Disability: Past and Present

Beginning March 2022, The Devil’s Porridge Museum presents the Disability: Past and Present project. 

Disabled people have existed throughout history, but their stories are under-researched, under-represented, and little known. The Disability: Past and Present project will showcase the experiences of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses at HM Factory Gretna, as well as the wider contributions of disabled people to the war effort. 

Being disabled or chronically ill means that the way you interact with the people and places around you is impacted by a physical, sensory, or mental condition. During World War One, HM Factory Gretna employed many people who could not fight on the Front because of a disability or chronic illness. Instead, they contributed to the war effort by making munitions. The often-dangerous work in the factory also meant that some munitions workers arrived at the plant able-bodied but were left disabled or chronically ill by accidents and injuries whilst working. 

As part of the Disability: Past and Present project we will be: 

  • Researching disability history in our collection 
  • Working with local community groups 
  • Speaking with disability historians 
  • Hosting a series of talks 
  • Producing a short film 
  • Writing a book 
  • Carrying out an accessibility audit of the museum 

To celebrate Disability History Month in November 2022, we will open an exhibition sharing the untold disability history of HM Factory Gretna and the important efforts of disabled people during the two world wars. The exhibition will be an exciting, sensory space which showcases our research and tells these important stories. 

Overall, this project will help to make The Devil’s Porridge Museum an inclusive and accessible space. Our goal is that Disability: Past and Present project will place accessibility at the core of how we operate as an organisation. 

We will be sharing regular updates on the project both here and on our social media.