Isolated in hospital with new-born baby – new audio

Photo: Smallpox 1962

Mary Alleyne was a patient in East Glamorgan Hospital in 1962, awaiting the birth of her second child. When obstetrician Robert Hodkinson was diagnosed with smallpox, she and her baby were confined to the hospital for three weeks.

Listen to her story.

A victim of vaccination – audio

Almost a million people in south Wales were vaccinated during the smallpox outbreak 50 years ago.

Photo: Smallpox 1962

Davyna Anne Williams was 17 at the time of the outbreak in 1962, but it had a long-lasting and very significant effect on her family.

Her father, Ben Davies, was Headmaster at Ferndale Secondary Modern School For Boys and one of the very first people to be vaccinated in the Rhondda Valley. She believes it was this early inoculation that led to his death.

You can hear her story here.

Life at Penrhys smallpox hospital – new audio

Mr Bowden at Penrhys Smallpox Hospital (Photo: ITV Wales)

The isolation hospital at Penrhys above the Rhondda valleys was at the centre of the 1962 smallpox outbreak in Wales. The caretaker was Donald Tudor Bowen, who lived on the site with his wife Sheila and daughter Dawn.

Fifty years after the outbreak, Sheila and Dawn spoke to David Williams about life before, during and after the smallpox outbreak.

Listen to their story.

£500 compensation for loss of property at isolation hospital

Documents in the official files reveal the battle which the caretakers of the Penrhys Isolation Hospital had to fight to obtain compensation for all their property which was destroyed after the smallpox outbreak in 1962.

Donald Tudor Bowden, caretaker at Penrhys Isolation Hospital in 1962 (Photo: ITV Wales)

Mr and Mrs Bowden left everything behind – clothes, cutlery and children’s clothes. Their claim was eventually accepted and they were paid £500 in compensation.

See the original documents from the files in the National Archive.

Three dead in new smallpox ‘mystery’ outbreak – 9 April 1962

Fifty years ago today, a third patient at Glanrhyd Hospital near Bridgend died of smallpox. The new outbreak in the mental hospital had the authorities worried – they did not know how the disease had got into Glanrhyd. The South Wales Echo headline that day read ‘Big search for smallpox carrier’. Continue reading