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Mining Review 2/3: Miners' Health Centre (1948)


Main image of Mining Review 2/3: Miners' Health Centre (1948)
Mining Review 2nd Year No. 3: Miners' Health Centre
November 1948
35mm, black and white, 2 mins
DirectorPeter Pickering
Production CompanyData Film Productions
SponsorNational Coal Board
PhotographyJohn Reid, Lionel Griffiths

How miners at Banwen, Rhondda, helped to make a Welsh health centre with the help of their doctor, Dafydd Thomas.

Show full synopsis

This Mining Review item champions an example of collaboration between the mining and medical professions to create a new health centre in Banwen, Rhondda Valley, South Wales, to deal specifically with ailments common to miners. According to National Coal Board records, it was inspired by a Daily Mirror newspaper article from 14th August 1948.

The film begins with a dramatised account of a deputation of minors approaching doctor Dafydd Thomas, who agrees to run the centre. It then describes its creation, using the efforts of spare-time workers on a clearly restricted budget.

The facilities focused on physiotherapy and X-ray imaging, and a programme was established to ensure that all miners in the region were X-rayed every six months to look for dust-related problems. The physiotherapy department is designed to treat minor ailments before they turn into major ones.

The commentary refers to the use of short-wave diathermy, which uses high-frequency electric current to warm tissues and organs deep inside. This is an effective way of treating chronic illnesses of joints, ligaments and tendons, and it still in use today.

Michael Brooke

*This film is included in the BFI DVD compilation 'Portrait of a Miner: The National Coal Board Collection Volume 1'.

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