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Timeline 1921-1950

What follows, in timeline form, is a brief account of some major milestones of Welsh history and the development of medical education in Wales.


The King Edward VII Hospital received the new Medical School, to be known as the Welsh National School of Medicine (WNSM).


Purchase of Rookwood Hospital and grounds for Medical School use. The sum of £14,000 awarded by the Rockefeller Foundation to build research laboratories for the Department of Medicine at Cardiff Infirmary, the first important milestone on the School’s road to maturity and credibility.


JD Rockerfeller
John D. Rockefeller

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Cardiff Infirmary was dependent on special appeals to the public, large gifts from benefactors and the voluntary contributions of miners and factory workers. The Infirmary's Treasurer was personally liable for any debts. Incorporation for the Infirmary was sought by Royal Charter. This was granted in 1925 and the Infirmary became the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (CRI).

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The New Medical Unit at Cardiff Royal Infirmary opened.

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A period of friction between the College and CRI leads to the hospital withdrawing clinical teaching facilities for a year. The School’s clinical students are re-located mainly to the London Medical Schools.

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After years of controversy, the College finally agrees that the Departments which provided for the three final years of medical study should be transferred to a new institution, retaining the name Welsh National School of Medicine (WNSM), but no longer forming an integral part of the College at Cardiff. The WNSM is incorporated by Royal Charter on 5th February. The WNSM has its own Provost, Council and Senate. The main centre of clinical teaching is the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, supported by the City Lodge and Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital. Pre-clinical departments remain as part of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire in the Newport Road buildings at Cardiff.

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Llandough Hospital (opened in October 1933) formally becomes a ‘Recognised Clinical Institution’ of the WNSM.


Prince of Wales Hospital
Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital, Richmond Road, Cardiff


Llandough Hospital c 1933
Llandough Hospital, Cardiff

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Nurses evacuating bombed Nursing Home
Nurses evacuating their bombed Nursing Home in Newport Road, Cardiff

Second World War begins. The historian Dr Prys Morgan writes, "the Second World War had shown clearly how important the Medical School was, but also how cramped and unsatisfactory circumstances were". During the war, students from University College Hospital London are evacuated to the WNSM where they are supervised by two eminent figures - Dr Max Rosenheim and Sir Thomas Lewis.

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The Teviot Committee recommended that a new Dental School be established in Cardiff.

Due to increased congestion at the CRI, a Report of a Survey of the Hospital Services of Wouth Wales demonstrated the need for establishing a Medical Teaching Centre in Cardiff on a completely new site.

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150 clinical students are enrolled with the Medical School (17 from outside Wales), 26 pharmaceutical students and 25 students pursuing postgraduate courses in public health and tuberculosis. In addition, nearly 100 students are enrolled on courses for health visitors, midwives and sanitary scientists.

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July 5th - the National Health Service (NHS) was established. Although not everyone greets the introduction of the NHS in the same way (some foolish Cardiff medical students chose to wear black armbands) many young doctors, like Ken Wheeler, who set up in General Practice in Tredegar, looks to the future with great optimism. He later recalls that, "the sense of relief that the financial barrier between doctor and patient had finally come down was huge".


Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan arriving at 10 Downing Street, London


Cardiff Medical College Rugby XV with Ken Wheeler
Ken Wheeler (sitting third from the left) and members of the Cardiff Medical College Rugby XV

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Agreement is finally reached to develop a 53-acre site at the Heath Park, Cardiff to create 'a medical teaching centre consisting of a teaching hospital and medical school, a dental hospital and a dental school'.


Scale model of proposed University Hospital of Wales
Scale model of the proposed New Medical Centre at Heath Park, Cardiff