Florence Nightingale was involved in the genesis of the Rest Convalescence Home. Begun in 1862, the Rest's first incarnation was in a row of cottages in Porthcawl's New Road run by Dr James Lewis and his wife Charlotte Blosse.It catered for sick and injured miners, ironworkers, quarrymen and their families. The demand was so great that Dr Lewis put out an appeal to industrial magnates, landowners, miners and the public for donations to create a purpose-built home.

CRM Talbot of Margam donated the land in Rest Bay. An ambitious original plan had to be scaled down for lack of funds, and the building work began in 1874, with the first patients admitted in 1878. It was men only at first, but from 1893 women were allowed, and children from 1901.During the two world wars, the Rest was used as a war hospital. Nowadays, 45 staff look after between 150-200 guests in the 90-bedroom facility.