Leonard Cheshire International Collection

Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, journals, photos, and audiovisual material produced by the team working at UK headquarters to support the work of the charity's overseas partners.

Some material is direct from the overseas projects themselves, but this is limited in scope and amount.

A significant part of the earlier records in this collection come from Company Secretary Margot Gibb's work on the Cheshire Who's Who project in the 1980s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Leonard Cheshire Trust was founded in 1948 at Hampshire, England by Group Captain Leonard Cheshire. In 1952 the remit of the original Trust was expanded so that it became a general advisory body which would be responsible to the public for the use of grants and donations and also a legal entity to which properties could be conveyed. The Trust was incorporated as a limited company in 1955. The name was changed to The Leonard Cheshire Foundation in 1976 and to Leonard Cheshire Disability in 2007. In 2017 the name was changed to Leonard Cheshire to recognise what would have been Group Captain Cheshire's hundredth birthday.

In 1955, after spending two years being treated for Tuberculosis at King Edward VII Hospital in Midhurst, Group Captain Cheshire left the UK to expand his organisation overseas in India. The first Home was opened near Bombay in 1956 and Cheshire Homes India was registered in 1957. By 1970 there were 5 more projects in India, and a Leonard Cheshire presence of some kind in 21 other countries worldwide.

Today, this work is known as the Leonard Cheshire Disability Global Alliance, a network of over 200 independently managed Cheshire organisations. The members, of which the UK charity Leonard Cheshire Disability is one, work in 54 countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. Leonard Cheshire Disability in the UK has no authority or supervisory function over other Cheshire partners.

Global Alliance members are united by a desire to change attitudes towards disability around the world, supporting each other through sharing skills and experience. Each Cheshire organisation has its own independent governance structure and individual NGO status.

Many Global Alliance members work in partnership with regional offices to implement projects across core programme areas in education, livelihoods, and policy and campaigning.

The Global Alliance network is supported by a secretariat based at Leonard Cheshire Disability's UK head office. The secretariat facilitates the sharing of learning and best practice among Global Alliance members and coordinates common initiatives.

Global Alliance members in each country are usually organised in national councils at country level and in regional councils across seven regions:

  • The Americas
  • East and North Africa
  • Southern Africa
  • West Africa
  • East Asia and the Pacific
  • South Asia
  • Europe


Arranged into two separate series over 107 boxes.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is granted by appointment with the Archivist, address: Leonard Cheshire Disability Archive Centre, Newlands House, Main Street, Netherseal, South Derbyshire, DE12 8DA email archivecentre@leonardcheshire.org.

Acquisition Information

Materials were donated by the Leonard Cheshire International Office. There were 5 donations between 1990 and 1999, 2 in 2001, 1 donation in 2008, 1 donation in 2011 and 2 donations in 2015.

Other Finding Aids

A boxlisting is available at the Leonard Cheshire archive. Access is at the Archivist's discretion.

Separated Material

Other international material can be found in

  • AV-S Leonard Cheshire Sound Archive
  • AV-F Leonard Cheshire Film Archive
  • GLC Group Captain Leonard Cheshire Collection
  • LCF:SC/Gibb Margot Mason Gibb Collection
  • LCF:SC/Ramsbotham Sir Peter Ramsbotham Collection
  • GJ Golden Jubilee Collection
  • RCF Ryder-Cheshire Foundation papers.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is subject to copyright law and access is subject to the Data Protection Act and other relevant legislation.