Posts tagged “History”

Cerebral Palsy Midlands have recruited a group of volunteers, consisting of staff, students from Newman University and the University of Birmingham and charity trustees. Together the group are looking to catalogue and archive the many years of history and documents that we have and discover our beginnings. 
Lets take a look in our Yearbooks! 
Cerebral Palsy Midlands (CPM) archives hold a selection of Yearbooks. This type of publication was a common feature of many parent-led associations established in the middle of the twentieth century. 
What do Yearbooks reveal? 
Their main aims were to highlight association activities and raise awareness of the effects of cerebral palsy on individuals. With the passing of time they have become a valuable historical resource, giving an insight into the development of the association as we can see ‘how things used to be’. 
Articles contributed do not confine themselves solely to the year in which they were published and this widens our perspective. Through a close study of Yearbooks, we can reflect on social change and attitudes to cerebral palsy. 
The publication dates of the Yearbooks I have examined broadly cover the period from 1972 to 1998. 
A Forgotten Story 
The recent discovery of a 'Log Book' documenting the early days of a Scout Troop formed seventy years ago has thrown a light on a forgotten piece of History. Written by my grandfather, Fred Ward, it didn't make it back to its intended destination at Carlson House way back in 1950. Instead it spent three score years and ten hidden away in various cupboards and lofts. 
As it turns out the events it records are of real importance and the people who appear in its pages were instrumental in the founding of Cerebral Palsy Midlands and Carlson House School. In facilitating the formation of the 152nd Birmingham Scouts, who met at the school on Saturday afternoons during 1949, they were clearly as responsible for this 'Log Book' and its contents as the author himself. 
Dr Carlson was born in Minneapolis on 25th March 1897. He had a difficult birth and in his own words was "a victim of spastic and athetoid paralysis". He recalled how his neighbours looked pityingly on him, wanting to know what was wrong with him. His mother used a stock reply, saying that he was "just born that way". This is the title of his autobiography. Earl Carlson, Born That Way, (Evesham: Arthur James, 1952). 
Education was an important part of Dr Carlson’s life and his mother fought to get him into a school rather than an institution. He started school at eight years of age and although he faced many difficulties throughout his life he overcame these. He graduated from Yale Medical School and became a Doctor with an international reputation. 
As well as a great love of reading Earl Carlson had an interest in science and ‘secretly dreamed of becoming an engineer or an inventor’. His heroes were famous inventors and engineers Thomas Edison and Charles Proteus Steinmetz. He wrote to them about his ambitions and received replies which inspired him. He was particularly inspired by Steinmetz, who was disabled, and reasoned that if someone like Steinmetz ‘could win recognition as an electrical wizard’ then there was hope for him to realise his dreams. 
It was when Earl Carlson was employed in Princeton University that he took an interest in biology and decided on a career in medicine. A fall on the ice and subsequent ‘rescue’ by Bud Stillman was to have far reaching consequences for Carlson. 

Dr Earl Carlson (Source: Cerebral Palsy Midlands) 

Towards the end of the Second World War there was significant social change which led to reforms in legislation relating to health and education. The 1944 Education Act was at the heart of this change and was seen by many as a turning point in the delivery of education. The Act provided a structure for free education for children from nursery level upwards and introduced the tripartite system of education consisting of grammar schools, secondary modern and secondary technical schools. Local authorities became responsible for providing education and one of the aims of this new system was to give more equality of opportunity to children. 
My name is Teresa Hillier and I am based at Swansea University where I am working towards a PhD. My research is focused on how organisations such as Cerebral Palsy Midlands (CPM) became established in the middle of the twentieth century. 
I first became aware of CP Midlands when researching a similar organisation which was based in Swansea. That organisation was known as Swansea and District Spastic Association when it was established in 1952. It later became known as Longfields Association. On reading the minutes of Longfields there were references to Carlson House School and how staff members from Longfields visited Carlson House School for training purposes.  
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