Cholera in South Wales - the events

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Documentation and evidence of the cholera epidemics is variable across Wales, although most industrial communities were affected, how the events were recorded can vary considerably. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century local responsibility for public health was divided between vestries, manorial courts, boroughs and improvement commissioners established by local Act. There was no central authority specifically charged with the duty, the 1831-2 outbreaks of  cholera led to temporary boards of health being established as committees of the Privy Council. Minutes and papers of both these bodies survive in PC 1 at the Public Record Office at Kew. In 1831-2, however, some 800 local boards were established in England and Wales (plus 400 in Scotland), regulated by the Cholera Act, 1832 (2 & 3 William IV, c.10). The local boards worked alongside, and often in conflict with, vestries and improvement commissioners, and were subject to control by the justices, who might order expenses to be met from poor rates. The central board was dissolved at the end of 1832, although the Privy Council Office continued to deal with routine matters until early in 1834. No list appears to survive of local bodies set up in this period and any records should now be in local offices.

The following pages give details of the events in the major settlements, as these seem to have the best survivals of records. As Cholera attacked in very specific conditions of overcrowding, poor sanitation and dirty water supply, its presence in any area can be a useful indicator of the likely living conditions that prevailed. 

Cholera in Swansea ] Cholera in Merthyr ] Cholera in Cardiff ]



The View Sunday October 15 2000

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