Day 212 Mile 212: Indulging Curiosity. Too often in life there are oddities in the corners which get overlooked. Sometimes delving into these can reveal entire hidden worlds; things that were saved because they were of value, and which endure long after the awareness of their significance has been all but lost. On my way to work I regularly drive past a stone arch, which is set back from the road on its own little piece of ground and seems to be a bit of an oddity. As part of today’s run I went to see what it was.
The arch originally formed the front portico of the Penrhyn Arms Hotel, the photo is looking from the inside, out of the front door towards the trees. It was constructed as a coaching inn in 1799 and was designed by Benjamin Wyatt, who later planned the Loyal Dispensary which still stands nearby. The hotel housed people visiting the city of Bangor especially those visiting Porth (quay) Penryhn which exported slate from the mountains across the world in the c19th providing a massive economic input into the area.
Later in its history the Penrhyn Estate agreed to lease the hotel to the newly founded University College of North Wales for £200 per year. On 18 October 1884, a large crowd gathered here for the official opening. The motto “Knowledge is Power” was displayed above the portico. Much of the funding for the new institution was raised by workers who chose to contribute a percentage of their wages. The quarrymen alone raised more than £1,250 (a huge amount at the time especially considering how poorly paid many of them were), and there were c.8,000 subscribers in total. There were 58 students that first year, and their library was in the former hotel kitchen and scullery, the smoking room occupied one of the stables.
The college continued to use the Penrhyn Arms until 1926, until it was eventually demolished to make way for the rock cutting on the A5 bypass to the seaward side of the
Thus today’s run took me from this arch with all its hidden history, along the grey wall of the cutting which lead to its demise and out towards the quay. Meeting the squat block buildings of the old slate port I turned right, up the river that brought the rock down from the mountains, pulling up along the path that meanders under the trees in the early morning drizzle. It’s amazing what you find, and equally terrifying how easy it is to ignore the heritage and knowledge hidden in plain view everyday.
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1614.8 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!