About this site

Photo: ITV Wales

THIS WEBSITE tells the story of the outbreaks of Smallpox in Britain in 1962, with particular emphasis on the impact of the disease in Wales, where 19 people died and 900,000 were vaccinated.

The outbreak began in January 1962. To mark the 50th anniversary content was added to this site beginning in January and ending in May 2012, 50 years after the ‘all clear’ was given.

The site is the work of James Stewart, who made a documentary about the outbreak for ITV in 2002.  While he was teaching at the University of Glamorgan, a small group of students joined the project to record the memories of people affected by the outbreak in 1962.

CLICK on the tabs in the menu to follow the story in different locations.

If you have memories (or pictures) from the 1962 outbreaks, please get in touch by adding a comment. Your contributions will be added to the site.

Click HERE to see people’s comments and add your own.

(See also: ‘What do you remember?‘)

Contact the project by e-mail: info@smallpox1962.org.uk


Recent Posts

Volunteer nurse presented with engraved watch

This watch was presented to Violet Torode, who volunteered to nurse smallpox patients isolated at Heddfan Hospital near Bridgend during the 1962 outbreak.

The inscription reads ‘South Wales Smallpox Outbreak 1962 – Volunteer Nursing – Presented to Nurse Violet A Torode’. Nurse Torode’s grand-daughter, Sarah Raybould, contacted the site to ask whether we knew anything about these watches.

‘The watch is just beautiful and a mark of the gratitude from the authorities to the nursing staff who put their own lives at risk during this time,’ she said. ‘The watch still does keep time, when wound up, though it is too precious to our family to wear it often.

‘Mam Torode (my grandmother) did not speak much about that time, in fact, she kept her stories to herself, in most respects so mum did not know too much about her experience then.

‘My mum was actually doing her nursing training up in Hammersmith Hospital when her mother volunteered and she said it was not spoken about.¬† I asked her if she’d been worried, and she said with the little information she’d been given, she hadn’t really worried about her mum, so it must have been pretty hush hush.’

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