In order to avoid confusion Penybanc was originally known as Brithdir, not to be confused with the current village of Brithdir in the Rhymney Valley which changed its name to Brithdir during the latter part of the 19th century
The Fochriw district came under the Merthyr Tydfil Rural Sanitary Board and the first report which has come to light is for January 1877 which stated that 15 cases of Enertic Fever had occurred at Fochriw, the population of which was about 1,000. In the three months ending June 1878 the birth and death rates in the district were 24 and 39 per 1,000. In July 1878 1 child died of diptheria and one person died of Enteric Fever at Fochriw.
In January1882 there were three cases of scarlet fever reported at Fochriw
During September 1882 a resident of Fochriw wrote the following letter to the Merthyr Express
Sir, I consider it my duty to acknowledge the great remedy I have had from the Turkish Bath. I have been suffering for the past twelve months from rheumatic in my loins and legs. I have tried various sorts of medicines, sea bathing and change of air, but all in vain. At last I tried the Turkish bath at Merthyr, and after four days, I was quite relieved of my pain, and now feel myself quite renewed. I think it will be well to publish this fact for the sake of many who may be suffering as I have been. Yours etc., John Thomas, 4, Moore’s-row, Vochriw,
In July 1883 it was reported that fevers prevailed chiefly in the town of Pontlottyn, and the village of Fochriw. Acute and chronic lung diseases accounted for nearly one quarter of the deaths.
In August 1886 the Medical Officer reported 10 child deaths from scarlet fever in Deri and Fochriw.
During March 1888 four fresh cases of smallpox - three at Penybank and one at Pentwyn, were reported following the eight cases that had occurred at Penybank, Tymawr and Deri, making in all, nineteen cases since the commencement of the malady. One patient had died, seven had recovered, and eleven still remained under treatment.
Brithdir (Penybanc) Isolation Hospital
The incidence of contagious diseases was such that, during March 1888, it was considered necessary for a temporary Isolation Hospital to be provided, and this was achieved by the purchase and conversion of three cottages in Stoney Houses, Brithdir (Penybanc), which had a matron and nurse in constant attendance. Dr. Eleazer Davies, Fochriw’s doctor, was appointed medical officer, and an ambulance was obtained from the Merthyr Board of Health for the conveyance of patients to the institution.
The hospital remained in use for 25 years until the end of 1913 when the houses associated with it were put up for sale as depicted by the following Merthyr Express advert.
Sale of Valuable Leasehold Dwelling Houses and Premises: Penybank, Fochriw, for sale by Public Auction at the Blast Furnace Hotel, Pontlottyn, on Tuesday, January 27th, 1914, at 7.30 p.m. by Mr. A. A. J. Watkins, Auctioneer.
Lot 1: All those four Dwelling Houses and Premises being Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, Stoney Houses, Penybank, Fochriw, now in the occupation of monthly tenants, at rentals amounting to £13 each per annum. These premises are held for the