Photos chart Disabled Living charity’s 120-year history

Newly discovered photographs charting the 120-year history of a disability charity’s work are to go on show in a permanent exhibition.
Disabled Living was established in Manchester in 1897 as the Band of Kindness and Children’s Help Society.
It organised an annual donkey parade and distributed Christmas hampers to disabled children.
The charity later widened its focus to include caring for adults, and expanded to become a national organisation.
In its early days, it managed a dedicated hospital in Marple, Stockport, organised day trips and ran workshops and training programmes.

A mother and child are pictured in a wheelchair in 1963
Today it provides helpline services offering advice on subjects including equipment and occupational therapy.
Many of the organisation’s archive materials were destroyed in an electrical fire in 2009 at one of its buildings in Cheetham Hill.
But an appeal in 2017 helped gather dozens of largely unseen photographs and other items from former volunteers, employees and people who used its services.

A child lies in a treatment room believed to be at a former hospital in Marple, Stockport
They feature scenes including the charity’s first wheelchair loan service in 1903, the opening of a residential home for disabled adults in North Wales in 1949 and even a visit from the late entertainer Sir Ken Dodd.
Another image shows animals brought in from a local zoo to visit children at the hospital in Marple.
The charity’s chief executive Debra Evans said disability heritage was “very poorly documented” and “still very much hidden”.

Entertainer Sir Ken Dodd once visited people cared for by the charity
She added: “We see a lot more about disability in daily life now than we did in years gone by.

“Images of disabled people were not regularly captured. It just wasn’t a subject that people wanted to capture. These days we see models who are disabled, there is disability in the arts and an awful lot of other things.

“There are incredible stories from individuals both past and present, which up until now have remained untold or largely unheard.”

Disabled Living
A spinal carriage, being repaired in this picture, was used by people with conditions affecting the neck or spine
The exhibition, From Donkeys to Innovators, will also feature video interviews and launches privately on 10 April at Redbank House, Cheetham Hill.

The charity is planning several public viewing dates, and people interested are invited to contact the charity directly.

Disabled Living
Animals from Manchester’s former Belle Vue Zoo were brought in to visit some of the children

Disabled Living
A group of people were photographed during an outing in Stockport

Disabled Living
Another image shows people enjoying a boat trip in Manchester’s Heaton Park

 

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-43643155

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