Hare, made this hour long film about the city. A wide range of locations appear, accompanied by a commentary. Includes some footage of local people and passers-by.

“Bangor North Wales 17/12/2010”

YouTUbe channel ANGLESEYCELT uploaded footage recorded on 17 December 2010. That year brought heavy snow to the UK, following many years of mild winters. In this three minute clip we see road traffic and pedestrians struggling to get around the local roads.

“Bangor City Centre, Wales”

On a peaceful day in August 2011, this 2 minute footage of Bangor city centre was recorded. Shoppers in the pedestrianised area go about their daily life. 

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