A ‘Normal’ life

The Girls’ Choir on the Eisteddfod stage under the leadership of Delyth Rees in 1995The Girls’ Choir on the Eisteddfod stage under the leadership of Delyth Rees in 1995A new book provides a glimpse into the history of the Normal College, now part of Bangor University, from the perspective of its students.

Dr Tudor Ellis, a former lecturer at the Coleg Normal, has written the book, which has been launched this week (8.7.11).

Background

The Coleg Normal has had a significant influence on education in Wales for 138 years, from its founding in 1858 to its integration with Bangor University (then University College of North Wales) in 1996. The Normal nurtured generations of teachers, and trained a large number of young people who went on to make their mark in the media, business and environmental spheres. By Students at Bangor’s open air swimming pool  on the shores of the Menai strait in 1938Students at Bangor’s open air swimming pool on the shores of the Menai Strait in 1938doing so the Coleg made a special contribution to the development of education through the medium of Welsh.

This book provides an insight into the Normal’s history through the eyes of its students. What sort of life was that of a ‘Normalite’? What were the most influential experiences of the students both inside and outside the establishment? What were their real interests? What were the scandals?

Tudor Ellis has gathered evidence from all directions and has interviewed numerous former students to get under the skin of their daily experience as students.

It is this first hand reportage that makes this book special and gives the history ‘the edge. By placing the pieces of the ‘jig-saw’ together, a number of tales come to light for the first time.

The Headpiece of a testimonial presented to John Phillips, the first Principal, with a gift of £500 in 1864The Headpiece of a testimonial presented to John Phillips, the first Principal, with a gift of £500 in 1864The story narrated by the author illustrates what type of place the Coleg Normal was, and is also a reflection of a particular special period in the history of education in Wales and is an important contribution to our understanding of that history.

Publication date: 9 July 2011