It's only relatively recently that disabled people began to be seen as a part of, not apart from, the communities where they live and work. This collection shows the slow shift in attitudes, as a more enlightened philosophy of 'care in the community' began gradually to replace the life sentence of being consigned to an institution.
But the unspoken message is still all too often one of gratitude, paternalism and pity. It wasn't until the 1980s that the areas of civic life that most Britons usually take for granted - housing, employment, leisure, travel - became a battleground for the independent living movement, with assertive and articulate disabled activists in the vanguard.
Graham Findlay (disability equality consultant)
Please note: titles in this collection may contain language or other content that reflect views prevalent in their time but that may cause offence today. They are included here for historical reasons and are in no way endorsed by the BFI or its partners.
About Women - Disabled Living Foundation
Magazine and Review show19737 mins Location: Kensington
Take a look at the creative inventions offered at the Disabled Living Foundation, that provide much needed solutions for independent living.
Adult Training Centre
News19744 mins Location: Solihull
The Solihull centre that offered training for an eager workforce traditionally rejected by the world of work.
Back to Normal
Government sponsored film194414 mins Location: Roehampton
Excellent portrait of post-war rehabilitation services for those who lost limbs in the war, imbued with that Blitz spirit
Non-Fiction19151 minsSilent Location: Putney
Putney plays host to rowing races between soldiers who lost their sight during the war and blind students from Worcester College.
Annual Paraplegic Games at Stoke Mandeville
News19758 mins Location: Stoke Mandeville
Founder of the Paralympics, Sir Ludwig Guttman at the International Stoke Mandeville Games in Buckinghamshire in 1975. Anglia TV reports.
About Women - Club 52
Magazine and Review show19738 mins Location: Norwich
Anglia TV report on 'Club 52', a social enterprise founded by Norwich resident Jean Jurak, that offers the housebound a new lease of life.
Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Sports Day and Outings 1936
Amateur film193610 minsSilent Location: Skegness
From donkey rides to sports day: a year in the life of the hearing impaired of Derby.
Calderdale Talking Newspaper
Documentary19816 mins Location: Halifax
Dedicated volunteers from Halifax provide a talking newspaper service for locals on cassettes, strangely not motivated by money.
About Women - Toy Library for handicapped children
Magazine and Review show19748 mins Location: Norwich
Anglia TV visit the Norfolk & Norwich Toy Library where the mums can get-together while the children enjoy much needed time to play.
Concern Over Safety of Three Wheeled Disability Cars
News19755 mins Location: Ashwellthorpe
Judy Finnigan reports on the safety of the Invacar, chatting to disability campaigner Douglas Campbell at Ashwellthorpe Hall in Norfolk.
Day in the Life of the School
Short documentary197025 mins Location: Walton-on-Thames
A typical day at Burwood Park, a boarding school for deaf children, features in this film made by two of its pupils, Alan Loft and Michael Chawner
Housing for the Disabled
Documentary198226 mins Location: Peckham
A training film, made in Cumbria, Gwent and Peckham Rye, revealing government thinking in the early 1980s
First disabled racing driver
News19805 mins Location: Silverstone
At Silverstone, the home of British Motor Sports, disabled driver Martin Sharpe warms up 'Big Sam', a Datsun 240Z, ready for a big race.
News19728 mins Location: Tile Hill
The opening of Hereward College in 1971 represented a major advance in access to education for young disabled people.
The Silence of the Sound
News19835 mins Location: Plymouth
Signed instruction opens up a world of activities for deaf children at Drake's Island Adventure Centre in Plymouth Sound.
Off to Work They Go
Short documentary197313 mins
See how Janet and Tony cope with the challenge of communicating with their hearing colleagues as the young adults enter the world of work
Probe - Alf Morris announces the recalling of the Invacar
News197612 mins Location: Northampton
Alf Morris, Minister for the Disabled explains why use of the Invacar is to be phased out, to the dismay of some disabled drivers.
Prince Charles Meets Disabled Drivers
News19813 mins Location: Silverstone
Silverstone Circuit, home of British Motor Sports host an event for disabled drivers, with Prince Charles taking a turn on the assault course.
Poppies of Flanders
Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: Richmond
A one-armed soldier is among those shown diligently manufacturing poppies on the 10th anniversary of Armistice Day at a factory in Richmond.
So We're Different but ...
Documentary197631 mins Location: Coventry
Teachers and pupils of 3 schools in Trafford, Stevenage and Coventry make the case for the acceptance of difference without discrimination.
Sir Douglas Bader launches employment scheme for disabled
News19802 mins Location: Chelmsford
“Disabled workers are good workers”. Sir Douglas Bader visits a Chelmsford Job Centre to launch his new “Fit for Work” scheme for the disabled.
Stoke Mandeville Sports Stadium for the Disabled
Amateur film196719 minsSilent Location: Stoke Mandeville
Rare home movie capturing sporting action in 1967 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, birthplace of the Paralympics.
They're only Human Beings Like Everybody Else
Current affairs197028 mins
“A Magna Carta for disabled people” – the ground-breaking 1970 legislation that transformed lives.
Training Centre for the Disabled in St Austell
News19631 minsSilent Location: St Austell
Visitors look around a new training centre for the disabled in St Austell.
With Your Assistance
Amateur film195521 minsSilent Location: Fulham
Broken clocks, basket-weaving and compulsory cheeriness – a glimpse into how disabled servicemen were prepared for civilian life in the 1950s