Also, see this striking account from Saturday’s Guardian of a married couple who both suffered from polio in the inter- and post-war periods. Among other things (such as why vaccination is such a good idea), it is an excellent account of why we absolutely do need anti-discrimination laws, and why charity is not superior to the a welfare state.
(Of the writers's father)
He was a disability rights activist as early as the 1930s. He was asked by a church group to help run a kind of self-help group. The charity that ran the group gave out lists of wealthy individuals they could ask for help. In other words, they had to write begging letters. Charlie kept all his letters and replies, and in 1944 the British Polio Fellowship submitted them in evidence to the Beveridge Commission, which established the welfare state.
(Of the writer's mother)
When she left school she found work as a tailor. Her first job lasted one year, so did her second job and then her third job. When she was sacked for the third time, she asked why. She was told that the boss had only just found out that because of her disability, the employer would have to pay extra national insurance contributions, backdated. They couldn't afford that. She offered to reimburse the firm for the extra national insurance stamp. She did this for 10 years and recorded all the payments she made. The British Polio Fellowship submitted these records as evidence to the Beveridge Commission, and the national insurance rules were then changed.