Bangor welcomes ‘extra special’ city status honour for Queen’s platinum jubilee

Ards and North Down Borough Council is celebrating Bangor’s successful bid for city status as part of the 2022 Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Competition.

For the first time in a city status competition, an expert panel worked with ministers this year to make recommendations that were then approved by the Queen.

With 38 entries from towns across the UK, as well as for the first time, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, the selection of Bangor for city status is seen as tremendous recognition of the place, its people and its potential.

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When preparing the bid, the council considered three tenets as part of Bangor’s claim: Heritage, Heart and Hope.

Bangor is celebrating after being awarded city status.

The Heritage claim tells of global monastic influence, renowned Christian scholarship, industrial growth and innovation, and proud naval traditions. Known as ‘Bangor Mor’, meaning ‘Great Bangor’, in the medieval period, Bangor was identified on the c.1300AD Hereford Mappa Mundi as having city status.

Bangor’s Heart claim tells of its present and why people love to live, do business and visit.

The Hope claim tells of council’s plans for the future and why it sees Bangor once again being ‘Bangor Mor’.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down , Councillor Mark Brooks, said: “I am delighted by the news of Bangor’s success in the city status competition. It would be an honour for the town and people of Bangor to receive at any time but coming as part of Her Majesty’s platinum jubilee celebrations makes it extra special.

“City status isn’t judged on the size of your town and isn’t dependent on having particular assets such as a cathedral, rather it’s about heritage, pride and potential. When putting forward the case for Bangor we found evidence of each of these in abundance. I would like to put on record my thanks to all those who contributed to Bangor’s application – both in terms of their words of support but more importantly in terms of their practical and ongoing work in the local area.

“Bangor has been given a great boost today and I’m extremely proud of this new and significant accolade for our borough.”

North Down MP Stephen Farry stated:“This is great news for Bangor and the wider council area. I was delighted to add my support to the bid and pay tribute to those who compiled the submission.

“Bangor has a proud and internationally renowned history but more importantly has an amazing future. This city status will further place Bangor on the map as a place to live, work and visit.”

Alison Gordon, Open House Festival, said:”This is terrific news and paves the way for a future UK City of Culture bid. Bangor has an unrivalled musical and cultural history - it was formerly known as the Brighton of Ireland. Its musical heritage goes way back to the 40s and 50s with the famous Capronis and Milanos dance halls; it has been home to blues legend Rory Gallagher, the late Derek Bell of the Chieftains, Ireland’s only surrealist painter Colin Middleton, and hosted NI’s first punk club which spawned the classic punk anthem Alternative Ulster.

“It’s now home to many of Northern Ireland’s finest creatives – Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club, Foy Vance, Hannah Peel, writer Colin Bateman, painter Colin Davidson and renowned contemporary dancer Oona Dogherty.

“A cultural renaissance is underway in Bangor that will drive the future identity and economy of our town. Our annual Open House Festival highlights the wealth of local talent on our doorstep, and our new music and arts venue in the restored Court House on Bangor seafront is just one of the capital projects currently underway. We honestly believe that over the next decade Bangor will cement its place as the Brighton of Northern Ireland and become a major destination for cultural tourism.”

Stephen Reid, chief executive of Ards and North Borough Council, commented: “It’s a very exciting day for Bangor with the award of city status and I would like to thank all those who assisted us with the preparation of our bid.

“For us, this competition was an opportunity to celebrate Bangor’s heritage, its people and, very importantly, its potential, as we look forward to a series of exciting regeneration projects coming to fruition in the town over the next few years.

“The Bangor Bid is on our website, and I would encourage people to take a look at it. While it couldn’t capture everything that people love about the place, it certainly showcases many of the reasons we can feel proud of Bangor and will, I hope, start many positive conversations about the future of our now City.”

Along with Bangor, city status has been awarded to Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands; Douglas on the Isle of Man; Colchester, Doncaster, Milton Keynes, Dunfermline and Wrexham.

The bid document can be accessed at www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/news

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