This year, for Baby Loss Awareness Week (9th-15th October), Bangor City Council have partnered with baby loss charity, Our Sam, to raise awareness for baby loss, by turning Bangor Pier pink and blue with night time illumination and ribbons.

North Wales based baby loss charity, Our Sam, and local volunteers, gathered on Bangor pier on Friday 8th October to decorate Bangor pier with hundreds of pink and blue ribbons, as part of the annual pink and blue, baby loss awareness campaign, led by the UK Baby Loss Alliance.

The beautiful Grade II listed, 470m Bangor Garth Pier, is the second longest pier in Wales, and this year celebrates its 125th year anniversary.

Philippa Davies, Founder of baby loss charity, Our Sam said "We were absolutely delighted when we approached Bangor City Director, Iwan Williams, asking if he would consider showing support for Baby Loss Awareness Week, by joining the pink and blue campaign, and turn any of the wonderful local buildings or landmarks in Bangor, pink and blue, and he suggested Bangor Garth Pier. As such a beautiful and visible landmark, this is a tremendous show of support for bereaved parents and families, and to raise awareness for the more than a quarter of a million people affected by baby loss following miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death and SIDS in the UK each year. We would like to thank Bangor City Council and Iwan Williams for their support, and all the volunteers who have supported us to decorate the pier with hundreds of pink and blue ribbons. Baby loss remains an incredibly taboo and difficult subject for many to talk about, but it is important that we do, to reduce isolation for all those having to face this heart -breaking trauma."

Iwan Williams, Bangor City Director, said "We were very pleased to be asked, and proud to be able to show our support, and help to raise awareness of baby loss for baby loss awareness week here in Bangor. Baby loss is so incredibly difficult for those who have had to go through this sad loss, but there are still many who have no idea of the extent of the number of people affected, and the significant effects, this often-hidden loss has on the lives of many parents and families."

Bangor Garth Pier will be lit and decorated from the 9th – 15th October. If you are a bereaved parent affected by baby loss, and need support, you can contact Our Sam, member organisation of the UK Baby Loss Alliance, through the Our Sam website oursam.org.uk .If you would to know more about baby loss awareness week you can go to babyloss-awareness.org


*(Our Sam Charity and volunteers will be available for photographs on the pier on Friday 8th October from 10.30am)

BangorPier125: Interviews

A series of interviews celebrating Bangor Garth Pier's 125th year anniversary:

Angharad Tomos Bangor Pier 125: Interview with Angharad Tomos August 2021 - YouTube

John Duggan Bangor Pier 125: Interview with John Duggan, August 2021 - YouTube

Prof Nancy Edwards Bangor Pier 125: Discussion with September 2021 - YouTube

Dr Marian Gwyn PierBangor125: Interview with Dr Marian Gwyn - YouTube

Dr Anya Chapman (Bournemouth University) Pier into the future: What the future holds for seaside piers YouTube

Gareth Roberts interview

PierBangor125: Interview with Gareth Roberts, Menter Fachwen (English Transcript, August 2021)

Hello, Iwan Williams here, City Director with Bangor City Council. We continue with our series of interviews and conversations involving the Pier and recognising the Pier’s special birthday at 125 years old. It’s a pleasure to be with Gareth Roberts from Menter Fachwen today, and I’ll pass over to Gareth now. Good morning.

Good morning, and it’s a pleasure to be with you today. Now you want to know about the Pier’s history? Now we know we’re celebrating 125 years this year, and it was therefore opened in 1896. It’s very unique, as the ‘fad’ of building Piers was earlier, in places like Llandudno and Aberystwyth in the 1860s/1870s, so Bangor was slightly late to the party! Not everyone wanted it. There were plenty of complaints, the idea wasn’t proposed until the late 1880s, the Bangor Corporation, your predecessors as the City Council, were pressing to have it, but a number of Bangor residents were against it as there were problems and other, better things to spend money on. So they had a referendum amongst Bangor residents, and Bangor Corporation were worried they would lose the referendum. They won, some 1500 votes for the Pier and around 500 against. So it was won, and it took 6-7 years to build the Pier. It’s unique for a different reason too, as it’s a Pier that doesn’t face the sea. The Pier faces Anglesey and the Menai. I’ll come back to that. Lord Penrhyn came over to open the Pier, and it cost around £17,000. It was built by the Webster company from Westminster, London, and Bangor didn’t hold back on the spending. So opened by Lord Penrhyn in ceremony full of pomp, and the Pier gates nowadays are the original ones, and they’re beautiful. Remarkable there was so much opposition to it. It was an important place too, as you had steamers going to Liverpool. It was built to bring in the old, grand steamers, and as it goes my Grandmother’s brother went on one to Liverpool, and onwards to Seattle in 1911, and never came back. So there’s a family connection! And you had end of the Pier shows. The Pavilion, which these days has a grand roof on top, used to be open, so the Corporation would organise entertainment every summer. If you visit the newspaper archives with the National Library of Wales, such as the North Wales Chronicle, you’ll see all the adverts, with people coming from afar to be entertained. My favourite was a girl called Mabel Roberts, who played the harmonium, and there’s a description here of her, which says “she can suck as well as blow”…What people don’t realise as well there was a rail line going down the middle of the Pier, transporting people’s bags to the steamers going to Liverpool. Some distance, the Pier is after all the second longest in Wales, Llandudno being the longest.

