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Research in the Rhondda - a film of a medical survey in South Wales in 1968

Professor Archie Cochrane explains the research being done in Rhondda Fach on “the curse of the south Wales mining valleys”: dust disease.

Documentary 1969 32 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


Surveys, using a mass x-ray machine, were carried out in the Rhondda Fach valley in 1950 and 1958 and are now being followed up in 1968. As Professor Archie Cochrane explains, although the researchers’ initial aim was to discover why some people developed the most serious form of pneumoconiosis - progressive massive fibrosis - whilst others did not, it was clear that they were in a very good position to study a wide variety of other common diseases at the same time.

The Medical Research Council's Epidemiological Research Unit (South Wales), directed by Professor Archibald Leman Cochrane and the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council's Field Unit for Epidemiological Investigations, directed by Dr Philip Wood, work from a clinic in Ferndale to complete the 1968 medical survey. 90% of the sample subjects chosen were needed to take part in order for the results to be truly representative of the population and the offer of a lift to the clinic in Cochrane’s Jaguar was regarded by his team as a useful carrot for getting the numbers up. The film was directed and edited by Harley Jones, head of the Newport Film Unit at the Newport College of Art and Design from 1966-82.