A DisabilityHistory TimelineThe struggle for equal rightsthrough the ages

Stereotypes, cultural representations and attitudesLegislation and policyAchievements of the disability rights movementSocial advancesAchievements in the North WestMedical and technical developmentsKey individuals

A Disability History TimelineThe struggle for equal rights through the agesThis new Timeline aims to document howattitudes towards disability have differed (or not)through the ages and across cultures. It also marksthe contribution of individuals and groups toadvancements in health and social care in relationto disability; and it highlights legal and otherlandmarks in the struggles towards equal rightsof disabled people.This is the third such resource which NHS NorthWest’s Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights teamhas produced.2008 saw our BME History Timeline to honourthe contribution of Black and minority ethnic staffto the health service since its foundation in 1948.In 2011, we produced a Timeline whichacknowledged how lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender people contributed to, and challenged,medicine and health care through the ages.We hope you find this Timeline and its bookletinteresting and informative, and that they willprove to be a valuable educational tool for theNHS and other public sector bodies.Shahnaz Ali OBEDirector, Equality, Inclusion and Human RightsNHS North WestMarch 20133

Stereotypes, cultural representations and attitudesStereotypes, culturalrepresentations and attitudes2000 Before The Common Era (BCE)In Babylon the births of children withcongenital impairments are used to predictthe future.With the cult of the ‘body beautiful’, theinfanticide of disabled babies becomescommon. In Sparta, Lycurgus decreesthat children are state property and thatthose born ‘puny and ill shaped’ should be‘disposed of.’In Rome disabled children are drownedin the Tiber, while people considered tobe ‘mentally defective’ are prohibitedfrom marrying.In Greek legend, Tiresiasis a blind ‘seer’ who, while‘deprived of worldly sight’,has magical insight andprophetic knowledge.380 BCEPlato’s Republic introduces the conceptof eugenics.355 BCE100-200 CEAristotle says that ‘thoseborn deaf become senselessand incapable of reason.’Numerous references in the Old Testamentassociate disability with sin. God tellsMoses: ‘None of your descendants…shalldraw near a blind or lame man, or he thathath a mutilated face or a limb too long, orman that has an injured foot or an injuredhand, or a hunchback or dwarf or that hatha blemish in his eye, or be with scurvy, or4

Stereotypes, cultural representations and attitudesscabbed.’ (Leviticus 21: 16-20). However,the Bible also contains what might bethe world’s earliest example of antidiscriminationlegislation: ‘Thou shalt notcurse the deaf nor put a stumbling blockbefore the blind, nor maketh the blind towander out of the path.’ (Leviticus 19:14).100 - 200 Common Era (CE)There is an emphasis in the New Testamenton cure and healing, as disabled peoplebecome the focus of Christ’s miracles.500 CEThe Jewish Talmud suggests thatimpairment is a holy state and a means ofgetting to heaven; those that help disabledpeople are similarly blessed. In the JewishTorah, people are forbidden from servingGod if they are disabled or tameh (polluted).1100s-1500sIn Aztec society, the royal zoo includesa display of disabled people who live onscraps of food tossed in their cages.1100sPeople with leprosy are quarantined in‘leprosariums’ throughout Europe, anearly example of the confinement andsegregation of disabled people.The Arabs in Baghdad establish asylums forpeople with mental distress, viewing mentalillness as divinely inspired.1300sThe Renaissance period of art andculture in Europe revives the Greek andRoman obsession with physical beautyand perfection.An English law allows discriminationbetween the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’poor claiming alms. Specific reference ismade to disabled people.5

Stereotypes, cultural representations and attitudesFor the next two centuries older anddisabled people depend on charity forsurvival.The Priory of St Mary of Bethlem inLondon is confiscated by King Edward IIIand used for ‘lunatics’. Conditions areharsh, inhumane and filthy and the publicis allowed to come and gawp at theinhabitants as a tourist attraction.The name ‘Bedlam’ becomes associatedwith chaos and disorder.A Royal Ordinance decrees that lepers leavethe City of London and ‘betake themselvesto places in the country’.1400sIn medieval art and medical texts ‘lunatics’,as well as other disabled people, areportrayed as unkempt, frenzied anddishevelled.Agricultural accidents are very common,particularly at harvest time, and parish reliefand almshouses can no longer cope withthe level of need. Attitudes in rural Britainharden towards the ‘sinful poor’.Bigotry and ignoranceunder the guise of medicalscience lead to religioushysteria, prejudice and themurder of disabled peopleacross Catholic Europe,especially during the timeof Pope Alexander I.Henry Tudor exploits the newtechnology of printing inorder to pillory and caricaturehis rival, the disabled kingRichard III (1452-1485).6