Where you measure the Pier from is a controversial debate, I’ll just add that in!

Well that’s good to know. And another thing, I’ll refer here to a newspaper article from the Chronicle on 1st March 1901 which says “A misadventure on Bangor Pier: On Thursday a man under the impression that he was crossing the Menai Suspension Bridge walked the whole length of Bangor Pier, crossed the pontoon at the end of the Pier, and stepped into the Menai Straits. Fortunately, the man is an excellent swimmer and he kept himself afloat for around 10 minutes, battling in the racing tide. He ultimately reached the side of the pontoon where he hung on until a young solicitor’s clerk named Griffin Jones descended and assisted him to mount the pontoon, none the worse for his immersion”. That’s excellent, and makes you think: didn’t he see the Menai coming?!

An uncompleted bridge!
Exactly. But there was a huge accident at the start of the Great War, the SS Christina. It broke free from its moorings and the power of the Menai turned the ship around and broke the Pier in two more or less. There are photographs-

A large part of the Pier went missing
Yes we know where it took place, you can stand there today but you can’t see the extent of the damage, and there’s a photo by the Anglesey Royal Engineers, they came to the rescue by building a temporary bridge to bring two parts of the Pier together, allowing passengers to catch the boats to Liverpool. I think it took around 7 years to repair the damage, several years. People wanted it to be done quickly, but of course it was during the war –

And there were other priorities
Exactly, and it’s incredible that people didn’t realise this. There were several letters in the Chronicle complaining that the Pier wasn’t being repaired, there was one man who wrote to the Chronicle almost every week. He called himself all sorts of things, including ‘Angry of Penrhosgarnedd’. He complained almost every week! After the war, and after they repaired the Pier – I didn’t know this until I did some research – there was a man called Philip White, a scientist in the Zoology department of Bangor University, and he tried to get the University to open an ocean sciences department. The department began in one of the Pier kiosks, isn’t that incredible?

Not much room there!
Indeed! I’m not sure which one, I think it’s the first kiosk on the right as you walk onto the Pier. But the University rejected the department within its buildings, unfortunately he passed away suddenly after establishing the department in the kiosk. He was succeeded by William Bramble, and within four years he managed to persuade the University to support the department, and by today it’s a world-renowned department, and an enormous department. The Pier was also a temporary home for the HMS Conway during the war, where so many young men received their maritime education, and the flying boat Saunders-Roe was also moored close to the Pier during the Second World War. There are interesting photos of that aircraft. One young man was someone called Tecwyn Roberts from Llanddaniel Fab, he worked in the Saunders-Roe and later NASA, he was part of all of this. He was one of six people that established Mission Control in Houston

And all the Apollo adventures
Apollo, exactly. It’s some story. He was in school with my Father, as it happens.

And raised without electricity
Exactly, in a poor cottage. You can apply the word ‘genius’ to him. So by the 1970s the Pier had fallen into a state of disrepair, and there was the possibility of pulling it down, but there was a preservation order on it. And if I’ve got this right, one of your predecessors purchased the Pier for a penny! Around 1975? And then there was a large-scale effort to raise money and repair it, and it was reopened in 1988, and in the mid-1990s a young photographer was in one of the Pier kiosks, for a year, some Gareth Roberts, I don’t know who he was?! So I have a connection with the Pier, and you have all these names, when you walk up and down the Pier you see these names on the benches, a who’s who of Bangor. And I’ll finish by noting one of them, Nathan Pollecoff. He’s on one of the benches on the right of the Pier as you walk on. The Pollecoff family were very famous in Bangor, Holyhead, Pwllheli, with their large, grand department stores, and we in Menter Fachwen worked with the University to create a Jewish history map of Bangor some two years ago, and of course the Pollecoff family were very prominent in Bangor. Nathan was one of Phillip’s sons, he was born in 1901, and died in 1962. He was a musician born in Holyhead, but very active in Bangor. He was very supportive of the civic society here, as were the entire family, and he married a woman called Charlotte Davies – I don’t think she was Welsh – from Manchester I believe. He was very active in Bangor synagogue for a number of years. He was very fond of walking along the Pier with his wife, sitting down and watching the seagulls fly by and the world pass by – there’s no better place.

