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Appeal for memories of HMS Clio school ship in Bangor

Boys aboard the HMS Clio
There was room for up to 280 boys aboard the Clio

Families with naval connections are being asked to help find memorabilia from the HMS Clio.

The former naval gunship was moored off Bangor pier in Gwynedd for over 40 years from 1877.

The wooden vessel was used as a training ship boys who were orphans or had been in trouble.

The Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery in Bangor is putting together an exhibition on the Clio from March 12, including photos of life on board.

"We've also got some items which were on the ship," said assistant curator, Alun Thomas. "A wooden stick carved by the ship's carpenter and one of the life-rings with Clio written on it.

They learned how to make their own clothes and shoes and had a good general education, as well as learning about going to sea
Alun Thomas

"But the jewel in the crown would be to get one of the uniforms the boys would have worn. They were dark blue, like naval uniforms.

"We would be very pleased to hear from members of the public if they have items which could be used for the exhibition."

In the past, Alun thinks people may have been reluctant to admit a family member was aboard the ship. But now he hopes people will come forward with tales and artefacts passed down to them from, perhaps, a grandfather or great uncle.

"The Clio training ship is an interesting part of Bangor's history," said Alun.

"There was general local support for the ship and its residents, although someone did tell me that there was some local antagonism because some people felt the boys were looked after better than many quarrymen's children particularly due to the diet being beyond what many could afford at the time.

Boiler room

"They had better food, learned how to make their own clothes and shoes and had a good general education, as well as learning about going to sea.

"Some lived on board for four or five years."

The ship's engine and boiler room were removed to make more space for the boys and the ship did not move from Bangor's pier head until it was scrapped in 1920.

Alun Thomas can be contacted at the museum, on 01248 353368 or alunthomas@gwynedd.gov.uk.

The exhibition will run from 12 March until 17 September.

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