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History of Swansea-area medical services published as tribute to late author and doctor Tom Davies

A history of doctors and medical history in the Swansea area is published in June as a tribute to the author and consultant, Tom Davies, who died earlier this year, after completing the book To Stand by the Sickbed. Sadly, Dr Tom Davies died in January 2019, before his volume was published.


Rosina Davies, Tom’s widow, said of seeing the first copy of the book:

“The family welcome the volume with mixed emotions – pride and happiness at seeing the work completed and published, but sadness as well because Tom didn’t get to see the fruit of his years of research in print.”


“I hope the book will give pleasure to those interested in the history of medicine, and maybe encourage others to do more research in the field,” said Rosina.


In a Postscript to his original Foreword, Dr R Brinley Jones states, “To Stand by the Sickbed remains as a fine tribute and testimony to [Tom Davies’] distinguished research and his informed and sensitive treatment of the matter collected.”


The late Tom Davies was a retired consultant psychiatrist (Swansea) and a former Apothecaries Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools. He was also former President for the History of Medicine Society of Wales and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA).


To Stand by the Sickbed,  tells the history of the development of medical services in the Swansea and Neath districts, and is published by Y Lolfa.


The volume charts the history of medical services, drawing on what is known of the work of 221 doctors who practised in the Swansea-Neath area between the 17th and 19th centuries. In the second section, entitled ‘A Register of Neath and Swansea Doctors’, the biographies of 310 doctors are listed, as well as some photographs. The book contains a wealth of information relating to health concerns and health treatments with detailed information regarding disease, legislation, provision and care. The information was carefully gathered over a lifetime of research, from books, journals, letters and records by Tom Davies.


In the Foreword of the book Dr R. Brinley Jones, President of the University of Wales Trinity St David and former President of the National Library, states:

“This is an extraordinary volume of information demanding reading and curiosity, covering a plethora of health-concerns, provisions and timely treatments... what is so special is the quality of writing – clear, calm and elegant.”