‘Health’ Wing

Directions: From the Committee Rooms, turn left back towards Reception. From the Temple’s Reception, turn left into the ‘Health’ Wing.

The Temple of Peace and Health ‘south side’ prior to opening in 1938

Our tour has mostly focused on the Temple’s ‘Peace Story’, but there is a whole other side to tell… That of the health organisations headquartered from the Temple over the last century.

The WNMA – or to give its less snappy full title, the ‘King Edward VII Wales National Memorial Association for the Eradication of Tuberculosis’ – was the movement for which the Temple was built. Set up in 1910, it coordinated campaigns, funded research, and created a network of sanatoria that became the infrastructure from which many of Wales hospitals would later develop. By the 1930s, the WNMA was recognised as the world’s leading authority on Tuberculosis treatment and prevention.

The WNMA was in for big changes after WW2. With the landslide election in 1945 of a UK Labour Government under Prime Minister Clement Attlee – and the radical vision of his Tredegar-raised Health Minister Aneurin Bevan – the founding of a National Health Service for Britain was to be the cornerstone achievement of the government’s post-WW2 reconstruction and social policy programme. With the WNMA already well-established as one of Wales’ leading health bodies, with a staff and network of world-leading professionals and a headquarters befitting the National Health mission, they were immediately co-opted into leading the shaping of the NHS in Wales.

The WNMA became the NHS Transitional Authority for Wales; and from ‘the appointed day of 5th July 1948’, the south wing of Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health itself transitioned from being a ‘transitional authority’, to the new Welsh (Regional) Hospitals Board, or WHB (view National Archives records) – one of 14 headquarters across the UK, coordinating regional primary care provision. With further NHS restructurings, the WHB evolved into – and the Temple of Peace became the new headquarters for – the South Glamorgan Health Authority, from 1974-1999; and from 1999 to 2017, Public Health Wales.

In 2017, Public Health Wales moved to new premises in Cardiff Bay, and their ownership of the Temple passed to Cardiff University.