Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital, Rhydlafar

The Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital in Cardiff, Wales was a specialist orthopaedic hospital from 1918 to 1988.

The Walk, Cardiff

The Wales and Monmouthshire Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers opened on 20 February 1918 in James Howell House, formerly a domestic house and lodging house in The Walk, Cardiff. It was renamed Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital when formally opened in 1918 by HRH The Prince of Wales. To mark the opening, a cromlech was erected in the front garden by Sir John Lynn-Thomas, a surgeon at the hospital.


In August, 1945, the Welsh Board of Health, recognising the priority of need to create an adequate orthopaedic service, invited the Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital Committee to take over the ex-American Army Hospital at Rhyd Lafar. The scheme was submitted to the Ministry of Works on 24 July 1946. The building replaced the American hospital which was composed of Nissen huts. It was designated a Ministry of Works ‘Camp’, and was then converted into an orthopaedic hospital, opening in 1953.

In 1956 the National Blood Transfusion Service (Wales) moved to the Rhydlafar site. In 1997 it moved to Talbot Green and was renamed the Welsh Blood Service.

By the early 1990s, a helicopter pad had been added, by which time the Prince of Wales had really became a leading orthopaedic hospital.

Rhydlafar was threatened with closure on a number of occasions, and this eventually occurred in 1998, with all services being relocated to other units in South Wales.

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