Archive for the ‘Hamadryad Hospital’ category

The Royal Hamadryad Hospital – Cardiff nurse seeks help with literary voyage

May 7th, 2012

H.M.S. Hamadryad

A Cardiff health worker is setting sail on a journey to uncover the history of one of the city’s famous ships and is asking for help.

Steve Maddern, a Community Mental Health Nurse with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Community Mental Health Team, is based in the Hamadryad Centre in Butetown. The building is named after a 19th Century hospital ship, H.M.S. Hamadryad, which was berthed close to where it stands today.

The ship treated the many sailors who came through the city’s port during the industrial revolution. When it was decommissioned a hospital was built which today serves as the Hamadryad Centre.

Steve, from Maesteg, is researching a book he intends to write on HMS Hamadryad and the Royal Hamadryad Hospital.

He said: “Cardiff in the middle 1800’s was a very interesting place. It was the centre of the coal industry that fired the Industrial Revolution, and its port served ships that traversed the whole world.

“With this came the problems of poverty, crime, and of course, disease. With hospital care being a valuable resource, there was concern expressed about the welfare of the sailors that came in and out of the port of Cardiff.”

Steve said that the HMS Hamadryad was drafted in to provide care before being abandoned and a hospital built nearby.

He said: “The hospital eventually became used for the general population, and only closed in the middle of the first decade of the 21st Century. Stories abound of the hospital, and staff who have worked there all recount the stories of the ‘ghosts’ that inhabited one of the wards.

“The building continues to serve the people of Cardiff, and now houses the Mental Health services serving the southern parts of Cardiff.

“I am currently researching for a book that I am writing and I would love to speak to any former members of staff at the hospital, or anyone with any memories or information about the hospital.”

Contact Steve on 07970 973929 or at

Thank you to Dr Ian Beech for this post.

Dr Henry James Paine

August 17th, 2011
Dr Henry James Paine

Dr Henry James Paine

Buried in Cathays, Section L is Dr Henry James Paine (1817-1894). Dr Paine is best known for his achievements in bringing sanitary conditions to Cardiff and the seamen’s hospital, The Hamadryad.
In 1847 the Rammell Inquiry stated that Cardiff had dangerously polluted water and no sanitation. Typhoid was rife and Cholera outbreaks common. After the inquiry Paine was
appointed the Medical Officer and installed a £200,000 deep drainage sanitation system. The population of Cardiff grew rapidly with Irish immigration to escape the Famine. Some
200 died immediately of various diseases with over 500 people from this area dying of Cholera by 1854. Through Paine’s work by the 1866 Cholera outbreak only 44 people died.
Flatholm Island (near Barry) was acquired for the reception of immigrants with Cholera so that the disease did not enter the town. Paine is also renowned for reducing the effects of
Smallpox in Cardiff. Through his pioneering ideas to keep Cardiff free from disease and improve sanitation, it is estimated that Dr Paine may have saved over 15,000 lives at the time
of his retirement in 1887.
Paine bought and fitted out the Hamadryad at a cost of £1414.00 to house 60-65 in-patients with a doctor, medical staff, matron, nurse and cook. The ship was grounded on “Rat Island”, an area that later came to be known as Tiger Bay. Voluntary contributions kept it going and a 2 shilling contribution was extracted for every 100 tons of registered shipping that entered Cardiff. By 1871 the ship became the only centre in the city for treating infectious diseases and the ship opened its doors to the ill of Cardiff. To celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, a permanent hospital building was proposed which was eventually taken under the umbrella of the National Health Service.

Taken from the Cathays Cemetery Heritage Trail

Hamadryad Hospital

March 9th, 2011

Below is a photograph of a document relating to the First World War with Winston Churchill’s signature.

A discovery made at the Hamadryad Hospital

A discovery made at the Hamadryad Hospital

Thanks to Jayne Miller and Tim Goosey for this discovery