Bangor library, Ffordd Gwynedd

button_lang_welshBangor library, Ffordd Gwynedd

This library was opened in November 1907. Most of the funding for it came from the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was born in Scotland and made his fortune from industrial ventures in the USA.

The building is of red bricks from Ruabon, near Wrexham. Above the entrance are the words Llyfrgell Rydd 1907 (Free Library 1907), and a lead dome topped by an octagonal lantern. Inside are radiators in the Art Nouveau style of the period. The building remains in use as the city’s public library.

The new building was much more spacious than its predecessor. In 1910 it was reported that in just one year the new library had issued 6,354 books, compared with 8,906 at the old library in five years.

The Bangor branch of the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) was based here during the Second World War. One of its first tasks was to help the “Billeting Officer” find accommodation for children who would be evacuated from the war. On 3 September 1939, more than 2,000 Liverpool schoolchildren and their teachers arrived in Bangor and walked from the railway station to a reception organised by the WVS at Central School, where they were fed and medically examined before being taken to their new homes.

In October 1941 a parachute mine landed on Bangor’s Maesgeirchen estate, killing two people and injuring 14. The ocupants of 29 badly damaged houses had to be rehomed, and in the meantime the WVS cared for them at their rest centre.

The WVS provided canteens at several locations, including in the former Eagles Café in Dean Street, to serve hot drinks and meals to the many servicemen and women in Bangor. WVS volunteers also ran salvage drives in Bangor to generate raw materials for the war effort. This included collecting aluminium saucepans and kitchen utensils. They also organised clothing exchanges, where children's clothes were swapped for larger sizes, and at Christmas held a toy exchange at an empty shop on High Street.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum

Postcode: LL57 1DT    View Location Map

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