In recent years, as student number have grown, the School of Art has been fortunate to occupy additional teaching and studio spaces in nearby ‘Old College’, as it is affectionately known in Aberystwyth. Opened as the Castle Hotel in April 1865, it is one of finest examples of the work of Gothic Revival architect John Pollard Seddon (1827-1906).
The 1860s saw the rapid expansion of Aberystwyth in anticipation of the arrival of the railway. An eclectic Neo-Gothic fantasy with conical spires, castellated towers, gargoyled parapets, and steep-pitched roofs like a French Renaissance chateau, Castle Hotel was built in just one year to provide superior accommodation for ‘people in the higher ranks’. Shortly before its completion, the developer behind the project went bankrupt and the hotel was sold to a group of philanthropists intent on founding Wales’s first university at Aberystwyth.