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Early 13th Century - The Physicians of Myddfai, Rhiwallon and his three sons Cadwgan, Gruffydd and Einion lived in Myddfai, Carmarthenshire. where their medical 'skills' became widely regarded. They became the stuff of legend.

1545 - Thomas Phaer of Kilgerran published The Boke of Children (The first book of children’s diseases in English)

1628 - William Harvey described the function of the heart and the circulation

1747 - James Lind, while a surgeon in the Royal Navy, conducted the first clinical trial, demonstrating thet oranges and lemos were effective as a cure for scurvy.

1796 - Edward Jenner developed the process of Vaccination against Smallpox

1800 - Humphrey Davey demonstrated the ability of Nitrous Oxide to obtund consciousness.

1817 - Serturner began to distribute morphine after isolating it in 1804. The company later became Merck, marketing the drug from 1927.

1825 - David Daniel Davis of Llandyfaelog published "Elements of Operative Midwifery".He was the first Professor of Midwifery, University of London.

1831 - The Government abolished the Slate Duty permitting a rapid expansion of the industry in North East Wales propelled by the building of narrow gauge railways to transport the slates to the ports.

1830s - Glamorgan and Monmouthshire valleys exploited for coal and iron that was transported to the coast by barge. -

1846 - Thomas Morton, in Boston, Massachusetts, used Diethyl Ether in a public demonstration of surgical anaesthesia.

1847 - Ignaz Semmelweiss introduced hygienic practice (hand washing), minimising Puerperal Fever.

  • John Snow, in London, established and exploited the physical properties of ether to, produce a reliable and effective inhaler

1853 - Alexander Wood, in Edinburgh, undertook the first successful subcutaneous injection, having developed the all glass syringe that eased the delivery of precise volumes. He connected this to a hypodermic needle.

  • Charles Pravaz, in Lyon, developed a hypodermic needle capable of piercing the skin

1857 - Louis Pasteur identified germs as a cause of disease

1864 - Griffith Evans, whilst a medical student at McGill University, Montreal, presented a thesis for his final medical examination that argued Tuberculosis is caused by living organisms and that it is an infectious disease.This idea was considered by his examiners to be outrageous despite the fact that he presented convincing evidence.

1867 - Joseph Lister developed Antiseptic surgery using phenol

1870 - Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur developed germ theory of disease

1879 - First vaccine against Cholera

1882 - Koch discovered TB bacillus

1883 - The Cardiff Royal Infirmary opened.

1885 - William Thomas Edwards, at the time South Wales’s leading physician, moved a resolution at the first annual meeting of the Court of University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire that there should be a medical school in Cardiff.

1893 - Professors of Anatomy A.W Hughes (1893-1897) and of Physiology J. Berry Haycraft (1893-19 19) appointed.

  • Medical students pursued their first three years of study at the University College of South Wales & Monmouthshire in Cardiff, but students have to study for their clinical subjects elsewhere - usually in London.
  • University of Wales was granted its Royal Charter on 30"` November 1893.

1894 - School of Medicine officially opens 14th February on the top floor of the College building, Newport Road (until 1883 called the Glamorganshire & Monmouthshire Infirmary) by Sir Richard Quain, President of the General Medical Council (GMC). The School consisted, in this early form, of the Departments of Anatomy and Physiology. There was also a part-time teacher in Materia Medica (Dr Donald Rose Paterson).

1895 - Wilhelm Konrad Rontgen discovers X-Rays

1896 - First Typhoid vaccine

1901 - Landsteiner classifies blood groups: A,B,AB & O.

1899 - Felix Hoffman develops Aspirin

1905 - Cardiff granted City status

1906 - Supplemental Charter enabling the University of Wales to confer degrees in medicine - although students still have to do their clinical training in a recognised institution elsewhere.

1909 - First Chair of Pathology & Bacteriology created in the University of Wales, with the appointment of Prof. E. Emrys-Roberts (1910-1924).

1910 - David Davies, MP, conceived the idea of establishing a Welsh memorial to the late King Edward VII as a campaign to eradicate TB from Wales and Monmouthshire

1911 - Llwynypia Infirmary opened

  • 1911 - The National Insurance Act (1911) made law as the result of the efforts of David Lloyd George
  • The Cardiff Royal Infirmary (CRI) was renamed The King Edward VII Hospital for a short time (until 1923, when it reverted back to CRI).
  • During this formative period, CRI was firmly established as a teaching hospital.

1912 - King Edward VII Welsh National Memorial Association established by Royal Charter. It became known as the W.N.M.A.. The National Insurance Act was amended to enable Welsh Authorities to delegate their obligation to provide an anti-tuberculosis service to the Memorial, and the local authorities themselves provided finance from the rates. This provided for a coordinated attack on the problem, with Sanatoria and specialised institutions being built and run from offices in Cardiff.

1914 - A deputation led by Lord Kenyon, Senior Deputy-Chancellor of the University of Wales, waits upon David Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer to seek a Government grant toward maintaining a complete national medical school in Wales.