Stereotypes, cultural representations and attitudes1896Mary Dendy (1855 -1933), a member ofthe Manchester School Board, convincesthe Board to set up special schools for‘mentally handicapped’ children.She becomes convinced that ‘mentallyhandicapped youths’ continue to ‘pose athreat’ to the community after they leaveschool and advocated lifelong institutionalcare for them.1907The Eugenics EducationSociety is formed, whichwould later be renamedthe British Eugenics Societyand, later still, the GaltonInstitute. They believe thatoffering medical and socialservices to disabled people will lead to thedegeneration of the human race.The movement gains support across thepolitical spectrum in the early part of the20th century, including William Beveridge,the architect of the welfare state. As HomeSecretary (1910 -1911) Sir Winston Churchillfavours the confinement, segregation andsterilisation of ‘feeble minded’ people.1913The Mental Deficiency Act categorisespeople with learning disabilities andmental health issues as ‘idiots’, ‘imbeciles’,‘feeble-minded’ or ‘moral defectives’.Gradually, unmarried mothers begin to beplaced in this ‘moral defective’ categorytoo. Many people acquire their diagnosisof mental deficiency because of extremechildhood adversity or institutional care.The Act leads to many more people withlearning difficulties being incarcerated.1935Dr. Alexis Carrel, a Nobel prize winner on thestaff of the Rockefeller Institute, publishesMan the Unknown. He proposes disposingof criminals and people who are mentallyill via euthanasia institutions equipped withsuitable gases.1939Hitler orders widespread ‘mercy killing’of sick and disabled people. The Nazieuthanasia program, to eliminate ‘lifeunworthy of life,’ is code-named Aktion T4.An estimated 275,000 people are killedunder the programme from 1939 to 1945.8

Stereotypes, cultural representations and attitudes1941A Catholic bishop, Clemens von Galen,delivers a sermon in Munster Cathedralcalling the Nazi euthanasia program ‘plainmurder.’ Hitler suspends Aktion T4, whichhas already accounted for nearly 100,000deaths. However the euthanasia programquietly continues using drugs and starvationinstead of gassings.2012The Olympic Games and Paralympic Gamesare held in the United Kingdom.Extensive media coverage by Channel 4portrays disabled people winning medalsas elite athletes.1992BBC soap opera Eldorado is the first to havea regular character played by a disabledperson. However, in the 1960s, the actorplaying Sandy in the television soapCrossroads becomes a wheelchair userduring the lifetime of the programme.9

Legislation and policy1300sA law is introduced allowing theEnglish monarch to seize the propertyof people with mental illness or disability(De Praerogativa Regis).1535The Poor Law Act 1535 requires townand parish councils to look after ‘everyaged, poor and impotent person’ whowas born or lived in the locality for threeyears. Services are funded by donationsencouraged by the Church.1572The Poor Law Act 1572 introduces acompulsory poor rate; and makes it apunishable offence to refuse to work forlawful wages, or do work provided bythe overseer.1593An Act for the Necessary Relief of Soldiersand Mariners states that: ‘Every parish shallbe charged with a sum weekly towardsthe relief of sick, hurt, maimed soldiersand mariners.’ Amending Acts raising theamounts to be collected are passed in 1597and 1601.1597The Poor Law Act 1597 provides the firstcomplete code of poor relief including for‘the lame, impotent, old, blind and suchother being poor and not able to work.’1601The Poor Law makes economic provisionfor people dependent on charity, whichincludes disabled people.10

1893The Elementary Education (Blind and DeafChildren) Act transfers responsibility forthe education of blind and Deaf children tolocal education authorities.1897The Workmen’s Compensation Actestablishes the right to financial supportfor those injured in workplace accidents.6000-300 BCEIn ancient Egypt, tombcarvings depict in one instancea dwarf as Keeper of theRoyal Wardrobe, while otherartwork depicts blind peopleas harpists and singers.1908The Old Age Pensions Act brings in a noncontributorybenefit for people over 70who have low incomes and can pass acharacter test. The scheme is administeredby the Post Office rather than the existingsocial welfare agencies as they are thoughtto be stigmatising.1911The National Insurance Act combinescontributions from employees, employers,and the state to fund the payment ofunemployment benefits and sicknessbenefits. The latter are reduced after sixmonths and paid as disablement benefit.12

Legislation and policy1930The Mental Treatment Act brings inthe concept of voluntary patients andrecommends out-patient clinics andobservation wards.1944The Disabled Persons (Employment)Act sets up a quota system requiringemployers with 20 or more employeesto ensure that at least 3% of theirworkforce are disabled people.1944The Education Act concedes thatmainstream schools are likely to be themost appropriate environment in whichto teach disabled children.1946The National Insurance (Industrial Injuries)Act paves the way for the payment ofcompensation not just for loss of earningsbut also for loss of ‘faculty’ attributed toindustrial accident or prescribed disease.1959The Mental Health Act abolishes thedistinction between psychiatric and otherhospitals and encourages the developmentof community care.1970The Local Authority Social Services Actcreates a single social services departmentin each local authority area in England andWales. The departments are responsiblefor domestic help, meals and recreationservices, registration of independent,residential homes and social work support.1970The Chronically Sick and Disabled PersonsAct, introduced by North West MP AlfMorris, is the first in the world to recogniseand give rights to disabled people. Localauthorities are given the responsibilityof providing welfare services, housing,practical assistance for people in theirown homes, meals (provided at home orcommunity centres) and adaptations topeople’s homes.13

