Sir Hugh Owen

Sir Hugh Owen was a significant Welsh educator, philanthropist and pioneer of higher education in Wales. He was the main founder of the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth.

Active within the work of the British and Foreign School Society in Wales and the Cambrian Educational Society in the 19th century, Owen enthusiastically supported the opening of more such schools in Wales. As the number of such schools increased, Owen saw the need for colleges to train teachers in Wales, and he was one of the leaders of the campaign to establish Bangor Normal College in 1858, a similar college in Swansea, and the Aberystwyth University college in 1872.

One of Hugh Owen’s last benefactions was the establishment in 1880 of the North Wales Scholarship Association, a fund to provide financial assistance for children from north Wales to attend secondary schools.

In 1881, he laid the basis for a complete scheme for secondary education in Wales, which after his death was carried into effect, by means of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889.
In recognition of his ‘services to the cause of education in Wales’, Hugh Owen was knighted in 1881, but died later the same year.