Dr Henry James Paine

August 17th, 2011 by Admin Leave a reply »
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



  1. Brian Hill says:

    Interesting. I recall delivering my father to the Hamadryad around 1970 for a minor procedure.
    The tie-up for me is as a current amateur Naval/maritime historian born and bred in Cardiff (now detached) I have recently expanded my interest into ships that were ‘demobbed’ from active service only to find Cardiff had Three! The information on Dr Paine and his involvement with the ship helps my research. I have ship information but this will provide a view on the later useage. Thankyou. Q: Do I need permission to use it please? or is it in the public domain.

  2. Admin says:

    Hi Brian
    Thank you for your comments. I had no idea that surgical procedures were done at the Hamadryad, what do you recall of the hospital?
    The information on Dr Paine is in the public domain – if you put “Cathays Cemetery Heritage Trail” in Google it is the first result that comes up.
    If you find any information out during your research on the Hamadryad hospital please share it with us.
    Thank you

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