Many thanks for that Gareth, it’s been a pleasure to go over 125 years of the Pier’s history in around 10 minutes. There are a wealth of stories, so many colourful individuals and proper characters over the decades. So many specific events as well, good and bad, a real mix. And the Pier is still there, and still welcoming the people of Bangor and beyond. May that continue for years to come, and more history to come from the Pier

I’m sure that there’s more to come!
Thank you Gareth, and we’ll back with you soon for further interviews and conversations on the history of the Pier. Thank you.

Hollywood, Pinewood…Pierwood!

23/08/2021

Bangor Garth Pier proving a hit with film companies

Bangor Garth Pier has long been an attraction for the locals, visitors, students and tourists. It has also attracted a number of film companies over the years, with many eager to make the most of the incredible scenery the Pier offers in all directions, not to mention the warm welcome on the Pier!

This summer has proved no exception, and Bangor City Council, Friends of Bangor Garth Pier and kioskholders have been delighted to welcome a number of film production companies to the Pier in recent weeks:

  • On 7th July, BBC Wales were on the Pier as part of the Gorwelion/Horizons Summer Tour music scheme, with a solo performance by Casi Wynand a joint performance with Eve Goodman and Beth Celyn
  • On 12th July, ITV Wales visited to film representatives from Bangor City Council and Friends of Bangor Garth Pier for the ‘Coast and Country’ programme, which aired on 12th August (available here)
  • On 13th July, Rondo Media filmed on the Pier for the ‘Cynefin’ programme
  • On 21st July, Anglesey School of Dancing performed and filmed on the Pier
  • On 18th August, BBC Radio Cymru visited the Pier for a large-scale filming production involving Tudur Owen’s programme
  • On 22nd August, local celebrity and fundraiser Wynne ‘Elvis’ Roberts performed on the Pier and was filmed by S4C

Cllr Owen Hurcum, Mayor of Bangor, said:
“At this point I think Bangor Pier is probably north Wales' biggest TV star having appeared in a huge range of television shows, films and radio promotions, and I think anyone who knows it can see why. It's an amazing place and give me so much pride to know out Pier is getting seen across the world and I am certain that many of those who see it on their screens will be dying to see it in person, experience it up close as we have had the pleasure of doing for the last 125 years"

Avril Wayte, Chair of Friends of Bangor Garth Pier, said:
“Our charity is delighted to be able to work with and support Bangor City Council in these wonderful days for our pier. We are so happy that the pier’s vibrancy is recognised so widely, and that we have these opportunities to show it off for the world to see.”

Who needs Hollywood or Pinewood when you can have the Pier? Bangor City Council is very grateful for the cooperation of these film companies over the summer weeks, and looks forward to welcoming many more over the coming months and years.

Pictures (left to right): Gorwelion/Horizons Summer Tour filming with Casi Wyn, Eve Goodman, Beth Celyn and Luke Jones 7th July; Mayor of Bangor Cllr Owen Hurcum ITV ‘Coast and Country’ interview 12th July; Rondo Media ‘Cynefin’ programme filming 13th July; Anglesey School of Dancing filming 21st July; BBC Radio Cymru filming with Tudur Owen and Mr Phormula; also welcomed by Mayor of Bangor Cllr Owen Hurcum 18th August; Wynne ‘Elvis’ Roberts performing on the Pier 22nd August and meeting Avril Wayte, Chair of Friends of Bangor Garth Pier

Bangor Garth Pier proving a hit with film companies

BANGOR GARTH PIER CELEBRATES 125th YEAR ANNIVERSARY

14 May 2021

Today (14th May 2021) Bangor Garth Pier celebrates its 125th year anniversary. On this day in 1896, Lord Penrhyn officially opened the pier following a procession through the city and a crowd of over 5,000 people assembled to watch the opening ceremony. This year, the situation is markedly different. A large-scale event is not possible due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however celebrations proceed nonetheless. At 11am, the Mayor of Bangor Cllr Owen Hurcum will unveil a new plaque commemorating the 125th year anniversary. Following social distancing rules, the Mayor will be joined by other members of Bangor City Council, kioskholders and representatives of Friends of Bangor Garth Pier (FGBP), a new volunteer group working with the City Council to provide help and support to visitors on the pier and ensure that the pier thrives and has a sustainable future.

