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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 September 2007, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Photos reveal castle's TB history
Girls at Craig-y-nos
Ann Shaw said former patients all had their own unique tales to tell
A "unique" record of life inside a tuberculosis sanatorium has gone on display after an appeal for memories prompted a worldwide response.

The exhibition has been organised by Ann Shaw, of Crickhowell, Powys, a former patient at the Adelina Patti Hospital in the Swansea Valley.

Better known as Craig-y-nos Castle, it housed TB patients from 1922-59.

The display, at the Welfare Hall, Ystradgynlais, coincides with a reunion of staff and patients.

Craig-y-nos Castle was the estate of the world-renowned opera singer Adelina Patti until her death in 1919.

Ann Shaw
Little did I know I was about to tap into the collective memory of a whole community
Ann Shaw

Two years later, it was bought by an organisation founded to combat TB in Wales and was reconstructed as a sanatorium before admitting its first patients in August 1922.

Ms Shaw, a writer and artist who was there from 1950-54, began her search for information about the hospital and its patients last year, and advertised on websites and in local newspapers.

She said: "Little did I know I was about to tap into the collective memory of a whole community, of people with stories waiting to be told, many of whom had never spoken of their experiences before."

Ms Shaw said all the respondents had "their own unique tales of their time isolated from their families and the rest of the world in this secluded sanatorium on the edge of the Brecon Beacons."

She said she had received e-mails from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK, and had been "deluged" with photographs.

The exhibition is part of an oral history project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Sleeping Giant Foundation charity.

Craig-y-Nos Castle
Today the castle is a hotel and visitor centre

Carole Reeves, outreach historian at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the history of medicine at the University College of London, said they were recording the memories of many of the people in the photographs.

"It will be the first ever collective account by patients and staff of life inside a tuberculosis sanatorium and is therefore a unique heritage project," said Dr Reeves.

"The time period, from the 1920s to the 1950s, is also crucial because of the tremendous activity by medical professionals and other groups to understand the nature of tuberculosis.

"The real treatment breakthrough came in 1947 when the first effective medicine, an antibiotic called streptomycin, became available in Britain.

"The children of Craig-y-nos were among the first to receive this new 'wonder' drug".

The exhibition can be seen until Saturday 29 September, and is also online.

The castle became home to the youngsters

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28 Jul 07 |  Health
Reunion for TB hospital patients
25 Apr 07 |  South West Wales
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12 Jul 07 |  South West Wales
Fourth pupil is diagnosed with TB
23 Jun 07 |  South West Wales


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