Papers of Coleg Normal, Bangor

Scope and Content

This collection consists of material relating to the affairs of Coleg Normal, Bangor from ca. 1862 to 1906, and concerning, in particular, the "Students' strike" of November, 1890 and its aftermath. It also includes a copy deed of conveyance and declaration of trust of the College, dated 1862; by-laws of the College, dated 1889; class list of students, dated 1891; revised list of the committee of management, dated 1890. Also contains material relating to Evan Keri Evans' unsuccessful application for the post of principal in 1891, and that of David Robert Harris who became principal in 1905. Material includes testimonials and letters relating to Harris's candidature, dated June-July, 1905. Most of the letters are from Harris to Henry Lewis of Belmont, Bangor and are addressed from the London Day Training College where he was then Senior Lecturer.

Administrative / Biographical History

Coleg Normal, a teacher training college, was founded in 1858 and built on a site overlooking the Menai Straits in Upper Bangor, north Wales. Its first principal was John Phillips, a Calvinistic Methodist preacher, who held the position from 1863 to 1867. In its early years, it attracted students from the north Wales area mainly, on one, two and three year courses. Although English was the language of instruction and trainees were required to take exams in that language, the college filled a need for a supply of qualified Welsh speaking teachers to teach in schools where that was the children's first language. Expansion and consolidation of the college was helped by the Education Act of 1870, and the decision to establish maintained board schools with greater remuneration for schoolteachers, made the teaching profession more attractive and resulted in greater numbers of entrants to Coleg Normal.

In November 1890, an episode, known as the "Students' strike" occurred as students protested about the poor quality of food in the college dining room. They were all expelled but readmitted after three days on condition that each individual apologise and apply for acceptance. This "strike", which featured prominently in the press, resulted in an official enquiry by the Inspector for Training Colleges, during which students and management were questioned. The enquiry decided that food at the college was acceptable and blamed the incident on poor discipline.

David Robert Harris, whose appointment marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the college, was Principal from 1905 to 1933. He had a distinguished academic record and wide experience in education, having held a lectureship in the Day Training Departments at Bangor and Aberystwyth before being appointed Master of Method in the London Day Training College. Harris was active in securing better residential conditions, improved teaching premises and a much larger intake of students which helped meet the increasing needs of the north Wales schools. He believed that teacher training would benefit from closer association with university education and was active in promoting greater co-operation with the nearby University College of North Wales, founded in 1884, and a constituent institution of the University of Wales from 1893. In Harris' time there was support at Coleg Normal for some association with the university but not full integration which eventually took place in 1996, as Coleg Normal became the Faculty of Education of the University of Wales, Bangor.


Material was received on separate occasions and incorporated in chronological order into the General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts .

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users

Acquisition Information

Items 14032-14084 presented, ca. late 1950's, by Ernest Roberts, appointed College Secretary in 1914.


Description compiled by Anne Lenaghan, November 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Item level word-processed list is available at the Archives Department of the University of Wales, Bangor. Reference numbers: General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts: 14032-14084, 15575-15589

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics are made at the discretion of the Archivist.


Further material was received in August 2000, which has not yet been catalogued by the Archives Department.

Geographical Names