Sunday, April 13, 2008
‘Awards for All Wales’ grant - Dr Carole Reeves
Dr. Carole Reeves
‘The Children of Craig-y-nos’ project
Have you seen this article by Dr Carole Reeves which appears on the
BBC Mid-Wales website?
"We are thrilled that “Awards for All Wales” has recognised the importance of this community project by awarding the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London, £5000.00 to create a print on demand book which will also be freely available as a downloadable pdf file from the Centre's website.
The book, entitled ‘The Children of Craig-y-nos’ will be a permanent memorial to ex-patients and staff, and an important medical and social history of tuberculosis in South Wales. Because the sanatorium records have been destroyed, we are re-constructing forty years of missing Welsh history.
The book will also be the first ever collective history of patient and staff experiences in a tuberculosis sanatorium. The Adelina Patti Hospital (Craig-y-nos Castle) served for nearly forty years (1922-1959) as a tuberculosis sanatorium mainly for children and young women at a time when the incidence and death rate of TB in the industrial areas of South Wales were higher than anywhere else in Britain. The project was begun by artist and writer, Ann Shaw, herself an ex-patient, who will be co-authoring the book with me.
Ann says:" Many people had never spoken about their childhood experiences before and they say they have found it cathartic to be able to talk and write about it for the first time. For children it was a traumatic experience though older teenagers and young adults coped better with the sanatorium regime."
The Craig-y-nos project has come a long way since December 2006 when Ann began her search for patients who shared her childhood memories of this castle-hospital perched on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is not only re-uniting people who shared their formative years in the sanatorium but is opening a community dialogue about the impact of tuberculosis on families in the Swansea valley. The project has collected over a thousand photographs, memorabilia, and seventy-five oral history interviews. There have been two well-attended photographic exhibitions in Ystradgynlais and Brecon, and a 2008 summer exhibition will be held at Swansea Museum. An online exhibition is at (www.childrenofcraigynos.com). patient / staff reunion at Craig-y-nos Castle in September 2007 was attended by 120 people, some of whom are actively involved in the project and are passing on their experiences to schools and local interest groups as well as collecting further interviews and memorabilia
Information pours in on a daily basis and the Craig-y-nos blog (http://craig-y-nos.blogspot.com/) now has over 600 pages of text, images, podcasts and videos. The project will make available an important educational and heritage resource created by the people who experienced it.
In July 2008, I will be presenting the project at the Oral History Society annual conference."