Legislation and policyThe Act also gives disabled people theright to equal access to recreational andeducational facilities, including help withtravel. Councils have a duty to provideeducational facilities for children who areboth blind and Deaf, later extended toinclude autism and dyslexia.Buildings open to the public are requiredto provide parking and toilet facilities fordisabled people. Disabled driver badgesfor cars are introduced with exemptionsfor parking and other access.However the Act is seen by its critics asgiving even greater power to professionalsand medical specialists.1981The United Nations designates 1981 as‘The International Year for Disabled People’.Disabled people do not play a large part inmost of its key events.Their response is to challenge the ‘for’of the Year and insist on the ‘of’ aimingat self-organisation. Disabled People’sInternational is formed this year and nowhas consultative status with the UnitedNations.1983The Mental Health Act reduces the lengthof compulsory orders, narrows definitionsof mental impairment, and requiresconsent to treatment three months afteradmission.1986The Disabled Persons Act strengthensthe provisions of the Chronically Sick andDisabled Persons Act 1970 and requireslocal authorities to meet the various needsof disabled people.14

Legislation and policy1990The Americans with Disabilities Actis passed – a wide-ranging civil rightslaw that prohibits discrimination basedon disability.1995Protests by disabled people lead to thelandmark introduction of the DisabilityDiscrimination Act. This makes it illegalto discriminate against disabled peoplein connection with employment, theprovision of goods, facilities and servicesor the disposal or management ofpremises. Service providers must nowmake reasonable adjustments to enabledisabled people to access their services.1996Bowing to pressure from the NationalCentre for Independent Living and theIndependent Living Movement, thegovernment makes direct payments forsocial care legal in The Community Care(Direct Payments) Act. Direct payments laythe foundations for self-directed support,upon which initiatives such as personalbudgets are now building.15

Legislation and policy1999The National Service Framework for MentalHealth in 1999 sets minimum standardsand good practice guidelines. But it hasshortcomings in the involvement of mentalhealth system survivors and service users.2000The Representation of the People Actallows patients in mental hospitals, otherthan those guilty of a criminal offence,to vote.2001The Special Educational Needs andDisability Act extends anti-discriminationlegislation for disabled people to covereducation providers.2004The legal requirement to make reasonableadjustments to make buildings accessiblecomes into effect.2005The Disability Discrimination (Amendment)Act extends protection to land, transport,small employers and private clubs, extendsthe definition of disability and introduces aduty for public bodies to promote disabledpeople’s equality and ‘involve’ them in thedesign of services and policies.2005The Prime Minister’s Strategy Unitpublishes its report, Improving the LifeChances of Disabled People, setting outrecommendations for achieving equality fordisabled people by 2025. This report marksthe first official recognition of the socialmodel of disability.2006The Disability Equality Duty for publicsector bodies comes into effect.16

Legislation and policy2007The UN Convention on the Rights of Peoplewith Disabilities opens for signature.2007The Government’s Putting People Firststrategy proposes that all users of socialcare should have access to a personalbudget to enable them to exercise choiceand control over their support.2010The UK Government ratifies the UnitedNations Convention on the Rights ofPeople with Disabilities. It applies to the12 million disabled children and adultsin the UK.2010The Equality Act is passed by Parliamentdays before the general election. It outlawsdirect or indirect discrimination andharassment in employment, vocationaleducation and the provision of goodsand services, for a total of nine protectedcharacteristics including disability.It also outlaws discrimination becauseof association with a disabled person orbecause of the perception that someoneis disabled.2011The Welfare Reform Bill proposes thereplacement of the Disability LivingAllowance with Personal IndependencePayments.17

Achievements of disability rights campaignersAchievements of disabilityrights campaigners16201845Petition of thePoor Distracted ofBedlam to the Kingof England about theappalling conditionsthey suffer.The Alleged LunaticsFriend Society isestablished byJohn Thomas Perceval(1803-1876), theson of a British primeminister who spenttime in an asylum.He later writes two books about his timein asylums. The Society takes up the casesof over 70 patients and, in the process,exposes abuses in several asylums,including Bethlem Hospital. Percevalbecomes a formidable campaigner forlegal reform of the lunacy laws and bettertreatment for people with mental illness.1890Deaf people form the British Deaf andDumb Association to protect and promoteBritish Sign Language. A steering group setup to establish the constitution includessix Deaf men and six hearing men. Thereare objections to the inclusion of the word‘dumb’ in the organisation’s title, thoughthe name lasts until 1970.18

Achievements of disability rights campaigners1935A group in New York City called‘The League for the Physically Handicapped’is formed to protest against discriminationby the Works Progress Administration.They eventually generate over 1,000jobs nationwide.1948The first Stoke Mandeville Games areheld, later commonly regarded as thebirth of the Paralympic movement.Professor Guttmann begins using sportas an important part of rehabilitationprogrammes and organises a competitionfor 16 paralysed men and women tocoincide with the opening ceremony of the1948 Olympic Games in London.1965The Disablement Income Group is set upto push for reform to social security fordisabled people.1970In response to campaigning by disabledpeople, the introduction of AttendanceAllowance is an attempt to cover the extracosts of disability in the widest sense.1971The National Association for Mental Healthlaunches the MIND campaign to clarifyits policy and aims and to attract funds.It is the Association’s first major publiceducation campaign and is considered sosuccessful that in 1972 it adopts the newname ‘MIND’.1972Jack Ashley (1922-2012),a Parliamentary campaignerfor disabled people,sponsors the pivotalmotion in the Houseof Commons making adistinction between legaland moral obligation.20

