17th January 2019

Visit this exhibition which explores the history of the Paralympic Games and disability sport at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in Bradford

The official opening takes place at the Bradford Council-run civic art gallery on Saturday 26 January from 1pm to 3pm and the exhibition runs until 9th June.

The opening event will feature a welcome from Nigel Purse the Chairman of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, the opportunity to meet with local Disability organisations and talk to Paralympians and Special Olympic medal winners.

There will be stories and memorabilia from para-athletes Peter Finbow, Stuart Meikle and David Stone MBE.  Peter is a Bradford-born multi-medal winning Paralympic wheelchair basketball player. Stuart, from Bingley, is a triathlon blade runner who won gold at the 2018 Triathlon World Cup and has been selected to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. David is a para-cyclist who lives in Leeds and specialises in Road Race and Time Trial events, winning Gold Medals in both events at Paralympic and World Championship level.

Exhibition highlights 

Using a range of displays, memorabilia and art, visitors to the exhibition will learn about local and national Paralympians, all of whom have contributed to Paralympic heritage including Lady Masham whose ancestors funded the building of Cartwright Hall. People can find out how it all began with the inspirational story of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, who encouraged wounded veterans to play sport as an aid to rehabilitation from spinal injury which led to the birth of the Paralympic movement. Visitors can discover the sports of wheelchair basketball, cycling and goalball and find out how technology has evolved with one of the first running blades - named ‘The Cheetah’. They will also be able to compare the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games with the 1964 Tokyo Games, the first city to host the Summer Paralympics twice.

The exhibition also features posters from the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games by leading artists including Sarah Morris, Tracy Emin, Fiona Banner and Roberta Smith as well as touch-and-feel exhibits of medals, torches, running blades and goalball kits. The National Paralympic Heritage Trust is proud to announce that local artist Vickie Orton has been appointed as official artist in residence at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery.  

For schools learning sessions and resources please contact Tim Curtis on 07745 893200. There will also be activity sheets for families and schools to use throughout the exhibition.

Exhibition events programme

A Family Fun Day is being held on Saturday 11 May on the theme of ‘Incredible Me’, where people will be able to try their hand at a range of crafts and activities.

A Celebrating Diversity Festival is being held on Thursday 23 May where people will be able to ‘Have a Go’ at a mixed ability sport with representatives from the International Mixed Ability Sport organisation. Members of Mind The Gap, the UK’s leading inclusive theatre company will also be taking part in the event.

Sports activity open workshops will be held from 11am to 3pm on Thursday 21 February, Thursday 18, 25 April and Thursday 23 and Tuesday 28 May. People will be able to take part in a range of sport activities with coaches and assistants from Bradford Disability Sport and Leisure. Local Paralympian cyclists, Sally Hurst and David Stone will also be there to inspire and encourage people to try a Paralympic Sport.  

Maggie Pedley, Libraries, Museums and Galleries Manager at Bradford council, said:

This exhibition aims to raise awareness of Paralympic heritage and disability activities and to inspire people to take up or support disability sport. The events planned, offer fantastic opportunities for people to have a go at a wide variety of activities. This exhibition shows just how far we have come as a nation in supporting and celebrating disability sport.

Nigel Purse, chair of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, said:

Sports heritage has a wide appeal to the British public and with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Bradford City Council we are able to bring the story of Ludwig Guttmann and the development of the Paralympic movement to Bradford and the local area. As well as protecting the unique heritage that could so easily be lost, the real satisfaction will be to share the inspiration behind the disability sport stories which are ‘life changing’.

Media preview

A media preview will be held at Cartwright Hall, Lister Park, Bradford, BD9 4NS on Friday 25 January from 10am to 7.30pm.  

There will be opportunities to interview:

  • Sonja Kielty, Curator of Exhibitions at Bradford Council
  • Vicky Hope-Walker, Project Manager of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust
  • Katy-Jayne Lintott, Learning and Engagement Manager of the National Paralympic Trust
  • Tim Curtis, Bradford Co-ordinator for Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Bradford
  • Peter Finbow, Paralympian
  • David Stone, Paralympian

For more information visit our event page or contact:

Alice Marshall in the Council’s Marketing and Communications team on 01274 433526
Sonja Kielty, Curator (Exhibitions), Bradford Museums and Galleries: 01274 436027
Vicky Hope-Walker, Project Manager, National Paralympic Heritage Trust: 07776 471066