REICHEL, Sir HARRY (HENRY RUDOLF) (1856 - 1931), first principal of University College, Bangor

Name: Henry Rudolf Reichel
Date of birth: 1856
Date of death: 1931
Spouse: Charity Mary Reichel (née Pilkington)
Parent: Charles Parsons Reichel
Gender: Male
Occupation: principal of University College, Bangor
Area of activity: Education
Author: David Emrys Evans

Born 11 October 1856 at Belfast, son of Charles Parsons Reichel, professor of Latin at Queen's College, and afterwards bishop of Meath; married Charity Mary Pilkington of the county of Westmeath; educated at Christ's Hospital and Balliol College, Oxford, and elected to a Fellowship at All Souls and a lectureship in modern history.

In 1884 he was elected the first principal of the University College of North Wales, Bangor, and held that office until his retirement in 1927. He gathered around him a band of young scholars of high distinction, among whom were Henry Jones and W. Rhys Roberts and continued to build well on sure foundations. The developments which he most prized were the schools of agriculture and forestry, the department of music, and the school of theology, which united in a single faculty the teachers of the University College and of the denominational colleges at Bangor (see under Thomas Rees, 1869 - 1926).

With J. Viriamu Jones he played a leading part in the establishment in 1893 of the University of Wales, of which he was vice-chancellor for six periods. He championed successfully the ideal of a university whose primary functions should be teaching and research rather than examining, and he obtained a considerable measure of autonomy for the colleges.

He was knighted in 1907, when king Edward VII laid the foundation stone of the fine new college buildings. He paid several visits to Sweden and was one of the Moseley Commissioners who went to the U.S.A. in 1903; he went to Australia in 1914, and was one of the two commissioners who, in 1925, went to New Zealand to advise upon its university system.

He left few written memorials - occasional papers and appreciations of colleagues. He will be remembered as one of the leading artificers of Welsh university education, and a man of high integrity and firm convictions, entirely free from personal ambitions. He acquired a very fair knowledge of Welsh. He died at Biarritz, 22 June 1931, and was buried at Whitechurch, Rathfarnham, near Dublin.


Published date: 1959

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