Rhydlafar is a small settlement in Wales located on the outskirts of Cardiff being around 5 miles west of the city centre and 5 miles south-east of Llantrisant. The village falls within the community and ward of Creigiau & St Fagans. It was formerly the site of the specialist Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital, Rhydlafar, and the settlement essentially comprises a recent housing estate development built over the former hospital.

Location

The A4119 road lies just to the south, the dismantled railway of the Penrhos branch of the Barry Railway is immediately east, and the M4 bounds the settlement to the north.

Etymology

The name probably originates from the Welsh language word rhyd (‘ford’: see also ‘Rhydaman’ or ‘Ammanford’, etc.) and the stream ‘Llafar’ (‘spoken’, ‘voiced’) which flows nearby; thus the meaning could be rendered ‘Ford on the (river) Llafar’ with Llafar being a common name for streams roughly equivalent to “babbling” in English (e.g. “a babbling brook”). Incidentally, ‘llafar’ is Welsh for ‘speech’ or ‘chat’.

The hospital

The Wales and Monmouthshire Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, later known as the Prince of Wales Hospital, moved to the partially derelict site of a former American military hospital at Rhydlafar in 1953. In time, the hospital became a centre of excellence in the treatment of orthopaedic patients, and the National Blood Transfusion Service (Wales) relocated to the site in 1956. By 1990, students were being sent to the hospital for their orthopaedic training. However, the hospital was threatened with closure on a number of occasions and finally was closed in 1998, with its functions being divided among other hospitals in the area.

The site previously occupied by the hospital is now a housing development with about 250 residences on a landscaped site with a children’s playground.