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Polio – A Living History

Christine - British Polio HeritageThank you for visiting our Heritage website, a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We hope that you find the website both an interesting and enlightening insight into an important part of social history. The site provides information about the experiences of people who contracted polio when there was no vaccine to prevent it, the treatment that they had to endure, the impact that the poliovirus had upon their lives, discovery of the vaccine in 1958, the discovery of Post Polio Syndrome, and on some of the activities of the British Polio Fellowship today

The life stories that are told in the interviews have been captured through the eyes and ears of fifty members of The British Polio Fellowship. Listen to their experiences, look at the photo galleries, and see if you recognise friends, relatives, or yourself.

In the polio memories section read the diary of Val Kennedy who visited her son every day whilst he was in hospital in an iron lung. Then turn to ‘Nightmare’, the memories of a small boy when he was in hospital; you cannot fail to be moved by his thoughts and experiences.

As there are so many interviews from British Polio Fellowship members, men and women from here and overseas spanning several generations, you may not be able to listen to all the interviews in one visit, so please keep returning to the site and learn more on each visit about the fascinating life-stories of Fellowship members.

Finally, you can also learn more about the work of The British Polio Fellowship, join the Fellowship, or make a donation. The charity receives no government funding for its core work and therefore depends on grants, donations, and fundraising initiatives to continue to offer support to the many thousands of people who live in Britain and have had polio.

British Polio Heritage

British Polio Heritage

The origins and history of the British Polio Fellowship

British Polio oral history interviews

Oral History Project

Listen to the spoken experiences, recorded and saved for generations to come of fifty members of the British Polio Fellowship.

Legacy of Poliomyelitis

Legacy of Poliomyelitis

Over many years large numbers of people have worked to defeat the polio virus…