Isle of Man Cripples' Guild Archive

Scope and Content

The deposit consists of minute books 1915-2005; a report of Hon. Secretary to the annual general meeting 1973; deeds appointing Trustees (photocopies) 1947-1998; notes taken at a public meeting of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Committee 2003; legal documents 1947-2008; a file containing details of boy members of the Guild 1943-1959; Secretary’s address book. Correspondence records include general correspondence 1944-2012; thank you letters/cards 1975-2012; correspondence with advocates Mann Benham 1992-1995; Guild 'Compliments and Thanks' slips; correspondence relating to the Knowles Trust 1997-200

Financial records include cash books 1922-1980; cash books for Gifts and Entertainments Fund 1951-1986; audited statements of accounts 1966-1990; Tax/VAT forms, Guild reports for the years ending 2004, 2007 & 2010; postage and petty cash books 1942-2008 (spans decimalization); financial documents 2001-2008; blank business application forms from the Isle of Man Bank; voucher books 1949-1971; bank books; receipt files 1944-1974; counterfoil receipts for donations 1940s-1970s; receipt booklet 1987-1990; counterfoil receipt books for invalid chair payment installments; telephone refunds; invalid chair maintenance logs.

Printed and ephemera materials include newsletters; charity pamphlets; newspaper cutting 2005-2014; names and address cards; the history of the Guild by Stanley Watterson, an officer of the Guild for over fifty years; a gift of £100 to all members celebrating the Guild's centenary; Cripples' Guild Christmas card 1975; Cripples' Guild Greeting card and calendar 1976; Diamond Jubilee card to accompany a gift of 60 new coins for each Guild member.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Isle of Man Crippled Children’s Fund (known by 1924 as the Isle of Man Cripples’ Guild) was a charity founded in 1915 by the Reverend Arthur Kenyon, who was concerned by what he considered to be too many children with physical disabilities on the Isle of Man. His aim for the charity was to provide assistance for ‘disadvantaged’ children by funding improvements in health care, education and general welfare. In the early twentieth century one of the principal causes of physical disabilities in children was rickets which was widespread on the Isle of Man. Other problems such as club foot, polio, poor nutrition and a lack of public and personal hygiene convinced Kenyon of the need for the charity. The charity set out to tailor help, as far as possible, to individual needs. Suitable surgical appliances such as, surgical boots, rubber sticks, spinal carriages, crutches, splints, belts, wheelchairs and repair services were given to children known as members of the Guild. Christmas treats, summer outings, entertainment, trips and parties were also paid for by the Guild. Some members attended ‘special schools’ for the disabled in the UK and the Guild would provide assistance with their fares, clothing and footwear.

The running of the charity was supervised by the chairman of the committee of management and there were a strict set of rules to follow. The raising of funds was achieved through public subscription. Initial subscribers listed in the minutes included J.J. Creer, Mrs Handley, Mr Leigh Goldie Taubman, Mr & Mrs T. Graham and R.F. Douglas. In 1917 the charity received the support of the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man Lord Raglan (1857-1921) who became a subscriber. Money donated to the charity was and is only used to benefit members with only stationery and postage classed as expenses. By 1924 the charity had changed its name to the Isle of Man Cripples’ Guild and its membership was expanded to include all ‘cripples’ (adult and juvenile) who wished to join.

By the mid twentieth century the original aims of the Guild changed with the arrival of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948 and by the virtual eradication of polio in the 1950s with the development of the Salk vaccine. Many of the services provided by the Guild were now controlled by the NHS and the development of medical knowledge increased the prevention of avoidable disabilities. That said, the Guild continues to contribute to the welfare of its members in ways that attempt to improve their life in some way, shape or form. Support includes providing items such as computers, driving lessons, specialized vehicles and funding the installation of telephones. Rules allow new members to be admitted up to the age of sixteen with the Guild providing support for as long as the individual wishes. The Guild no longer relies upon subscription based funding, preferring in its place to receive charitable donations via estates or wills. In 2015 the Isle of Man Cripples’ Guild celebrated its centenary year with a total of 113 members, 88 of whom received benefits.

Access Information

There will be restricted access and a closure period of records which are less than 40 years old.

Advance notification of a research visit is advisable by emailing

Archivist's Note

The biographical information was gathered from Manx newspapers such as, The Isle of Man Examiner (30 May 1924, 8 April 1927, 15 April 2014) and the Mona's Herald (28 August 1934). Isle of Man newspapers available online at Further biographical information was gathered by conversing with the ex-chairman of the Cripples' Guild Mr G. D. S. Watterson, who was an officer of the Guild for 52 years.

Fonds-level description created by Eleanor Williams (MNH Project Archivist), October 2015.

Separated Material

Separated material held by Manx National Heritage include photographs of the Isle of Man Cripples' Guild Diamond Jubilee celebrations (1970s). Reference number: PG/14652.

Related Material

Related material held by Manx National Heritage includes numerous library and archival resources.