Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

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Volume Two - The Era of Optimism, Investment & Development - Developments at the turn of the 20th century . . .

The era started well except for the normal minor setbacks associated with the comings and goings of mariners and the rats and disease that accompanied them. The Surgeon-General for U.S. Marine Hospital Service recorded on the 9th February 1901;

Rat's about!“Sir: Confirming my cablegram of the 8th instant, I have the honour to give the following account of a case of plague at Cardiff. The victim was employed in a flour mill and had been gathering up dead rats and carrying them to the furnace. January 27 he was taken ill and died February 1, and the diagnosis of plague was confirmed bacteriologically. One other suspicious case has not been definitely determined, but probably was a simple infection. It would seem that the rats were infected in Cardiff before the case quoted above, but the source is unknown, being probably from some vessel from an infected port."

On the 16th February it was reported that there was a smallpox epidemic in Glasgow with 400 cases in hospital, a considerable number of cases of typhus fever in Manchester but the good news is that there are no new plague cases in Cardiff! In Tenerife on the Canary Islands later the same month, however, Solomon Berliner the U.S. Consul declared:

“Quarantine against Cardiff, Wales, on account of plague - Sir; I have the honour to report that quarantine has been declared against vessels arriving from Cardiff, Wales. They have to undergo a quarantine of twelve days.”

This it seems was due to the Spanish Consul at Cardiff endorsing bills of health issued by him in respect of the death earlier that month! The development of medical science may be contrasted with a report of 1861, only forty years earlier, made by the Registrar General on the subject of births and deaths in the South Wales area. Notably, was the number of deaths recorded as “not ascertained”, “not specified” or “ill-defined”.

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150 years of Penarth Dock History and Heritage

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