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A day in Aberystwyth.

University building at the waterside.

A recent first visit to the west Wales university town allowed time for a quick walk around and a few photographs. If you are thinking of becoming a student at Aberystwyth or just wondering if it is worth taking a detour in order to visit, this page will be of interest.  

Aberystwyth is a pretty town and has a very attractive ambiance. The people seem friendly and relaxed, although the many students I saw seemed a touch more serious than the norm. Maybe exams were imminent! The town developed as a Victorian seaside resort when the railway made it accessible in the mid 19th century. Architecture reflects this period well since the town seems relatively free of 20th century commercial development. The university building in the photograph was designed as an hotel but the bankruptcy of the developers made it available and it became the first Welsh university college in 1872. 

Click the images to expand.

Although Welsh seems widely spoken here, people are quite happy to slip into English conversation and a lack of Welsh would not handicap the visitor's enjoyment of Aberystwyth. 

A rare survival

Puzzled by this conical chimney, I stopped a local man for information. He explained that this building had been a lime kiln. In the days before the railway, ships from south Wales landed cargoes of lime for treatment in these kilns before the product was carted away by farmers to be spread on their land. Apparently there were once seven or eight lime kilns dotted around the harbour area.  

... and another

This gem of a 19th century retail shop front remains pristine. Empty and forlorn it may be but surely the local authority and the site owners will combine to preserve it. Sadly, in general Wales has allowed most of her old shop fronts to be vandalised. It seems very silly to have neglected an aspect of the streetscape which the French (for example) have nurtured, to the great benefit of their citizens and tourism industry. 

The castle.

One tower of the very ruinous Aberystwyth Castle. To the left of the bigger picture, you'll see the memorial to the fallen of the two World Wars. This is a  very dramatic setting, overlooking the grey Irish Sea. The present castle was one of the first built in Wales by King Edward I and was completed around 1280. Some of Shakespeare's characters knew the castle well, when it was even more forbidding than it appears today. It was captured by the Welsh hero Owain Glyndwr in 1404 but later taken by Prince Henry, the future King Henry V.  


    ©  John Weston / Data Wales, 2002
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