WW1 and Deafness - The Hidden Disability

Project participants learning to knit

Heritage Grants

Newcastle upon Tyne, North East
North Tyneside Disability Forum
North Tyneside Disability Forum spent a year discovering and sharing the deaf heritage of the First World War.

From those who pretended to hear, to those who became deaf as a result of the Great War, WW1 and Deafness - The Hidden Disability tells their untold story in a year-long project led by a group of both deaf and hearing people from North Tyneside.

With guidance and support from the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, participants researched online and archived content as well as holding face-to-face interviews with relatives of deaf people involved in the War. This research was copied into digital records and shared through a specially created website. The group also hosted events throughout the year which focused on learning about key deaf issues related to the conflict. A final exhibition gave participants the chance to showcase their discoveries to a wider audience through artwork, drama, sewing and signed singing.

'The opportunity to explore deaf lives in this way, is one we might never have had but for HLF funding.'

'It has asked some very real questions, addressed a range of misconceptions – and raised huge awareness of a group of people, all very much part of the First World War community, about whom very little is generally known.'

'It has planted seeds for more work and set in place an appetite to research history, engage with archives and work with areas of excellence in ways that disabled people are often not able to achieve.’  Sue Adams, Chief Officer


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