Guild of the Brave poor things

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image shows man in business suit holding a portrait of Ada Vachell

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.


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’.


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.


Image shows table with half weaved baskets, the completed items on the floor, and a group of weavers standing and sitting around the table.

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.


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.


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.


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.