In 2019 the history of the Paralympic movement will have a publicly accessible home as the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies in Aylesbury announced a funding deal from the Wellcome Trust on Tuesday.
The grant, which totals £175,566 has been awarded to the Buckinghamshire County Council archives department and the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT). The two organizations have been housing records of the early days of what is now the Paralympic movement, and with this funding will now be able to create a public venue for these vital historic records.
Among the records that will be featured in this collection are some of the patient notes from Sir Ludwig Guttmann from 1944. That was when Guttman set up the spinal injuries unit at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital. It was there that the precursor to the Paralympic Games, the Stoke Mandeville Games (now known as the IWAS World Games) first took place in 1948 on the same day as the Olympic Games opening ceremony, linking the two and creating what would become the Paralympic Games.
Laura Cotton serves as the current county archivist for Buckinghamshire and is excited about the future of these records. “It is really exciting to be widening access to these records by cataloguing them and making them available to the public.” She said to the Bucks Free Press.
What the grant funding is being used specifically for is to hire three new archivists who will work with the records over the next two years. The final product will be housed, fittingly, in Buckinghamshire at the Center for Buckinghamshire.
NHPT Chairman Paul Mainds is looking forward to the awareness of the Paralympic Games this will bring to the public. “Not only will the records be treasured locally, but they will be the cornerstone of our nationwide exhibition and public engagement work going forward.” He said to the Bucks Free Press.