Grove Road Housing Scheme

Sutton-in-Ashfield

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Explore the Grove Road Housing Scheme timeline

1965X

Maggie returns to England after 18 months nursing in Beirut. She is engaged to a doctor but has returned home for a visit to reflect while doing some private nursing in London.
She has been experiencing neck pains following a car accident, but doesn’t think anything of it. One morning, having returned to London and nursing, Maggie is found unconscious in the hotel room of a patient she was nursing.  She becomes paralysed and is admitted to Stoke Mandeville hospital and then the hostel as she does not wish to return home or go into one of the Cheshire or other homes.

1965

1968X

Vic Finkelstein came to the UK as a refugee in 1968 after anti-apartheid activism in South Africa. He joined and became a leading light in the nascent disability movement in the UK.

1968

1972X

Paul Hunt writes to the Guardian on 20th September 1972 to complain that disabled people are ‘isolated in unsuitable institutions’ where their ‘views are ignored and they are subject to authoritarian and often cruel regimes’.  He says he is planning a ‘consumer group’ to give disabled people a voice.

1972

1972X

Maggie meets Ken, who is an outpatient at Stoke Mandeville – along with others who are residents or outpatients, they start discussing the possibility of independent living outside institutions. Ken approaches other Housing Association schemes, but none are deemed suitable for the group’s specific needs.

Meanwhile, the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) was founded by Paul Hunt – Vic Finkelstein and Ken and Maggie Davis are key members.

1972

1973X

There is a major breakthrough when Reverend Short contacts Ken with an offer of suitable land to build on, providing there is planning permission and a housing association willing to take it on. There are complications:  the very idea of people wanting to set up home independently in the community with Ken and Maggie’s impairments was so revolutionary that no official category of housing provision actually existed to encompass it. This factor caused endless difficulty in the initial stages of obtaining planning consent.

1973

1976X

In 1972, Maggie and Ken Davis establish a cooperative to buy land, commission architects and design their own housing scheme. Four years later, on 13th September 1976, Ken and Maggie moved into their own home, which they had designed specifically to enable them to have independence.

Woman in wheelchair in 70s kitchen

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1976

1981X

The idea of Independent Living spread. In 1981, a Leonard Cheshire Home, Le Court, started to explore the idea of helping residents to live independently, and created houses for which they became the landlord. Frances Hopwood was among those who eventually chose to move after 17 years at Le Court. She recorded an oral history,  in the late 1990s explaining the process and what shaped her decision.

1981

1995X

The Disability Discrimination Act is passed in 1995, the culmination of much of the activism which took place in the 1970s. The Act put into law steps to reduce state and business discrimination against disabled people. It has since been superseded by the 2010 Equality Act.

1995

2018X

We are currently working with the V&A London and RIBA to catalogue and safeguard Maggie’s wonderful archive material. We are planning an exhibition at the V&A later in 2018 to explore the ways deaf and disabled people have influenced building design. Ken and Maggie’s story will form a key part of this exhibition.

2018

Grove Road housing scheme was a groundbreaking development, opened in 1976 in Sutton-in-Ashfield, which enabled 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 their nurse, or to end up in residential care.

– Baroness Wilkins,  speaking at the House of Lords in 2006

It was the brainchild of disabled activists Ken and Maggie Davis. It contains  six  flats, three of which are wheelchair accessible.  The creation of Grove Road marked the beginning of the Independent Living Movement.

The History of Place project will be assessing the Grove Road archive, arranging a suitable long term repository and recording the oral history of Maggie Davis.

The Grove Road Housing Scheme timeline

1965

Maggie returns to England after 18 months nursing in Beirut. She is engaged to a doctor but has returned home for a visit to reflect while doing some private nursing in London.
She has been experiencing neck pains following a car accident, but doesn’t think anything of it. One morning, having returned to London and nursing, Maggie is found unconscious in the hotel room of a patient she was nursing.  She becomes paralysed and is admitted to Stoke Mandeville hospital and then the hostel as she does not wish to return home or go into one of the Cheshire or other homes.

1968

Vic Finkelstein came to the UK as a refugee in 1968 after anti-apartheid activism in South Africa. He joined and became a leading light in the nascent disability movement in the UK.

1972

Paul Hunt writes to the Guardian on 20th September 1972 to complain that disabled people are ‘isolated in unsuitable institutions’ where their ‘views are ignored and they are subject to authoritarian and often cruel regimes’.  He says he is planning a ‘consumer group’ to give disabled people a voice.

1972

Maggie meets Ken, who is an outpatient at Stoke Mandeville – along with others who are residents or outpatients, they start discussing the possibility of independent living outside institutions. Ken approaches other Housing Association schemes, but none are deemed suitable for the group’s specific needs.

Meanwhile, the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) was founded by Paul Hunt – Vic Finkelstein and Ken and Maggie Davis are key members.

1973

There is a major breakthrough when Reverend Short contacts Ken with an offer of suitable land to build on, providing there is planning permission and a housing association willing to take it on. There are complications:  the very idea of people wanting to set up home independently in the community with Ken and Maggie’s impairments was so revolutionary that no official category of housing provision actually existed to encompass it. This factor caused endless difficulty in the initial stages of obtaining planning consent.

1976

Woman in wheelchair in 70s kitchen

In 1972, Maggie and Ken Davis establish a cooperative to buy land, commission architects and design their own housing scheme. Four years later, on 13th September 1976, Ken and Maggie moved into their own home, which they had designed specifically to enable them to have independence.

1981

The idea of Independent Living spread. In 1981, a Leonard Cheshire Home, Le Court, started to explore the idea of helping residents to live independently, and created houses for which they became the landlord. Frances Hopwood was among those who eventually chose to move after 17 years at Le Court. She recorded an oral history,  in the late 1990s explaining the process and what shaped her decision.

1995

The Disability Discrimination Act is passed in 1995, the culmination of much of the activism which took place in the 1970s. The Act put into law steps to reduce state and business discrimination against disabled people. It has since been superseded by the 2010 Equality Act.

2018

We are currently working with the V&A London and RIBA to catalogue and safeguard Maggie’s wonderful archive material. We are planning an exhibition at the V&A later in 2018 to explore the ways deaf and disabled people have influenced building design. Ken and Maggie’s story will form a key part of this exhibition.