This film is part of Free

With Your Assistance

Broken clocks, basket-weaving and compulsory cheeriness – a glimpse into how disabled servicemen were prepared for civilian life in the 1950s

Amateur film 1955 21 mins Silent



Offering basket-weaving and compulsory cheeriness, sheltered workshops like those run by the Lord Roberts Memorial charity give us a glimpse into how disabled servicemen were prepared for civvy life in the 1950s. This segregated, semi-institutional approach to employing disabled people was also offered by Remploy, whose sheltered training centres have closed only relatively recently.

Sheltered employment was a well-meant approach to injured servicemen in its time, but arguably did not prepare them well for re-entering mainstream civilian life as employees. Sheltered or supported workshops and training centres were self-contained and segregated – the shift in government policy has been to close these centres and instead influence mainstream employers to become more inclusive and disability-friendly.