Oldest university college in Wales to be restored
July 27, 2017 – Lottery funding has been secured to kick off the restoration of Aberystwyth Old College.
More than £10m of lottery money has been earmarked for the birthplace of university education in Wales. The total cost of the redevelopment is estimated to be around £22m, with the university planning other sources of financing for the project including a major fundraising appeal.
Aberystwyth University has initially been granted development funding of £849,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans and ultimately unlock the full £10,581,800.
The aim is to complete Old College’s transformation in time for the university’s 150th anniversary in 2022. Work is now underway to develop plans for the building as a performance and gallery space for artists, exhibitions and musicians, a centre for entrepreneurs and new businesses, as well as café and community rooms. It will also house a university museum, allowing some of the 20,000 items normally in storage to be shown the light of day. A new science centre will showcase interactive displays alongside a planetarium and 4D facility, highlighting the university’s links with the European Space Agency.
The Grade I listed Old College was purchased by the University of Wales for £10,000 in 1867 using money donated by the local community. The Gothic seafront building first opened its doors to students in 1872 and saw thousands of students come and go for almost a century, before Aberystwyth University moved to a newly built campus in the 1960s.
Parliamentary undersecretary of state for arts, heritage and tourism John Glen said: “Aberystwyth Old College is a treasured local building that is recognised as one of the UK’s most significant pieces of Gothic revival architecture. This fantastic scheme is so much more than a restoration project. Thanks to the £10.5 million contribution from National Lottery players, it will create a thriving visitor and learning destination that will provide new cultural and community resources for Aberystwyth and West Wales and boost the wider Welsh economy.”