6th June 2019

On Saturday 15th June until the 1st September, the Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Ealing and Hounslow exhibition will be open

Visitors can explore the development of the Paralympic Movement and witness how far we have come as a nation in supporting and celebrating disability sport. Displays feature stories and memorabilia from Paralympians, past and present, all of whom have contributed to this inspiring part of British history.

Hugh Stewart-Mackenzie, one of Britain’s early Paralympic athletes, lived in the local area which is currently home to several top Paralympians including equestrian, Natasha Baker; fencer, Dimitri Coutya and basketball player, Gaz Choudhry.

Amy Dobson, Assistant Curator at Gunnersbury Park Museum, said:

I am really excited to be able to share some of the stories of our local Paralympians and sports groups. Ealing and Hounslow both have a rich heritage when it comes to disability sports, and I’m glad that through this exhibition with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, we are able to give some of these stories a much deserved platform.

The story of the Paralympic Movement began at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948 when German Neuro-surgeon organised an Archery competition for D-Day soldiers with spinal injuries to help with their rehabilitation. The success of that competition and the change he saw in his patients spurred him on to develop an annual games. By 1960, those games had become so internationally popular that it was agreed with the Italian government that they would be held in Rome straight after the Olympics. The Paralympic Games was born.

It was this man – Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann – who changed the lives of many people with disabilities across the world and started to challenge perceptions of disability in society. The story of how he did it and of how we continue to develop his vision as a nation is the subject of a new series of exhibitions being toured by the National Paralympic Heritage Trust between 2018 – 2020 with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Vicky Hope-Walker, Project Manager at the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, said:

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust are delighted to be bringing this small scale exhibition to Gunnersbury Park Museum, to celebrate large scale Paralympic achievement alongside the grass roots achievement of local disability sports clubs who provide the means for up and coming disabled athletes to rise into stars.

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust invite people to share any of their own memorabilia and stories for documenting as part of a national archive record.  More information can be found here: https://www.paralympicheritage.org.uk/share-stories-objects

Exhibition activities & events

  • A family activity sheet will be available daily.
  • Handling collection available (please check website for days)
  • Challenging Perceptions of Disability – Tuesday 16th July 19:00-21:00. Audio described and BSL tours available from 18:00 – 19:00

For more information about the exhibition visit our event page.

For media enquiries please contact:

Gunnersbury Park Museum:
Annie Tayler, Marketing & Communications Officer, [email protected]

National Paralympic Heritage Trust:
Vicky Hope-Walker, Project Manager, 07776 471066