1915 - Laying of foundation stone of the Physiology Block on Newport Road, the first stage of the new Welsh National School of Medicine (WNSM). Funds are made available with a donation of £100,000 by Sir William James Thomas, College Vice-President.

1916 - J.W. Tudor (later Sir Tudor) Thomas becomes first person to receive the MB BCh Degree of the University of Wales.

  • Llangwyfan Sanatorium opened for TB patients and exposed them to spartan conditions.Funded by W.N.M.A.

1918 - Publication of the Haldane Report recommending establishment of the WNSM as a constituent college of the University of Wales. This is successfully resisted by the University College of South Wales & Monmouthshire.

  • Prince of Wales Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers opened by HRH Edward, Prince of Wales, in The Walk, Cardiff

1919 - Prof. E.L. Collis appointed as Professor of Preventive Medicine. This Chair created by a £30,000 endowment from Miss Emily Charlotte Talbot of Margam.

1920 - July: North Wales Sanatorium, Llangwyfan and the South Wales Sanatorium, Talgarth, were opened by King George V.

  • Appointment of Prof. S. Lyle Cummins as Professor of Tuberculosis, the Chair endowed by the Davies family of Llandinam.
  • Dangerous Drugs Act (1920) controlled use and distribution of raw opium, morphine, heroin. cocaine, and ecgnine.

1921 - The establishment of the WNSM as a full medical school within the University College, providing clinical as well as pre-clinical training. The King Edward VII Hospital received the new Medical School, to be known as the Welsh National School of Medicine (WNSM).

  • The clinical years, organised under the Hospital Unit System had:
    Professor A.M.Kennedy (Medicine)
    Professor A.W.Sheen (Surgery)
    Professor Ewan Maclean (Obstetrics)

1922 - Insulin first used to treat Diabetes

1923 - First Diphtheria Vaccine

1924 - Purchase of Rookwood Hospital and grounds for Medical School use. The sum of £14,000 awarded by the Rockefeller Foundation to build research laboratories for the Department of Medicine at Cardiff Infirmary, the first important milestone on the School’s road to maturity and credibility.

1925 - Cardiff Infirmary was dependent on special appeals to the public, large gifts from benefactors and the voluntary contributions of miners and factory workers. The Infirmary's Treasurer was personally liable for any debts. Incorporation for the Infirmary was sought by Royal Charter. This was granted in 1925 and the Infirmary became the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (CRI).

1927 - The New Medical Unit at Cardiff Royal Infirmary opened.

1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

  • A period of friction between the College and CRI leads to the hospital withdrawing clinical teaching facilities for a year. The School’s clinical students are re-located mainly to the London Medical Schools.

1931 After years of controversy, the College finally agrees that the Departments which provided for the three final years of medical study should be transferred to a new institution, retaining the name Welsh National School of Medicine (WNSM), but no longer forming an integral part of the College at Cardiff. The WNSM is incorporated by Royal Charter on 5th February. The WNSM has its own Provost, Council and Senate. The main centre of clinical teaching is the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, supported by the City Lodge and Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital, The Walk. Pre-clinical departments remain as part of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire in the Newport Road buildings at Cardiff.

1932 - A. G. (Pop) Watkins appointed as Physician in Childrens' Diseases and Lecturer in Child Health at the Welsh National School of Medicine.

1933 - Llandough Hospital opened.

1935 - Llandough Hospital (opened in October 1933) formally becomes a ‘Recognised Clinical Institution’ of the WNSM.

1938 - Welsh National Temple of Peace and Health completed by David Davies, 1st Baron Davies of Llandinam. He later gave it to the W.N.M.A. as their headquarters.

1939 - Second World War begins. During the war, students from University College Hospital London are evacuated to the WNSM where they are supervised by two eminent figures - Dr Max Rosenheim and Sir Thomas Lewis.

1943 - Selman Wksman discovers Streptomycin

1944 - W.N.M.A inaugurated the first mobile Miniature Mass Radiography Unit in the UK. The first X-Ray taken by the Unit was of Lord Davies. It revealed a lesion from which he died later that year.

1945 - Medical Research Council Pneumoconiosis Research Unit established. It's building in Llandough Hospital, was opened in 1950.

1946 - National Health Service Act became Law. The W.N.M.A was not granted permission to continue as an independent organisation for Wales.

1947 - 150 clinical students are enrolled with the Medical School (17 from outside Wales), 26 pharmaceutical students and 25 students pursuing postgraduate courses in public health and tuberculosis. In addition, nearly 100 students are enrolled on courses for health visitors, midwives and sanitary scientists.

1948 - July 5th - the National Health Service (NHS) was established. Although not everyone greets the introduction of the NHS in the same way (some Cardiff medical students chose to wear black armbands), many young doctors, like Ken Wheeler, who set up in General Practice in Tredegar, looks to the future with great optimism. He later recalls that, "the sense of relief that the financial barrier between doctor and patient had finally come down was huge".

 1950 - Agreement is finally reached to develop a 53-acre site at the Heath Park, Cardiff to create 'a medical teaching centre consisting of a teaching hospital and medical school, a dental hospital and a dental school'.

