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
|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
|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.