The Mona Mine manuscripts contain a number of references to Miner’s widows appealing to the Marquis of Anglesey for a small pension following the death of a husband in the Mona Mine. In some cases, individual appeal letters were written with some additional information being noted by agents in the mine. There are a number of widows in the lists of pensions being paid up to about 1820.
In 1821 the miners elected Dr Roose as the Doctor under which they would receive treatment for injuries sustained at the mines. To cover the cost 2d per week was retained from their wages. However, by 1831 up to three doctors where treating the miners. Those people who were injured outside the mines had to depend on the doctors available at the poor union
In February 1831 Sanderson visited the mines and wrote a letter to Treweek complaining of the ” Reprehensible inattention towards sick and hurt miners on the part of three medical attendants. Want of experience and surgical skills is imputed of one of them leading to want of confidence in him by his patients. In the other whatever skills, he possesses he is utterly unable to exercise from habitual drunkenness. The third, and only other medical man, is in the predicament of the second. Seldom sober but fortunately skilful when not drunk. Miners are taxed, well or ill to pay Mr Williams and Mr Roose for general attendance. Mona Mine agents must ensure that Medical aid is available ” ( MMS 2655)
Later in 1831 a Dr Webster , the son of the assay agent arrived in Amlwch and miners were allowed to attend him in a case of accident while still being “taxed” for medical attention.
It was in 1831 that Cholera came to Amlwch a Local Health Board was established to supervise the cleaning of the putrid streets, lime wash the miners houses and collect clothes for the poor.
From 1845 onwards the miners were free to choose their own doctor with the cost being paid for by the company. In the early parts of the 19th Century Lord Anglesey paid for some injured mines to go to hospitals in Liverpool, Bangor or Chester. (MMS 998)
In the first part of the 19th century many older miners, who had given 30 or 40 year service to the mines also appealed for a pension because of disability many caused by accidents in the mine.
Around 1860 there seems to have been a sudden increase in this sort of appeal as a policy of retiring older miners and bring in younger fitter men seems to have been started. This left some older miners with no other means of support than to appeal for pensions.
From the lists of death and injuries at the mine it can been seen that losing your sight from an exploding gunpowder charge was always a problem. Fracture and broken limbs often lead to disability later in life. The other common accident seems to be a rupture Many of the older and infirm miners were set to work in the precipitation pits. This work seemed to be a sort of “light duty” for injured or frail workers. Some of the men in this area were still working aged 70 after given up to 65 years’ service to the mines. This is in contrast to copper miners in Cornwall of the same time who rarely survived beyond 40 years of age.
In 1863 the average wage of a miner was 14/- (70p) per week, Dr Thomas Hughes of the Parys Company and Dr Richard Lewis Parry of the Mona company gave testimony before the Royal Commission on mines, that it was necessary to wait between an hour and two hours after a blast so that the cordite fumes might have time to clear. They also testified that many suffered from Tuberculosis and Silicosis because they were mining through seams of Silica Quartz to reach the copper rock. One of the greatest dangers of the work was breathing in the fumes of the sulphuric acid from the burning ore piles on the mountain and many suffered from rheumatic fever. Some practised their own medicine, such as taking and ounce of gunpowder in a pint of spiced beer for the relief of rheumatic fever. Other miners also suffered from dyspepsia because they drank too much tea or coffee. both doctors started that the miners of Parys mountain looked about 15 years older than men who worked on the land.
In 1872 the Dinoben cottage hospital was opened at a cost of £600. Much of this cost was paid for by Lady Dinorben of Llys Dulas. The new hospital allowed the local surgeons to operate in a much healthier atmosphere. However it was closed by 1893.
Dinorben cottage hospital today
Isolation hospital today
Both these properties are now private houses
An “Isolation hospital” was also opened a few year latter at Llam carw. In 1902 a number of suspected Small pox cases were sent to the hospital. The “Anglesey Isolation Hospital Rules” were published in Jan 1925 (WCC/102). These state that the hospital was only to be used for the treatment of Infectious diseases such as Scarlet fever, Typhoid fever, Typhus fever, Diptheria, Puerperal fever and Erysipelias.
Patients in this hospital were under the care of a “Sister in Charge” and could not leave until authorised by a Doctor. Other rules for the Sister included:-
a) She shall not under any circumstances allow a friend to see a patient other than through a closed window of a ward.
b) She shall see that no friend of a patient dangerously ill should enter a ward without first putting on a mackintosh.
c) Patients may only be visited between 2 and 4pm on Wednesday and Sunday. Maximum allowable stay was 10 minutes.
d) Visitors must be disinfected as described by the sister in charge.
e) Scale of charges : income < £100 pa Free, £100-150 pa 5/- per week. . £250 pa 15/- per week.