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  You are here: Cwm > Themes > Medicine And Health > : Medicine Health and Industralization

Medicine, Health, and Industralisation

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Eliots Colliery c 1910    

Links: Economic Development of the Coal Industry | Pay and Living

The South Wales Coalfield has a unique history of medicine and health. Rapid industrialization after 1870, and the large influx of population associated with this development, led to dangerous working conditions, environmental deprivation, and urban poverty. Economic decline from the end of the First World War in 1918 then compounded these problems through high levels of unemployment.

This page looks at the occupational health and the community health of the Coalfield between the late nineteenth century and the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948. It was funded by a Research Resources in Medical History Award from the Wellcome Trust in 2005, as part of a project to identify medical records in the South Wales Coalfield Collection at Swansea University.

The online catalogue, accessible from this page, was also enhanced to recognize medical records as a result of the project. 

A printed guide to the Collection has also been published: Anne Borsay and Sara Knight, Medical Records for the South Wales Coalfield: An Annotated Guide to the South Wales Coalfield Collection (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007). Further details are available on the publisher’s web site (

For a listing of medical records at the West Glamorgan Archive Service and the Swansea Central Reference Library, please see the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust Web Page.

Medicine and Health Subject Key - The following list of subject terms has been provided for you to explore the South Wales Coalfield Collection for items relating to medicine and health. Click on any of the terms to locate the relevant items.

Wellcome Trust Project Leaflet

Useful Links

Chronology of State Medicine, Public Health, Welfare and Related Services in Britain: 10-66-1999,

History of Medicine Online,

NHS History,

Institute for Historical Research,

Wellcome Trust,

Further Reading

Borsay, Anne (ed.), Medicine in Wales, c.1800-2000: Public Service or Private Commodity (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2003).

Cooter, Roger and Pickstone, John (Eds), Companion to Medicine in the Twentieth Century (London: Routledge, 2000).

Hardy, Anne, Health and Medicine in Britain since 1860 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001).

Jones, Helen, Health and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain (London: Longman, 1994).

Lawrence, Christopher, Medicine in the Making of Modern Britain, 1700-1920 (London: Routledge, 1994).

Michael, Pamela and Webster, Charles (eds), Health and Society in Twentieth-Century Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2006).

Williams, Chris, Capitalism, Community and Conflict: The South Wales Coalfield, 1898-1947 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1998).

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