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Guest Contribution


Audio Archive: Oral History - Health Services in Ewyas Lacy

Place name:

Ewyas Lacy




Extracts from a DVD published by the Longtown and District Historical Society in 2007 entitled “In the Shadow of the Black Mountains: Memories of Rural Life in South West Herefordshire”. The audio recordings are reproduced here with their kind permission, after adaptation by the Ewyas Lacy Study Group for website presentation.

The material consists of interviews with local residents designed to record an oral history of the parishes of Ewyas Lacy. The work was carried out by members of the LDHS Oral History Group between 2004 and 2006 as part of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


The memories in this clip relate to the history of health services in Ewyas Lacy, both medical and veterinary. Memories from a local doctor encompass the development of medical services in Longtown and the Golden Valley. The recollections include those of an earlier generation establishing the first practice in Vowchurch in 1896 in the midst of a Diphtheria epidemic. The practice expanded in the early and middle years of the twentieth century, with ‘front room surgeries’ in private houses in the various villages and hamlets of the area. The narrator describes some popular treatments of the time, and how on occasion he was prevailed upon to treat animal as well as human patients.

A contribution from a local vet is also included, in which the difficulties of excursions from Hay into the wild ‘Hill-Billy’ country up near the Black Mountains are graphically described.


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