Chapman, Grace (2022) ‘Handicapped’: Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and the Provision of Youth Movement Activities for Disabled Children in the North of England, 1907-1970. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In the last three decades, the historiographies of Scouting and Guiding have developed to explore gender differences, citizenship, imperialism, internationalism, and identity. Often absent from these studies, however, is the place of disability. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to tackle the omission of forgotten disabled young people in histories of the largest youth movements the world has ever seen. Exploring from their beginnings in 1907 to changing disability policies in 1970, the primary goal of this research is to uncover what provision was available and the limitations surrounding its delivery.

In no way does this thesis aim to chart the entire history of disabled involvement, but it covers five important themes that help to illuminate this wider history. Citizenship, transnationalism, collective identity, adult leadership and institutional permeability and segregation are all familiar themes to disability historians, but they are used here to explore the participation of disabled young people within Scouting and Guiding. Focusing primarily on the north of England, it uses local, regional, national, and international sources, from both movements, personal collections, institutional schools, and hospitals, alongside material culture and photographs to reveal hidden narratives. Throughout these narratives, the importance of gender, disability categorisation and the structure of the movements in overall delivery of youth movement activity for disabled young people, are brought to the forefront of discussion. Ultimately, this thesis will argue that the ideals projected by the central members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides were not always the reality of the ground level provision for disabled young people.

Chapman THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
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