  • Arthur ‘Pop’ Watkins becomes the first Professor of Child Health.

1953 - First university-funded Chair of Anaesthesia created with William Mushin appointed as Professor of Anaesthetics in Cardiff.

1955 - Salk vaccine against polio

1959 - Medical School House, Newport Road, Cardiff - Temporary accommodation for Medical School Administration, together with the library and staff refectory. (Vacated when staff are moved to the Heath site in 1971.)

  • Publication of Prof. William Mushin’s "Automatic ventilation of the lungs" an exhaustive treatment of all extant lung ventilators - widely accepted as a classic work on the subject.

1960 - Electron microscopy is used to quickly distinguish between chickenpox and smallpox viruses during the South Wales smallpox epidemic that originated in Pontypool.

  • Archibald ‘Archie’ Cochrane is appointed David Davies Professor of Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases with responsibility for the Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases Course. He negotiates a place in the university curriculum for epidemiology and medical statistics. "I wanted all the students . . . to appreciate the value of good data collection and analysis . . ."

1961 - On 1st August, Professor Brian E.D. Cooke made Dean-Elect of the Dental School, University College, 36 Newport Road, Cardiff. He assumed the office the following year.

1962 - Professor Brian E.D. Cooke assumed the office of Dean of the Dental School

  • Building commences on the site chosen at the Heath Park, Cardiff for the University Hospital of Wales, Ysbyty Athrofaol Cymru, with plans for a Dental School and Medical School as part of the complex.

1964 - In October, 23 dental students were admitted for the first time to pre-clinical courses at University College, Cardiff. Five Senior Lecturers were also appointed, together with supporting clerical staff.

1966 - the Dental School and Hospital is officially opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

1967 - Christian Barnard undertakes first human heart transplant

  • The first phase of the Tenovus Institute for Cancer Research opened by HRH The Princess Margaret on the Heath Park site.

 1968 - Professor Archie Cochrane writes, "Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on the Health Service" — the concept of evidence-based medicine is born.

1971 - Formal opening of the Medical Teaching Centre incorporating the 800-bedded University Hospital of Wales and the WNSM by HRH The Queen.

  • Director of Nursing Studies is appointed after generous benefaction by the Jane Hodge Foundation. Course of studies leading to Bachelor of Nursing of the University of Wales commences

1975 - Robert Ledley develops CAT scanning

1975 - A team, led by Dr (later Professor) Mike Rosen from the Anaesthetics Dept, developed the first Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) equipment.

1976 - Tenovus Institute study the effects of Tamoxifen on plasma hormone levels in patients with advanced breast cancer.

 1979 - The UGC’s Medical Sub-Committee endorses WNSM’s ‘all-Wales’ role in clinical medical education.

1980 - Smallpox eradicated.

1981 - Electron microscope studies, in conjunction with the London School of Tropical Medicine, lead to the discovery of ‘podoconiosis’, a strain of elephantiasis commonly affecting people in mountainous areas of Ethiopia, The Cameroons and Andes.

 1983 - HIV virus identified

1984 - WNSM obtains a new Royal Charter and is renamed the University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM).

1985 - MRC Pneumoconiosis Research Unit at Llandough Hospital finally closed its doors.

1987 - Institute of Medical Genetics at the Heath Park site, Cardiff is opened by HRH The Prince of Wales.

 1988 - The College of Medicine acts as host to the Court of the University of Wales for the first time. At this meeting final approval is given for the elevation of the College to full College status within the University of Wales.

1990 - The UWCM academic sub-department of Psychological Medicine is opened at the North Wales Hospital, Denbigh.

1998 - College awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the chemiluminescent labelling technology developed in the College in the 1970s

1999 - In February, the Sir Geraint Evans Wales Heart Research Institute opens following a major all-Wales funding campaign.

2000 - UWCM is awarded £13.5 million from the Joint Infrastructure Fund (a joint Government/Wellcome Trust research initiative) to build the Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research in Wales on the Heath Park Site.

2001 - The Swansea Clinical School is established as a partnership between UWCM, University of Wales Swansea and the Swansea NHS Trust.

2002 - On 1st April 2002 the Gwent Clinical School is formally established..

2004 - Professor Sir Peter Harper, Department of Medical Genetics Knighted.

2004 - UWCM and University of Wales Cardiff officially merge to form ‘Cardiff University’, thus re-establishing the Medical School within its parent body after 70 years. The Medical School becomes part of the Wales College of Medicine, Biology, Life and Health Sciences.

2004 - The Swansea Clinical School admitted its first students into the Graduate Entry Programme in Medicine. Students will spend the first two years at the University of Wales Swansea and the Swansea NHS Trust. They will then join medical students of the Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff University to complete their medical studies for two further years.

2007 - Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS wins the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his series of groundbreaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals.


Jones, G. R. B., 'THE KING EDWARD VII WELSH NATIONAL MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION, 1912—1948', Proceedings of the 9th British Congress of the History of Medicine, Sepember 1973.