Bron Castell, High Street, Bangor, c.1905 St Winifred’s School for girls was founded on 3 May 1887 and named after the Welsh 7th century Saint Winefride. Its driving force and primary sponsor was the Honourable Eleanor Douglas Pennant, one of the daughters of Lord Penrhyn. Initially based in Bangor, North Wales, the school later moved to the small coastal town of Llanfairfechan, eight miles east of Bangor. The school was founded to fill the void of quality female education available at the time, and it primarily accepted boarders with a small number of day girls, all mostly from a middle-class background.
Tuition was holistic: ‘to provide, upon a sound and accurate system, a religious and useful education for the daughters of clergymen and professional men of limited means, and the agricultural and commercial classes generally’ (taken from the first prospectus).
The school was a member of the Midland Division of Woodard Schools, part of a UK body established by Canon Woodard to support teaching within an Anglican context.
The school was initially situated in three houses known as Garfield Terrace along Garth Road, expanding to five as pupil numbers rose. The houses were not designed as or suited to being school accommodation, so the school subsequently moved to the grander ‘Bron Castell’ on the High Street. The continued success of the school resulted in the purchase of two houses opposite the site (known as Saint Cybi’s and Saint Beuno’s).
Further increasing numbers resulted in a move to a purpose-built site in Llanfairfechan in September 1922, which consisted of separate accommodation, teaching facilities and chapel. The site of the school near the centre of the town is now occupied by modern housing, but is preserved in the name.
From Bangor Civic Society Library
St. Winifred’s Llanfairfechan The Story of Fifty Years 1887 – 1937 edited by Nesta Roberts (1937)
Note: The first 2 chapters focus on “the founding” and the “later years at Bangor” at Garth Road and Bron Castell.