To relieve the sufferings of humanity, irrespective of party, politics or creed?: Conflict, consensus and voluntary hospital provision in Edwardian south Wales

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-262
Number of pages16
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
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This article examines the provision of voluntary hospital facilities for injured workers in the mining valleys of Edwardian South Wales. It considers the co-operation and conflict that characterized efforts to establish hospitals, and examines the attitudes and activities of workers, employers, and other interested groups. Despite certain instances of disagreement and conflict, this article demonstrates the significant levels of co-operation and consensus that characterized the efforts of employers and workers to provide communities with hospital facilities. This co-operation was perhaps surprising considering the bitter industrial conflict and social unrest of that period. The article uses this material to question assertions that hospitals reflect the social and political milieus of the communities in which they were situated and argues that the social relations produced by hospital provision sometimes coincided with wider social and industrial relations, but at other times differed from them or transcended them. Furthermore, the article demonstrates that the co-operation between employers and workers in the provision of hospitals in Edwardian South Wales did not stabilize social and industrial relations in the way that historians of associational voluntarism in other contexts have found.


  • Edwardian South Wales, employers, charity, conflict, consensus, labour history, mining