National Paralympic Heritage Trust

National Paralympic Heritage Trust

At a glance


  • Learning disabilities / difficulties
  • Mental health
  • Museums / heritage
  • Physical disabilities
  • Sports
  • Young people

Other details

Geographical remit: 
National - England


To cherish, capture and explore the heritage of the British Paralympic Movement, past, present and future, for generations to come’

In the NPHT articles of association our objects are defined as:

  • The advancement of culture and heritage, and in particular the culture and heritage of the British Paralympic movement in the United Kingdom and the role of Stoke Mandeville as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, and the promotion of public understanding and enjoyment of the same; and
  • The promotion of positive public perceptions and greater understanding of disability at both national and international levels.


The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) was formally registered at Companies House in July 2015 to protect, conserve and share the unique and inspiring heritage of the British Paralympic Movement.

The Paralympic Movement is a story with unique British involvement; there is nothing comparable to it. As well as showing how disability sport has developed it also captures and tells the story of the prowess, courage and endeavour of hundreds of individual athletes over its 65-year history. It starts with the story of Dr Ludwig Guttmann, a German Jewish refugee, his success in keeping spinally injured people not only alive but also fit and active shows that one man can literally ‘change the world’. The athletes within the story are powerful and inspiring role models for people from all walks of life. They also provide particular resonance for the ten million disabled people in the UK who have very few ‘celebrity’ or ‘historical’ role models to refer to. The UK has continued to play a key leadership role in the development of the Paralympic movement, reflected in the phenomenal success of London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016. However, further attitudinal shift is still required with disabled people still experiencing societal barriers and discrimination and as seen in the press leading up to Rio 2016 disabled people need non 'superhuman' role models too, which can be achieved through this work.

The collection represents an important source of evidence and knowledge around attitudes to disability and the introduction of disability sport as a form of rehabilitation through to the elite athletes of today.

Our office is based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, however our model is different to most museums with important partnerships for the regional work  with Manchester City Council and the National Football Museum, Bradford City Council Cultural Services (including museums and sports services), Bath University (The Edge and Sports Department), the Velopark (Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) and the National Spinal Injuries Centre. 


Our audiences are:

  • People living and working locally
  • School groups and community groups on pre-booked organised visits
  • Members of local disability groups, inclusive sports/arts groups and deaf and disability groups (also their companions, support workers, carers and guardians)
  • People interested in sports heritage and culture
  • Existing visitor groups of the partner site
  • Learning and research communities.
  • Local Museum and sports sectors

In addition we benefit the heritage and sports sectors through exhibitions and project work. 

The key difference our work makes is building awareness how disability sport heritage can be used as a social tool to challenge attitudes towards disability.

Over the next five years (2017-2022) we shall:

  • Catalogue the archives and collections
  • Create a small (54sqm) permanent heritage centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the recognized birthplace of the Paralympic Games
  • Create 6 regional exhibitions to tell the wider story of the Paralympic games, and mapping regional collections
  • Develop a learning and engagement programme
  • Create a Website


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