Achievements of disability rights campaignersThe success of this enables The SundayTimes to continue its moral campaignfor improved compensation for childrenimpaired by thalidomide, even while theparents’ legal case is still technically in thecourts. Jack Ashley’s ability to follow theproceedings of the House of Commons viathe output from the stenographers helpsinspire the development of live captioningand subtitles on television to benefit Deafand hearing-impaired people.1974The Disabled Women’s Coalition isfounded at UC Berkeley by Susan Sygalland Deborah Kaplan. The coalition runssupport groups, holds disabled women’sretreats, writes for feminist publicationsand lectures on women and disability.1977A group of disabled people takes overthe San Francisco offices of the Health,Education, and Welfare Department toprotest. The occupation becomes thelongest sit-in of a federal building to dateand succeeds in getting the The UnitedNations Declaration regulations signedin May.1981The British Council of Organisations ofDisabled People was set up, a nationalcoalition of organisations controlled bydisabled people to campaign for equalityand human / civil rights. The organisationis still active as the UK Disabled People’sCouncil.1986Survivors Speak Out is founded, animportant networking organisation for themental health system survivor movementin the UK. The initial objectives of theorganisation are to produce a newsletterand to organise a national conference. Thiseventually takes place in Autumn 1987and brings survivor activists from differentparts of the UK together for the first time.1992Block ‘telethon’ campaigns lead to thenew Disabled People’s Disability ActionNetwork (DAN) carrying out over 100protest actions in the next five years. DANis a radical network of disabled people whocarry out non-violent civil disobedience, totry to effect change for disabled people.21

Achievements of disability rights campaignersDAN is part of the UK disabled people’smovement, and its activities are guided bythe social model of disability.1995The struggle for the rights of disabledpeople in Southern Africa takes a giantstep forward with the election andappointment to parliament, for the firsttime in the history of the region, of twodisabled women leaders in South Africaand Zimbabwe.1996in the social care field and a campaignerand adviser for disability rights.The work of NCIL is pivotal in changing thelandscape of services for disabled people.2011Launch of the ‘Hardest Hit’ campaign,organised jointly by the Disability BenefitsConsortium and the UK Disabled People’sCouncil. It lobbies the government aboutthe impact of welfare cuts. Around 8,000disabled people march on Parliamentin May.The National Centre for Independent Living(NCIL) is co-founded by Baroness JaneCampbell DBE of Surbiton, an active leader22

2012Responsible Reform, also known as theSpartacus Report, is published in January.The report analyses the UK coalitiongovernment’s proposed welfare benefitchanges and claims that the government’sconsultation of changes to Disability LivingAllowance fails to meet its own codes ofpractice; and that its report presents ahighly misleading view of the responsesit received.The report is widely circulated on Twitterusing the hashtag #spartacusreport.On the date of publication it becomes atrending topic and receives backing fromthousands of users including Stephen Fry,John Prescott, Alastair Campbell, Billy Bragg,Sue Perkins and Tim Minchin, as well asvarious disability rights campaigners.500 BCEThe holy book of Hinduism, theBhagavad Gita begins with ablind King, Dhritarashtra, askingabout the victory of his sons inbattle. In the story, the author,who also appears as a character,wants to give the blind king sightso that he can see the horrors ofthe war which he started.23

Social advances1300sA Guild of Blind Beggars is established inPadua, Italy, which regulates begging andorganises pensions for older blind beggars.1847The Poor Law Union is set up, a forerunnerof generic social services. Farmers oftenact as Poor Law Guardians, earning wagesubsidies by disguising them as sicknesspayments.1851The Census is thefirst attempt tomonitor prevalenceof impairment,specifically whether an individual is ‘blind,deaf or imbecile’.1878The First World Congress to Improve theWelfare of the Deaf and Blind – althoughDeaf and blind people are not allowedto attend.1880sAdmission of non-paupers to workhouseinfirmaries marks the beginning of astate-funded medical service for thosewho can’t afford treatment. The service ismeans-assessed (when the NHS is foundedin 1948, many of its buildings are formerworkhouses and poor law establishments.)Dr Barnado opens the ‘Children’s Foldfor Cripples’.24

Social advances1880The Second World Congress to Improvethe Welfare of the Deaf and Blind decidesto promote oral instruction over signlanguage. In addition, the first internationalconference of deaf educators, held inMilan, declares that oral education issuperior to manual education and passesa resolution banning the use of signlanguage in school. Schools in Europe andthe USA switch to using speech therapywithout sign language in education forDeaf people.1889The Royal Commission on the Blind,the Deaf and the Dumb recommendscompulsory education for blind and Deafchildren. For blind children this could beeither in their own schools or in suitableother institutions. However Deaf childrenwere thought to benefit from being taughtin separate schools or classes. This is thebeginning of segregated ‘special’ classesand schools for disabled children.1890The Bethesda Home for Crippled Childrenin Manchester opens to provide apermanent home for physically impairedchildren. Members of staff encouragechildren to develop skills for work. Thisbrings the plight of disabled children intopublic view and leads to an explosionof new philanthropic projects: open airschools; day and boarding schools fordisabled children; schools in hospital; andconvalescent homes and trade schools.25

Social advances1894The British Medical Journal (BMJ) beginsa campaign to improve standards ofcare for older, sick and disabled peoplein workhouses. Over the next two years,workhouses across England and Wales arevisited by a BMJ ‘commission’ and theirinspection reports, often very shocking, arepublished in the Journal. The BMJ’s effortsresult in improvements in the standard ofcare provided.1899The National League of the Blind forms asa trade union.1909The Royal Commission on the Poor Lawsproposes a state universal safety net forcitizens. The lack of a positive response totheir proposals leads to the development ofthe Labour Party.1916British Braille becomes the Englishlanguage standard because of the wealthof code already available in the BritishEmpire. Previously New York Point andAmerican Braille were used in the USA.1918The end of the First World War heightensawareness of physical impairment issues.1.5 million people have lost limbs, areblinded, become deaf or suffer severemental trauma or brain damage duringthe four-year conflict. People who suffershell shock are classed as mentally ill and,if badly affected, are sent to an institution.1937A report on health services by Political andEconomic Planning points out that thepoor treatment received by some in formerworkhouses has led to impairments. It callsfor the setting up of a national healthservice. It was thought to have influencedthe later Beveridge Report (1942).26

Social advances1941As the war economy booms, a severelabour shortage looms. The Governmentintroduces a scheme to train and employdisabled people. Out of 185,000 peoplepreviously considered unemployable, allbut 18,000 are employed.1942However benefits to disabled peoplewill depend on the causes rather thanthe consequences of impairment. Warpensions are more generous than thosefor industrial accidents and old age, andthemselves dependent on the rank ofthe ex-serviceman. All pensions dependon medical assessments of rather crudemeasurements of impairments.1943The Tomlinson Report states that:‘Disablement need not be a bar toeconomic employment.’ However, inpractice, disabled people are more likelyto be unemployed, and for longer.The Beveridge Report highlights ‘fivegiant evils’ on the road to reconstruction:want, disease, ignorance, squalor andidleness. Health and social security are tobe improved through the creation of anational health service and extensions toexisting social insurance.1948The National Health Service (NHS) isfounded. Former voluntary hospitals andPoor Law infirmaries all become part ofthe NHS.1975The United Nations Declaration on theRights of Disabled Persons is ratified.27

Social advances1976A new cash benefit - the MobilityAllowance – is introduced to allowrecipients to choose the best way ofmeeting their mobility needs, whetherdriving a car, using taxis or getting amobility scooter.1985The first Centres for Independent Livingare established in the UK in Derbyshire andHampshire, allowing local disabled peoplechoice and control over their own support.1988The Independent Living Fund is set up toallow disabled people to continue living inthe community if they choose, rather thanmove into residential care.1992Disability Living Allowance is introduced.1999The Disability Rights Commission isestablished to investigate and enforcedisability legislation, and to adviseemployers on how to secure equaltreatment of disabled employees.2003The European Year of Disabled People.2003British Sign Language (BSL) is officiallyrecognised by the government as being afull, independent, language. This raises thestatus of BSL and leads to training moredeaf BSL tutors and interpreters.2005People with learning disabilities are givenhospital passports containing informationto enable hospital staff to treat themappropriately. It contains ‘red’ information,on issues such as how people express pain,important ‘amber’ information and ‘green’information on likes and dislikes.28

2007The role of the Disability Rights Commissionis transferred to the Equality and HumanRights Commission, which has powersto issue guidance on, and enforce all theequality legislation, covering race, gender,disability, religion and belief, sexualorientation and age.2010The Right to Control pilots begin.This new legal right gives disabledpeople more choice and control over thesupport they need to go about their dailylives. Disabled adults are able to combinethe support they receive from six differentsources and decide how best to spend thefunding to meet their needs.100 BCEChinese historian Ch’u Yuannnotes how some great Chineseclassics have been written whentheir authors were disabled or ‘indistress’, whether social, physicalor emotional. This includesConfucius (551 – 479 BC)29

Achievements in the North West1846The Manchester Institute for the Deaf andDumb is established, now known as TheManchester Deaf Centre.1872Work begins at Dearnley on a newworkhouse on a 24-acre site bought by theRochdale Poor Law Union. By the time itopens in 1877, it can hold 847 inmates andemploys 29 officers. The total cost for landand buildings is £85,000 (in today’s money,that would be worth £6.5 million).1876In Salford, the Greengate Medical Missionis founded to help children with cerebralpalsy.18901899The Bethesda Homefor Crippled Childrenin Manchesteropens to providea permanent homefor physicallyimpaired children.Gilbert Kerlew transforms the Band ofKindness from an animal welfare societyinto the Crippled Children’s Help Society,providing social and medical support fordisabled children in Manchester.1903The Sandlebridge Boarding Schools andColony for ‘mentally defective’ residentsopens at Great Warford in Cheshire.30

Achievements in the North West19051984Manchester opensthe first localauthority residentialschool for ‘crippledchildren’.The organisation DaDa (Disability and DeafArts) was founded, then known as ArtsIntegrated Merseyside. It becomes oneof the first Disability Arts Forums led bydisabled people, breaking away from Shapein 1986 and eventually being set up in1990 as North West Disability Arts Forum.1985An event is held in July at County Hall,Manchester, for disabled people. It isattended by more than 100 people.It results in the Greater ManchesterCoalition of Disabled People (GMCDP).As an organisation run and controlled bydisabled people, it aims to promote theindependence and integration ofdisabled people in society; identify andchallenge the discrimination faced bydisabled people in society; and encourageand support the self-organisation ofdisabled people. Early members of GMCDPinclude Brenda Hilditch, a nurse turneddisability campaigner, who becomes a localcouncillor in Tameside.1985Manchester Town Hallis not yet accessible,and the DisabledPeople’s SteeringGroup have topicket outside it forthis to be changed. Disabled people alsosuccessfully lobby for the Council’s EqualOpportunities Unit posts to be reservedfor disabled people. This is possibly thefirst instance of such designation of postsin the country, prior to the enactment ofequalities legislation.31

1991Manchester City Counciladopts the social modelof disability.1992The first Disability Awareness Day inWarrington is held. Still running today, thishas become Europe’s largest (voluntaryled)disability event and has encouragedand empowered other like-minded peopleto establish similar events in places as faraway as Cornwall, Rotherham, Wigan,Knowsley, Crewe, Gibraltar and India.1500sIn England, large numbers ofdisabled people become vagrantsand beggars after the dissolutionof monasteries and hospitals byHenry VIII destroys their socialand practical support.1995Dave Thompson and Jackie Rotherhambecome the first disabled people employedby an NHS trust to oversee disabilityequality issues.32

Achievements in the North West1998During the 1990s Manchester City Councilsets out to change the way trainingand employment are offered to localdisabled people. Disabled people arepromised support to find real jobs (paidor voluntary), and training to do thework they want. Lorraine Gradwell MBEis appointed to develop the partnershipsto set up Breakthrough UK, a disabledpeople’s organisation which offers supportfor employment and independent living.On July 1, 1998, Breakthrough UK beginsproviding training and employment servicesunder contract to Manchester City Council.2002Breakthrough UK opens its employmentsupport and advocacy service in Liverpool.2011The Manchester Area Partnership (includingManchester City Council, Oldham Council,Bury Council, Stockport MetropolitanBorough Council and Trafford Council)begins its Right to Control trailblazerproject. Breakthrough UK wins the tenderto provide a centre for independent livingacross the partnership.2001The first Dadafest, the Disability andDeaf Arts festival, is held in Liverpool.The festival continues to this day as abiennial event and remains truly ambitiousand international in scale, attractingdisabled and Deaf artists from all overthe world.33

Medical and technical developments600 BCEThe earliest record of wheeled furnitureis an inscription on a stone slate in Chinaand a child’s bed depicted in a frieze ona Greek vase.525 CEImages of wheeled chairs madespecifically to carry people begin toappear in Chinese art.1100sAnimal horns are adopted as ahearing device.1200sThe Belgian villageof Gheel supportspeople with mentalillness in familycare settings, andprovides vocationalopportunities.1200sKing Louis IX of Francefounds the world’s firstinstitution for blind people(the Quinze-Vingts hospice)in Paris.34

Medical and technical developments1200sAsylums for people with mentalillness are founded in Damascusand Aleppo.1300sSpectacles areinvented in Italy.1400sGotz vonBerlichingen, aGerman knight,creates prostheticiron hands withmoveable joints forhimself, after losingan arm in battle.1300sThe Venetian Republic founds the firstpublicly-funded health service in Europe,and requires licensed doctors to attend anannual course in anatomy, attend monthlymeetings and exchange notes on new casesand treatments.1300sA ‘madhouse’ is constructed as part of theGeorghospital in Elbing, Germany.1400sSpain has been described as the cradleof humane psychiatry because of thetreatment at asylums such as Valencia,Sargossa, Seville, Valladolid, PalmaMallorca, Toledo (the Hospital deInnocents) and Granada. Valencia, openedat the beginning of the century, is saidto have removed chains and used games,occupation, entertainment, diet andhygiene as early as 1409.35

Medical and technical developments1500sDutch surgeon PieterVerduyn introduces the firstnon-locking, below-the-kneeprosthesis – very similar tothose in use today.18161760sIn Germany, France, Italy and England,the first schools for Deaf people are set up.In Paris, Phillippe Pinel unshackles peoplewith mental illnesses.1815After his leg is shattered by cannon fireat the Battle of Waterloo, the Marquessof Anglesey begins using an artificialabove-the-knee leg, with hinged knee,ankle and raising toes, developed byJames Potts. The prosthetic limb becomesknown as the ‘Anglesey Leg’.A mental asylum at Lancaster Moor opens,eventually holding up to 2,400 patients invery overcrowded conditions.1817Connecticut Asylum for the Education andInstruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons, thefirst permanent school for Deaf people inAmerica, opens in Hartford on April 15.36

Medical and technical developments1818Manchester Eye Hospital opens, for ‘curingdiseases of the eye.’1822The American School for the Deaf addsvocational training to the curriculum.1869Swiss surgeon Jacques Louis Reverdinbecame the first doctor to transplant skinfrom one individual to another. This wasthe start of skin grafts.1870The Royal Albert Asylum in Lancasteradmits its first patients. It is one of onlyfour regional institutions in England setup to care for and educate children withlearning disabilities.At this time legislation (such as the1845 Lunacy Act) is unclear about thedistinctions between learning disabilityand mental illness.1902The first practical, commercially availableelectronic hearing aid is made by MillerReese Hutchinson.1905The first successful corneal transplant takesplace in Austria.37

Medical and technical developments1920A hearing aid using a vacuum tube,‘Vactuphone,’ is invented in the USA byHanson, produced by Western Electric anddistributed by Globe Phone.1933Harry Jennings and his disabled friendHerbert Everest, both mechanicalengineers, invent a lightweight, steel,collapsible wheelchair.Royal Air Force and other Allied aircrewwho need reconstructive plastic surgery.The Hospital remains at the forefront ofspecialist burns treatment today.19441937Italian neurologist Ugo Cerletti developsElectro Convulsive Treatment (ECT),convinced that induced convulsions wereuseful for the treatment of schizophrenia.1939During World War Two, the Queen VictoriaHospital in East Grinstead develops as aspecialist burns unit. It becomes worldfamousfor the pioneering treatment ofThe National Spinal Injuries Centre is set upby neurologist Ludwig Guttmann at StokeMandeville Hospital to treat servicemenand women who sustain spinal cordinjuries in World War Two.38

Medical and technical developments1946The Invacar company is founded, going onto win a government contract to supplytransport for physically impaired peoplethroughout the 1950s and 1960s. With itsdistinctive pale blue colour, the Invacar wasa common sight and went through about50 versions. Driving the vehicle becomesillegal on UK roads in 2003 as it does notmeet new safety standards.1947Bell Labs invent the transistor, which isquickly adopted for hearing aids.1950The drug chlorpromazine is produced totreat schizophrenia, mania and others.As one of the major innovations inpsychiatry, enabling far more people to bedischarged after relatively short stays onpsychiatric wards. It plays a major part inthe closure of asylums begun in the 1960sand hastened from the 1980s.1950The first polio vaccine is developed.Between 1947 and 1958 around50,000 people in Britain contract polio.Numbers begin to decline from the 1950s.39

Medical and technical developments1962The first full hip replacement is carried outby Professor John Charnley at WrightingtonHospital near Wigan.1965Research into the use of portable oxygendelivery systems are carried out in Englandand the USA. Such devices are crucial toenable greater independence.1972The first CT (computerised tomography)scanner is used publicly.1980The first commercial magnetic resonanceimaging (MRI) scanner is produced. It is farmore effective than earlier equipment forproviding information about soft tissue,including the brain. MRI is particularlyuseful for finding tumours, as well asidentifying conditions such as multiplesclerosis and the extent of a stroke.1990The iBOT poweredwheelchair developedby Dean Kamen usesgyroscopic technologyto allow the user tomount stairs and curbsand rise to a standingheight.40

2008In the USA, experiments with retinaltransplants improve vision in peoplewith failing sight.2011The BBC’s Panorama programmeexposes the physical andpsychological abuse suffered bypeople with learning disabilitiesand challenging behaviour atWinterbourne View, a privatehospital in South Gloucestershire.The public outcry followingthe transmission leads to callsto close such institutions.41

Key individuals100- 44 BCEHephaestus (Roman nameVulcan), the Greek god offire and metal-working, isan almost unique case ofa disabled deity.Julius Caesar, the inspirational Romangeneral and politician, is prone to boutsof epilepsy, sometimes collapsing duringmilitary campaigns.41 BCE-54 CEThe Roman Emperor Claudius is bornwith physical impairments which his familymistake for mental impairment and try tokeep him out of the public eye. But hebecomes an outstanding scholar, writerand historian, as well as a powerfulemperor, most famous for invading andannexing Britain.129 CEGalen, the greatest medical authority in theancient world for over 1,000 years, declaresthat the body is an instrument of the soul.800s1500sLegendary Danishprince, Ivarr theBoneless, whoinvaded England,is unable to walkand is carried intobattle on the backof a shield.Bonifacio publishes a treatise onsign language, Of The Art of Signs.42

