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On Friday, 11 November 2022, at the National Library of Wales, a one-day conference will be held to officially launch a new Research Centre for the Literature and History of Medicine in Wales, established as part of the Manuscript and Book Network partnership between Aberystwyth University and the National Library of Wales.

The idea of establishing a Research Centre to focus on promoting academic research into the literature and history of medicine in Wales arose from the existence of the National Library's Medical Science Collection which was established through the sponsorship and support of the Wellcome Trust.

The initial discussions were prompted by Dr Bleddyn Owen Huws of  the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University and his colleague Dr Steve Thompson of  the University's Department of History and Welsh History, due to their interest in the field of medical humanities. Dr Huws is interested in the references to health and healing in the poetry of the Late Middle Ages and Dr Thompson is interested in the history of the health of the population in Wales in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Dr Bleddyn Owen Huws said:
"Establishing this Research Centre is a great opportunity to take advantage of the wealth of literary and historical resources and sources that are on our doorstep at the National Library in order to bring experts in the fields of Welsh literature and history together and stimulate more work by experienced researchers and young researchers on aspects relating to health and medicine in Wales."

Dr Steve Thompson said:
"As there is considerable interest in the history of health and medicine in Wales throughout the centuries we see that a number of research areas offer themselves to us, so that we can interpret the evidence found in archives and published studies in the form of books, papers and lectures. Our hope is to attract research students to work in this productive field."

Members of the National Library's staff are part of the Centre's working committee, and Manon Foster Evans, Head of Published Content and Research Services at the Library, welcomes the collaboration between the two organisations:

"We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate with the University and to build on the great work carried out by the Wellcome Trust project to offer access to the Library's medical collections.  Through our role as a partner in the Centre the Library hopes that it will be possible to attract funding and new partners to support further research on the wealth of collections that can be found in the Library."

At the official opening there will be an address by Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian, on behalf of the National Library and Professor Anwen Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, on behalf of the University, and a message will be broadcast by Baroness Eluned Morgan MS, Health Minister for Wales. Following this, a series of short papers will discuss different aspects of the Centre's area of research:

Charles Roberts - 'Memory and Forgetting - the Spanish Flu': Researching the impact of the Pandemic in Welsh and London archives'
Dr T. Robin Chapman - 'The product of affliction: a view of Daniel Owen’s Offrymau Neillduaeth (1879)’
Cadi Dafydd - 'A study of mental illness in the north Wales quarrying areas between 1875-1914'
Dr Steve Thompson - 'This is a scandal enough to make a man's blood boil': Doctors, patients and the Welsh language in asylums, 1880-1900'

The conference will be held in Welsh with simultaneous translation. There will be no registration fee, but you will need to book a ticket through the National Library of Wales website, where the official programme can also be viewed.

** Mae'r datganiad yma hefyd ar gael yn y Gymraeg**


Further Information:

Dr Bleddyn Owen Huws (
Dr Steve Thompson (
Manon Foster Evans (