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

Missed case of smallpox at Glanrhyd Hospital – 17 March 1962

Fifty years ago today, without anyone realising it, smallpox broke out at Glanrhyd Hospital near Bridgend. A 75-year-old mental patient collapsed with what were thought to be signs of pneumonia. When she died a week later, smallpox was not identified as the cause of her death. But later it was concluded that the virus had killed her – though it was never explained how it got into the hospital. Continue reading

The 1962 Smallpox outbreaks in England & Wales

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 from January to May 2012.

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 (see below –

See people’s comments and add your own below (or on other pages).  See also ‘What do you remember?’

Contact the project by e-mail: