Maison Dieu

Inked victorian image of Maison Dieu

Maison Dieu  was a hospital  and monastery commissioned by Henry III in 1234. One of the stops for pilgrims on the way to Canterbury, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer and royalty would have stayed there. Today, only a single building from a much larger complex now remains. This became England’s earliest village museum in 1925 and … Read more »

Chiswick House

Chiswick House was built by the third Earl of Burlington in 1729. Inspired by the Roman and 16th century Italian art and architecture he saw while on a Grand Tour, he used the building to display his art collection and entertain friends. By the turn of the 20th century, the building had quite a different… Read more »

Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability

Men and women in Victorian dress on a frozen lake, alongside a building with a wooden balconyLan

Normansfield Hospital was founded by John Langdon Down in 1868 as a home for people with learning disabilities and a place where they could be educated. ‘Downs Syndrome’ is named after him. The site includes a Victorian theatre with its original fittings, which Down commissioned so that his patients could learn music and drama.  His… Read more »

The Royal School for Deaf Children

painting of turreted red building

The Royal School for Deaf Children was founded in 1792, the first public institution to provide a free education for this group.  It opened a branch in Margate in 1876 and moved entirely from London to Margate in 1905, so pupils could benefit from the sea air. Sadly, the school went into administration in late… Read more »

Guild of the Brave Poor Things

Guild of the Brave Poor Things

The Guild of the Brave Poor Things opened a branch in 1894 in Bristol  as a social club for people with disabilities. Guild members received a bright red membership card emblazoned with the logo – a crutch crossed with a sword – and the motto “Laetus Sorte Mea”, which translated from Latin as “happy in… Read more »

St Saviours Deaf Church

St Saviours

St Saviours Deaf Church is the only purpose-built church  for deaf people ever to have been constructed.  It features two pulpits, one for a preacher, the other for a sign language  interpreter, and no pillars so that everyone can see what is  happening. It was opened in 1925 for a congregation which had previously met… Read more »

Grove Road Housing Scheme

Grove Road housing scheme was a groundbreaking development, opened in 1976 in Sutton-in-Ashfield, which allowed disabled people to live in society and not in an institution. When I first became disabled in the mid-1960s, the only prospects for people who needed help with their personal care were to be looked after by their families, to marry… Read more »