National Paralympic Heritage

Explore the Birthplace of the Paralympics, visit the National Paralympic Heritage Centre

Widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville Stadium is the home of the first National Paralympic Heritage Centre.

This small museum tells the story about how the Paralympic Movement began in the 1940s at Stoke Mandeville Hospital by Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann who encouraged wounded veterans to play sport as an aid to rehabilitation from spinal injury. This led to local competitions, the Stoke Mandeville Games and to the Paralympic Games which today attracts international support and a global broadcast audience of more than 4 billion.

The museum displays celebrate the stories of the Paralympians, hospital staff and the local Aylesbury community who played a large part in setting up the early Games. Previously held in storage the tickets, medals, sports kit, photographs and programmes can now be seen by the general public.

Items on display for handling include a goalball, para hockey blade, the latest Ottobock running blade and wheelchairs from the 1950s to the present day.

The heritage centre is open daily and entry is free, it has been designed to be fully accessible so the displays can be appreciated by all visitors. Allow between 20 and 40 minutes to enjoy it. Audio description and BSL are included on all videos and screens; braille sheets are included alongside the displays. The centre is accessible for wheelchairs and visitors with guide dogs.

Throughout the year there are special activity and event days planned: interactive trails around the Heritage Centre and stadium, creative and sport-based activities, school holiday family fun days, Meet the Paralympian days. Tours and talks are available for groups. Please visit the NPHT website for more details and how to book onto a tour or an event.