Key individuals1500s1500sGirolamo Cardano is thefirst physician to recognisethe ability of Deaf peopleto reason.Lu K’un orders city officials in NorthernChina to provide training for blind peoplein music, storytelling and fortune-telling.1680sSugiyama Waichi, a blind Japaneseacupuncturist, opens a school at Edoin Tokyo.1682The reign of Czar Feodor Alekseyevich(the older brother of Peter the Great)sees the creation of two charitableorganisations to help disabled people inMoscow by providing them with food,minimal health care and a place to live.Forty years later, the number growsto 90 organisations.1697Daniel Defoe,journalist and novelist,proposes an insurancesystem to solve socialproblems, includingdisability pensions and medical andinstitutional care.18091815When he is three,Louis Braille loses hissight in an accidentand is sent to the ParisBlind School. He laterinvents the raisedpoint alphabet still inuse today.Thomas H. Gallaudetleaves America forEurope to learntechniques forteaching Deaf people.43

Key individuals1859The first home nurse isappointed in Liverpoolby William Rathbone(1819 -1902) to providecare for his dying wife;this prompts him tocampaign for a systemof district nursing toenable poor people tobenefit from similar care.His involvement also makes him aware ofthe poor state of the workhouse hospitals,and he does much to help reform nursingin workhouses.1881The Invalid Children’s Aid Association isfounded by Allen Dowdeswell Graham,a clergyman, to help disabled childrenliving in poverty. He writes: ‘Poverty isbad enough, God knows, but the poorhandicapped exist in a living hell. It’s upto us to do something about it.’1898Mary Dendy establishes The Lancashire andCheshire Society for the Permanent Care ofthe Feeble-Minded.1915Arthur Pearson, who had lost his sight inmid-career, establishes the St. Dunstan’sOrganisation. St. Dunstaners become anelite among their blind peers as, in additionto their war pension, they receive financialhelp from this well-endowed society.1961Enoch Powell, Minister of Health,announces the decommissioning of mentalhospitals as part of the move towards ‘carein the community’. In his famous ‘watertower’ speech to The National Associationfor Mental Health, he foresees a halvingof acute patient numbers in psychiatrichospitals over the next 15 years, andultimately no long-stay patients.44

1971Ed Roberts and hisassociates establish the firstCentre for IndependentLiving (CIL) in Berkeley,California for the communityat large. CILs are grassrootsorganisations run and controlled bydisabled people. They aim to assist disabledpeople take control over their lives andachieve full participation in society.The centre initially occupies a cockroachinfestedtwo-bedroom apartment until theRehabilitation Administration gives thema $50,000 grant in 1972.1972Paul Hunt (1937-1979),a resident in the LeCourt institution inHampshire, writes aletter to The Guardiannewspaper callingfor ‘the formation ofa consumer group to put forward theviews of actual and potential residents’of residential institutions, which he called‘the successors to the workhouse’.3500 BCEThe Rig-Veda, an ancient sacredpoem of India, is said to be the firstwritten record of a prosthesis. Awarrior, Queen Vishpla, who losesher leg in battle, is fitted with an ironprosthesis and returns to the fight.

Key individuals19741974Alf Morris, later BaronMorris of Manchester(1928 - 2012) becomesMinister for DisabledPeople – a global first.Vic Finkelstein (1938-2011)and Paul Hunt co-found theUnion of Physically ImpairedAgainst Segregation.(Finkelstein had arrived inthe UK in 1968 as a refugee and joinedthe emerging disability movement.) Hisexperiences of witnessing apartheid andhis own treatment by South African policeas a disabled person influence his ways ofthinking about society and its oppressionof disabled people. Finkelstein and Huntdevelop the social model of disability,which focuses attention on the social andstructural barriers that oppress people withimpairments and thus disable them.1981Dorothy Whitaker, of Greater ManchesterCouncil for Voluntary Service, is tasked withproposing ways to mark the InternationalYear of Disabled people (1981) in GreaterManchester. In the process she assistsdisabled people across Greater Manchesterto network and share ideas.1990Martin Pagel is elected to ManchesterCity Council. He is the first active disabledperson to be elected as a councillor.He goes on to serve as Chair of the SocialServices Committee and Deputy Leaderbetween 1996 and 2004.1991Professor Colin Barnes’ book DisabledPeople in Britain and Discrimination ispublished. The book uses official statisticsto prove that disability discriminationexists, denied by the Government ofthe day.46

Key IndividualsMedical model thinking• Person is faulty• Diagnosis• Labelling• Impairment becomes focus of attention• Assessment, monitoring, programme of therapy imposed• Segregation and alternative services• Ordinary needs put on hold• Re-entry if normal enough OR permanent exclusion• Society remains unchangedSocial model thinking• Person is valued• Strengths and needs defined by self and others• Identify barriers and develop solutions• Outcome-based programme designed• Resources are made available to ordinary services• Training for professionals• Relationships nurtured• Diversity welcomed and person included• Society evolves

CreditsEditorLoren Grant, NHS North WestAdvisorsDr Laurence Clark, Difference Matters LtdElaine Astley, Breakthrough UK LtdDave Thompson, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation TrustResearcherAndrew Hughes, Survivor ServicesPicture researchPaulina CzyzNienke Wolters, NHS North WestDesign and productionClear Presentations March 2013

Similar magazines