Event Archive

Exhibition: From Pithead to Sick Bed @ National Library of Wales

Wed 2nd December - Sat 2nd April 2016

National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth


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Our exhibition 'From Pithead to Sick Bed and Beyond: The Buried History of Disability in the Coal Industry Before the NHS' is now on tour! Visit it at The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, until 2nd April 2016.


This exhibition examines disability in the South Wales coal industry from 1780 to 1948. This was a time of great change not only for Wales, but for Britain generally. Since the 1700s industrialisation in Britain had transformed both its society and economy. By 1948, working men and women had won the right to the vote, Britain had emerged victorious from two draining world wars, and the National Health Service (NHS) had been established.

Disabled people, including those who lived in the South Wales Coalfield, were also affected by such changes, yet history books rarely tell us much about their lives during the period.

Drawing on new historical research, this exhibition tackles such questions as:

  •  How were disabled people in coalmining communities treated and viewed at this time?
  •  What were their lives like?
  •  What does the history of disability in the South Wales Coalfield teach us?


For opening hours and to plan your visit to the National Library of Wales, visit the NLW webiste.