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Do you have an Invalid Trike story?

Posted in General News on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Where are they now?

Teesside University Academic, Simon McKeown, seeks help to fill in the gaps in disability motoring history.

From the bath chair to the AC MK70, the history of the British Invalid Carriage is as diverse and interesting as the disabled people who relied on them. Issued by the Government after World War One to help disabled people to travel independently, invalid carriages were primitive in their nature and powered by hand. By the 1970s they were a distinctive bright blue and were provided by the NHS for solitary travel only. From 1975, these once ubiquitous little blue Invacars were gradually phased out and replaced by the modern Motability scheme.

Tens of thousands of these vehicles were used over many decades and later destroyed in a Government recall. Others were abandoned and forgotten. A small number found their way into Museum and private collections. One of the world’s largest collections belongs to disabled artist, Simon McKeown, Reader in the MIMA School of Art at Teesside University and Director of the Invalid Carriage Register. Simon, who has more than 26 examples currently in his fleet, also has a family connection to these vehicles. His grandfather was disabled with brittle bones, the same condition as Simon, and used a number of hand cranked and motorised Invalid Carriages in his lifetime.

In 2018, Simon received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for his project, The Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden. This research aims to explore the hidden and neglected heritage of invalid carriages and their users. Simon and his volunteers have uncovered incredible stories of crashes and childhood memories spent illegally travelling in the foot well of these cars. Now, he is appealing for help to fill in the gaps in an important part of disability motoring history. He is urging people who once owned these vehicles, or who have memories of them, to come forward.

Simon says, “The question I am asking is ‘where are they now’? Not just the vehicles, but the people who used them.”

 'I am interested in any lost vehicles, images, stories, related ephemera, film or video footage, which we can preserve and present so that the memories of these vehicles are not forgotten over time.'

Can you help? No story or item is too small to be insignificant. If you can contribute any information, please contact Simon McKeown by email: info@simon-mckeown.com

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Diane's Gravatar
Diane

Monday, September, 16th, 2019

I was 16 and at college when I received my blue trike named Prudence registration REV 274K loved that little car. Day it was delivered man knocked on door handed me keys and said here’s your car, I asked are you going to show me how to drive it, he was very surprised that I didn’t know. My first and only lesson he sat on floor at my side showed me how to start it up use the tiller twist handle to rev engine and press down on handle to brake went up and down the culdesac where I lived. Pulled up he got out said ok off you go, so I turned engine on twisted twisted the handle engine revved loudly but nothing happened, you forgot to take handbrake off love. From that day on I loved my little Prudence although heater was useless never really got warm even took my driving test examiners face was a picture he obviously couldn’t get in with me so stood at end of road told me what to do and then go back for next set of instructions couldn’t do three point turn was too small so told me just to turn round in road. Knew all traffic signs etc and I passed I was so pleased. Without that car life would have been so much more difficult kept Prudence until after I was married for 12 months then had our first baby, obviously couldn’t take him out with me so asked for and received a mini proper driving lessons only about eight and passed test first time, now driving VW Caddy drive from wheelchair.