Brinley Griffiths (Crynant)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Pocket and desk diaries 1950, 1963. 1967-1968 and 1973; personal and family correspondence together with family photographs and personal miscellanea 1938-1975; Briton Ferry and Neath Co-operative Society members purchase book, undated (c1960); notebooks 1954 and undated (c1954); passport of Brinley Griffiths 1923; material relating to Brinley Griffiths' visit to Russia for medical treatment including correspondence, photographs, press-cuttings, speech notes, note-books 1956-1957; miscellaneous press-cuttings 1918-1964.

Administrative / Biographical History

Brinley Griffiths was born c1888 and was educated at Gowerton Grammar School and Carmathen College. In 1926 he moved to Crynant to work as a teacher and later on as a headmaster, retiring in 1952. He was also a President of the Welsh Divisional Council of the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Whilst a member of the ILP he was a tutor at the Party's summer and weekend schools and also lectured for the National Council of Labour Colleges. When the ILP disbanded, he joined the Labour Party.

In 1942 Brinley Griffiths suffered an attack of pneumonia and as a result his eyesight began to fail and over time steadily worsened. He suffered from scleritis and was on the blind register. An operation on his left eye was carried out in 1952 in Cardiff. It was successful but his eyesight on the whole was still poor. In 1956, aged 65 he went to the Soviet Union in the hope that the famous Russian eye specialist Professor Filatov would be able to help restore his sight. Professor Filatov had developed a technique of transplanting corneas from corpses to the eyes of living people.The visit was partly organised by the South Wales Miners' leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers, Will Paynter and D.D. Evans. Brinley Griffiths was treated at the Filatov Institute, Odessa over 4 months in 1956-1957. He was examined by Professor Filatov but unfortuantly the Professor died before he could carry out the operation so treatment was continued by other Russian eye specailists. Griffiths was the first British patient at the Institute and the last patient of Professor Filatov. Much of the material in this archive relates to Griffiths' visit to Russia for this medical treatment. The operation was successful. Brinley Griffiths died in 1974 aged 86.

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