Ahead of the important date, Mayor of Bangor Cllr Owen Hurcum said “Our pier is the jewel in the crown of our great city, affording all who venture upon it some of the finest views imaginable. It has stood as an asset to our city for over 125 years, and it has served the people of this city throughout this time. The pier has faced numerous challenges throughout its journey and perhaps none more-so than the recent structural repairs that have seen an incredible investment of over £1.8m to ensure the survival of this structure for the next 125 years.”

“We can’t turn out as a city today to celebrate its momentous anniversary, but we can, and we will, celebrate the pier in our own way moving forward. The pier is in the lifeblood of this city, it’s part of Bangor’s hiraeth and I very much look forward to seeing its history to come.”

Avril Wayte, Chair of Friends of Bangor Garth Pier, said:

“It is a huge privilege for us to be involved with Bangor Garth pier, and play a pivotal role in protecting the pier for the future, especially so as we are enabling the local community to take part in that process. Our pier - owned by the City Council and loved by all.”

The pier will be lit up this evening to celebrate the special anniversary. With the large-scale event delayed by a year until May 2022, Bangor City Council and Friends of Bangor Garth Pier will celebrate the anniversary in different ways over the coming months. A series of interviews, discussions and presentations on the history of the pier and the area will be published online, with a number of small-scale events and activities scheduled to take place on the pier later on this year, subject to Covid-19 regulations. A Digital Programme will also be published today to acknowledge the important date.

BANGOR GARTH PIER CELEBRATES 125th YEAR ANNIVERSARY


Bangor Garth Pier: 125th year anniversary Digital Programme

bangorpier.org

Pier Update (February 2021)

There are no major structural works taking place at the moment. Four stages of the restoration project have been completed, with two remaining. The priority over the coming months will be painting parts of the Pier, treating some of the planks and addressing the Linkspan at the end of the Pier. This work will commence later on this year.

The City Council are exploring funding opportunities with partners to improve the Pier and to ensure its sustainability going forward. The 125th anniversary of the Pier takes place on 14th May 2021. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, a large-scale event will not be possible however the Council is looking at alternative arrangements, with further details to be published closer to the date.

Covid 19 virus Update October 2020

Bangor Pier
The latest Welsh Government national restrictions to reduce the spread of the Covid 19 virus (Coronavirus) come into force on Friday 23rd October 2020. To encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and to facilitate exercise Bangor City Council wish to confirm that the Pier, like parks and other open spaces, will remain open. Users are asked to maintain social distancing restrictions.

Bangor Garth Pier Restoration Project

Bangor City Council has resolved to repair and restore the Garth Pier which has not received any major maintenance works for many years and is now in need of a refurbishment. The last restoration and renovation programme was in 1986.

Due to the precarious nature of this work substantial scaffolding is required as is stringent Health and Safety measures. There is also a requirement to dispose of all waste material in compliance with the regulations and a Marine Licence application was made and lodged with Natural Resources Wales and a dialogue has been ongoing with other interested parties.

The City Council apologises for any inconvenience during this construction project but these works are deemed necessary to secure the future stability and safety of the Pier for future generations to enjoy.

Bangor Garth Pier: Restoration Project - Pierhead Closure

Bangor Pier Features in The Guardian’s Best Views in the UK

Bangor Pier
Image by Nicola Frodsham

Bangor Pier featured in The Guardian newspaper last weekend for having one of the best views in the UK, from remote islands to city skylines, seascapes to moorland outlooks, Guardian readers shared their favourite landscapes.

Nicola Frodsham, who submitted her photo and review of Bangor Pier, said: “Grade II-listed Bangor Pier is perfectly positioned on the Menai Straits and offers magnificent views of Anglesey and the Welsh mainland. Read more at The Bangor Eye

There is a 50p entrance fee and dog owners will be pleased to hear there is currently a trial in place allowing pets to join their owners for the relaxing stroll. There are very few stalls, as the pier’s main purpose is to provide breathtaking views in a peaceful atmosphere.

“Head there on a clear day, during the warmer months, for the best views. It can be deceptively windy on the pier, though, so be armed with layers of clothing just in case.”

Restoration
August 2017 saw the commencement of a £1m restoration project aimed at ensuring the future of Bangor Pier for many years to come. The project, funded directly by Bangor City Council, involves work to strengthen the structure and also provide new handrails on the pier deck. Significant scaffolding is necessary along the pier sides as the work needs to comply with stringent health and safety measures. The Pier will remain open during the restoration. Read more

Restoration

Garth Victorian Pier

Please help us to maintain this lovely pier. Additional payments much appreciated - to help keep the pier open for all.