Porthaethwy – The town of Menai Bridge

townThe town of Menai Bridge stands on the banks of the Menai Strait in South East Anglesey (as shown on the map). The original name for the town was Porthaethwy and this is still the name by which the town is known in Welsh. The name Porthaethwy derives from the Welsh ‘porth’ meaning a ‘port’ and ‘dindaethwy’ the name of a local tribe and means ‘the port of the tribe of Dindaethwy’. The town currently has a population of approximately 3,850.

Although most of the old businesses have stopped or have moved to bigger sites, there are a number of specialist businesses based in the town providing services. A walk down the high street shows the variety of different services available; butcher, general hardware store, kitchen design centre, antiques shops, estate agents, banks, cafes, stationers and many more.

The town is home to the one of the five secondary schools on the Isle of Anglesey, Ysgol David Hughes. The school has been based in the town since 1963 when it moved from its original Beaumaris site. The pupils in the school total around 1,400 making it the largest on Anglesey and one of the largest in North Wales. It is also one of the most successful schools in the area. There is also an excellent primary school in the town, Ysgol Y Borth.

The large car park situated behind the High Street was originally the fair field (Ffair Borth). The fair dates back to the 1680s, when it was predominately a cattle market. The fair is always held on the 24th October. Nowadays the fair is held every October and during the fair week the town has fair rides and stalls of all kinds and is enjoyed by people from a wide area.

The School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University is based in the town. They occupy buildings close to the Strait. They also have recording equipment positioned in the Strait to monitor current tide conditions. The department’s research vessel, The Prince Madog, is often docked on St George’s Pier where steamships of tourists from Liverpool once docked. The Balmoral steamship still comes for one week every year taking people around the island.

The town stars in one of S4C’s (Welsh language television channel) most popular dramas. The set for the children’s drama Rownd A Rownd is based on Dale Street close to the High Street and the library. It is not unusual for the town to be seen on the program, nor is it unusual to see many of the stars of the show around the town.

The town has a Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, Civic Society, and many other community groups and activities.

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