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13 November 2014

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You are in: Hampshire > History > Local History > Treloar's centenary

First arrivals

First arrivals

Treloar's centenary

As it celebrates 100 years of teaching young people with disabilities, we take a look back at the pioneer who set up Treloar School and College near Alton.

Just over a century ago, a group of disabled children from London became the first pupils at a new school and hospital on the site of the disused Princess Louise Military Hospital at Chawton, near Alton.

Sir William Treloar

Sir William Treloar

In 1906, Lord Mayor of the City of London, Sir William Purdie Treloar, set up a 'Cripples' Fund' as his mayoral appeal. His aim was to build a hospital and school outside the city for children with non-pulmonary tuberculosis. 


The language may be from another age but Sir William Treloar's approach was a pioneering concept at the time. 

Providing the disabled with treatment and training to ultimately support themselves was groundbreaking in the early 1900s - a time when people with disabilities were largely marginalised and hidden by society.

The early days of Treloar's school

The early days of Treloar's

The first 15 children at the Lord Mayor Treloar Cripples' Home and College were personally welcomed by Sir William and his wife at Alton railway station in September 1908, when they were taken by carriage to their new home.

His aim was to create an institute which was both 'curative and educational’ where, the children could reach their full potential - despite their disabilities.

As well as the health benefits of moving children outside the smog, grime and pollution of central London, the school also gave them training with a view to worthwhile employment - in trades like tailoring or bootmaking.


As Treloar's enters its second century, it has developed into one of the leading centres providing education and training for young people with disabilities. 

Actress Julie Fernandez in The Office

Actress Julie Fernandez in The Office

While the NHS took over the hospital in 1948, there is now a further education college, school and Moving On programme for adults with disabilities along with new technology, facilities and new forms of teaching and communication.

Sir William's ethos of focusing on developing the abilities of its students rather than focusing on their disabilities has continued - a rehabilitation centre was opened in 1987 and business, music and horticultural centres have followed in subsequent decades.

Career opportunities have also increased far beyond boot-making in the 1900s - Treloar's alumni include actress Julie Fernandez and producer Ash Attalla, who were both involved with the award winning BBC comedy series The Office.

Treloar's paralympians

Treloar's paralympians

And in sport, Treloar's has trained seven Paralympians to date, including two gold medallists and one silver medallist in last year's Paralympics in Beijing.

Swimmer Danielle Watts, athlete Ben Rushgrove and Boccia players Dan Bentley and David Smith all took part in the games in China.  Players with Treloar's links currently make up more than half of the 16-person British Boccia squad.

While full understanding of disabled issues may still be some way off,  the work done to set up Treloar's a century ago has changed attitudes and created opportunities for generations of students.

last updated: 18/03/2009 at 15:56
created: 16/03/2009

You are in: Hampshire > History > Local History > Treloar's centenary

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