In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Wales was transformed from a primarily pastoral economy into one of the world’s powerhouses of the industrial revolution. 

Its resources of copper, slate, manganese, gold, iron ore and especially coal of varying qualities were the key to industrial expansion, but mining also brought very distinctive health problems for the workpeople of the country.

Llantrisant already had a dubious reputation for its unhealthy residents and general lack of sanitary conditions. Epidemics were widespread – from the town being decimated by the Black Death through to the frequent Smallpox outbreaks of the 19th century.

In 1697 Edward Lhuyd made reference to the diet of the people of the town when he said, “Antypathy to any manner of meat and drink and I find in none but of good digestion considering their slothfulness.”

One of the town’s first doctors was Watkin Evans in 1780, listed as “surgeon and apothecary” and charged to “attend the poor and supply them with plaster and medicines” for a quarterly salary of one guinea.

In August 1866 the Cardiff Times stated – “All the necessary means are being taken to have every house and corner cleansed and whitewashed in the town, although the committee cannot find time to meet so often as they ought to do in these critical times. There is hope of better arrangements for the future. In general the town is very healthy.”

In 1875 the South Wales Daily News featured an article from John Evans the Sanitary Inspector, Pontypricld Rural Sanitary Board:  "Near the Fox and Hounds about ten, and in the vicinity of the Cross Keys some fifteen, houses are absolutely without water-closet accommodation. That in Sarn Street nearly a dozen houses are totally unprovided with pivy accommodation.

"A number of houses, computed at 30 are absolutely without closet and that from the George to the top of High Street there are twenty-five houses without sanitary conveniences.

"Overcrowding is an issue. In numerous instances accommodation is worked on the double shift system, and there are a couple of lodging in one of which some twenty persons are nightly huddled together.

"The water from this Town Pump is hard, too hard in fact to be generally used for drinking purposes, and it was not so used except by a very few persons indeed. The statement that some cases of typhoid fever had appeared from drinking this water is unsubstantial".

A correspondent wrote a letter to the local newspaper in 1882 which read: "As dirty as the streets of Llantrisant” is an exclamation that has now almost passed into a proverb, and I really wish you would call attention to this matter to see whether our local authority, the Rural Sanitary Board, will not do something to save us from being drowned in a sea of mud, a fate which, I fear, awaits us at Llantrisant."

Clearly the town was suffering from a lack of clean sanitation and local physicians and surgeons tackled all manner of illnesses as a cause of these conditions.

By the end of the century Dr Naunton Davies was the local general practitioner at a time when some residents preferred to seek advice from Dr William Price at Ty’r Clettwr. Dr William Davies succeeded him and lived at Llantrisant Cottage where he also held a surgery.

A pharmacy was run from Ty Plocyn on the Southgate which was later run by Marcus Rees. A short distance away and Dr J C R Morgan built his Southgate House with its on clinic in the basement.

Medical Staff

Midwife Annie Taylor
One of 15 children born to the Evans family of Cefn Parc Farm, relatives of Llantrisant-born Lord Mayor of London Sir David Evans, Anne followed in her sister Jane’s footsteps and became a midwife. 

Working during the 1920s, 30s and early 40s with Dr J.C.R. Morgan, she was well known throughout the district as she rode around on her bicycle. She married and settled in Heol Pen y Parc where the couple had four children named Gwen, Fred, Dan and Lewis. She died in 1946.

Dr John Clifford Rowland Morgan 1895-1964
Born in Llanwynno in August 1895 he was educated at Mill Hill School and Cardiff Medical School. He experienced active service during World War I in Egypt and Palestine and resumed training at Westminster Hospital before qualifying in 1921. “Dr. Jack" as he was known followed Dr Willy Davies as the general practioner for Llantrisant. 

Married to Dr Sybil Magnola Rees (born 1898), in 1922, he built Southgate House (on the site of a cottage, dated 1865) and opened a surgery in the basement, with his sister Gladys as the receptionist. 

An authority on the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Dr Morgan formed the Llantrisant & District Choral Society in 1931 and enjoyed considerable success as its conductor, the highlight being a performance of The Dream of Gerontius at the Three Valleys Festival in 1939.  He retired to Penarth in 1953 and died at Llandough Hospital in 1964, aged 69.

Dr David Rowland Morgan 1923-1986
One of two children of Dr John Clifford Rowland Morgan and Sybil Magnola Morgan, he was born on December 26, 1923. 

David attended the local school, followed by Sherbourne Boarding School in Dorset. He studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he won a Blue due to his prowess in athletics before attending St Thomas’ Hospital, London to complete his medical training. 

He met and married nurse Marion Turner in 1947 and the couple had four children. David enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, becoming a captain. Following his father’s retirement as the Llantrisant GP in 1953, he took over the practice. 

Fluent in French and German, he attained a Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaethiatists at the Royal College of Surgeons. In partnership with Dr Michael Jones, a surgery was opened in Beddau followed by a new surgery in Talbot Green and a third doctor, Ijaz Abbasi joined them

Dr Michael Llywellyn Jones 1933-
Born in London in 1933, his mother was Molly Llywellyn, the daughter of Welsh rugby international Willy Llywellyn; while his father, Dr Gordon Jones, was a Bridgend-born medic. 

In 1934 Dr Jones worked as an assistant to Dr J.C.R. Morgan at the surgery in Southgate, before moving to a new practice in Pontyclun. J.C.R became godfather to Michael who attended Cowbridge Grammar School before studying at the Royal Medical Benevolent College in Epsom. 

An outstanding athlete, he attended Clare College, Cambridge and ran competitively for the university before undertaking his clinical training at the London Hospital, Whitechapel. He later captained Llantrisant Golf Club and became President of Pontyclun Rugby Club. 

He qualified in 1958, was enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corp and married Mary Evans. On October 1, 1963 he joined the practice of Dr David Morgan and after five years he became a full partner. Dr Jones retired in 1992.