Former National School, Menai Bridge

Former National School, Menai Bridge

The building which stands slightly higher than the road here was erected in 1854 as a National School. Today it’s home to the Thomas Telford Centre, which features historical information, films, drawings and artefacts relating to the bridges across the Menai Strait – the Menai Suspension Bridge and the Britannia Bridge.

Also on show is the crop used by the driver of the first carriage to cross the suspension bridge. The crop was at the nearby Anglesey Arms for many years. Follow the link below for the Thomas Telford Centre’s opening times and other information.

National Schools were created by the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church in England and Wales. The aim was to give poor children an education, centred on the national religion.

Menai Bridge’s National School was conceived as the local population outgrew the tiny St Tysilio’s Church. Plans were drawn up for a new church with an associated school. The land and funds were donated by the Marquess of Anglesey, of nearby Plas Newydd.

When the school needed a new master in 1860, the job advert declared: “A married man, whose wife could teach Sewing &c, would be preferred.”

The school building was extended several times, and could eventually accommodate 200 pupils. The National School’s roll dwindled after a council school opened nearby in 1913. The schools were merged, using the newer building, in 1923.

Population growth led to the building being re-used as a school – for reception classes – from the 1940s until c.1970, after which it was used for many years as a church hall. The Thomas Telford Centre, run by the Menai Heritage Community Heritage Trust, moved in to the building in 2007. The trust is also involved in the restored Prince's Pier warehouse in Menai Bridge.

With thanks to Bob Daimond, of Menai Bridge Community Heritage Trust

Postcode: LL59 5EA    View Location Map

Website of the Thomas Telford Centre