Credit - Bristol Record Office: BRO: 39842/P/1b

Guild of the Brave Poor Things

Bristol

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Explore the Guild of the Brave Poor Things timeline

1894X

The Guild of the Brave Poor Things was founded in 1894 by Grace Kimmins (1871-1954) initially for disabled boys. It eventually became a club for a broad group of disabled people in Bristol.

1894

1906X

In 1906 a holiday home was opened in Churchill, Somerset to allow both adults and children to spend a couple of weeks in the countryside. It remained open until 1971.

1906

1913X

As the Guild attracted more people, it needed a much bigger building. After a major fundraising campaign, ‘the Heritage’ opened in Bristol on June 27th 1913. An observer wrote ‘their new house has brought an unexpected dignity to Bragg’s Lane’.

1913

1914X

Many members of the Guild experienced prejudice when looking for work, so an apprenticeship scheme was set up.  At the beginning of the First World War, employers approached Guild members to fill posts left vacant by soliders going to war.

1914

1916X

An epidemic of ‘sleepy sickness’ sweeps Europe and the US beginning in 1916 and lasting until 1927. It leaves behind a variety of post-encephalitic symptoms. Some of those affected in Bristol become part of the Guild.


Discover more

1916

1918X

The Guild’s Grace Kimmins set up a programme of ‘educative convalescence for 24,000 soldiers who had lost limbs in the First World War. They spent time with disabled children to pick up the skills they would need to adapt.


Discover more

1918

1987X

The Guild closed its building in 1987, having become much smaller due to changing times and attitudes. In the aftermath it was intially used as a Council office – then from 2011 it was regenerated and is now occupied by the NSPCC.

1987

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 my lot”.

The dramatising and pitying language used to describe the Guild’s members was a product of the Victorian era and unpopular with the membership even at the time – in 1917 the name was changed to the ‘Guild of the Handicapped’.

The Guild was popular with disabled people and in 1913 an imposing new building was opened in the St Jude’s area of Bristol to house its activities. The Guild finally began to decline in the 1970s and closed in 1987.  Until 2010, the Guild’s building was a Council office – now it has been refurbished and occupied by the NSPCC.

Research by our Bristol co-ordinator and volunteer group will be uncovering the changing history of the Guild and its members during its 100 year history.

The Guild of the Brave Poor Things timeline

1894

The Guild of the Brave Poor Things was founded in 1894 by Grace Kimmins (1871-1954) initially for disabled boys. It eventually became a club for a broad group of disabled people in Bristol.

1906

In 1906 a holiday home was opened in Churchill, Somerset to allow both adults and children to spend a couple of weeks in the countryside. It remained open until 1971.

1913

As the Guild attracted more people, it needed a much bigger building. After a major fundraising campaign, ‘the Heritage’ opened in Bristol on June 27th 1913. An observer wrote ‘their new house has brought an unexpected dignity to Bragg’s Lane’.

1914

Many members of the Guild experienced prejudice when looking for work, so an apprenticeship scheme was set up.  At the beginning of the First World War, employers approached Guild members to fill posts left vacant by soliders going to war.

1916

An epidemic of ‘sleepy sickness’ sweeps Europe and the US beginning in 1916 and lasting until 1927. It leaves behind a variety of post-encephalitic symptoms. Some of those affected in Bristol become part of the Guild.

1918

The Guild’s Grace Kimmins set up a programme of ‘educative convalescence for 24,000 soldiers who had lost limbs in the First World War. They spent time with disabled children to pick up the skills they would need to adapt.

1987

The Guild closed its building in 1987, having become much smaller due to changing times and attitudes. In the aftermath it was intially used as a Council office – then from 2011 it was regenerated and is now occupied by the NSPCC.