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  • Writer's pictureDaisy Holder

A Intro to Disability History

Many people have asked me over the last few months for a good place to start learning about disability history, but arguably, there isn't one.

It's very hard to find an overview of all of disability history, and until someone pays me to write it myself, I will have to settle for this post here.

Now, most of these suggestions are very Britain-centric, since I am from Britain, so it is by no means sufficient, but if this is your first forray into the subject, it's just as good a place to start as anywhere else.


Historic England

I love this site as a brief overview on different time periods, and different subjects.

A screenshot from the Historic England disability history page, showing sections for different time periods.


NHS North West Disability History Timeline

This PDF separates events by subject and then has them listed chronologically.

Front cover of the Disability History Timeline by the NHS


Disability: a New History Radio Series

An oldie but a goodie, the only series I've managed to find about disability history. Episodes are only 15 minutes long and split up by theme.

The BBC iPlayer site for the radio series Disability: A New History


The Disability History Glossary

I don't like to reccommend my own posts, but at the same time the whole time I wrote them is because no-one else had, so I guess it makes sense?

A dictionary open on a table


The Law According to Disabled People in the UK

Again, one of my own, but a short rundown of the various disability specific legislations that have been put through parliament over the years.

A parade of disabled people protesting.



- From Scorn to Dignity: A Brief History of Disability by Brian Breed

Very UK based but a really good history of Disability Rights

- Disability Histories

A range of fascinating essays but is quite academic

- Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History by Jaipreet Virdi

Deaf History

- Bodies Politic by Roy Porter

I really like this one

- Monstrosities by Youngquist

- Quackery by Kang and Pedersen

These two aren't *quite* disability history but the topics feature in disability history a lot and the books themselves are great fun and easy to read.


That's all I have for the time being, but I'm sure I'll find more over time, or just write them myself.

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