Papworth Trust is almost 100 years old
Started in 1917 as a tuberculosis settlement, Papworth Trust has always worked with disabled people.
For the last 50 years, our work has focused on providing disabled people with employment support, accommodation, care, advice and other services.
The Trust owes its beginnings to Dr (later Sir) Pendrill Varrier-Jones, a social pioneer who founded the Cambridgeshire Tuberculosis Colony.
The colony later became the Papworth village settlement and the forerunner of Papworth Trust. Varrier-Jones' vision was to create not just a hospital or rehabilitation centre for TB patients, but a whole community.
The colony began at Bourn in Cambridgeshire in 1917. However Varrier-Jones soon collected enough funding (£6,000) to purchase Papworth Hall, and the colony moved to the village of Papworth Everard the following year. With the hall came most of the land in the parish and, under Varrier-Jones' capable management, the colony rapidly expanded.
Although there were still many deaths from TB, the aim was to rehabilitate sufferers by providing treatment for them (surgery and 'fresh air') and by offering them appropriate work and housing.
Providing opportunities for work
When the hall became too small, a new hospital was built, along with new homes for the TB patients and their families. In the 1930s, factory buildings were also constructed, to enable patients who were well enough to work.
The Papworth Industries became a great financial success, expanding over many years under the trademark of 'Pendragon' Industries. They included the manufacture of travel goods, carpentry, cabinet making, leather work and printing.
Coach building was set up in 1947 making, amongst other vehicles, the Green Goddess fire trucks. Papworth also built vehicles for such customers as BT, Royal Mail, Parcelforce, St John Ambulance and the NHS Ambulance trusts.
Expanding services to disabled people
The Papworth village settlement continued to accommodate TB patients until 1957; some patients still live in the village. The principle of supporting people into independent living was gradually extended to a wide range of disabled people.
At that time, the settlement's guiding principle was the integration of people with different disabilities into the village community. The first disabled clients arrived in 1957, and the numbers of people in the village increased over the subsequent years.
Many disabled people came to Papworth for training, with some subsequently remaining in the village, and others returning home to work elsewhere. The hospital itself passed to the newly formed National Health Service in 1954.
Papworth Trust was created in 1963 in Papworth Everard, Cambridgeshire.
Royal patronage played a significant part in the life of Papworth and royal visits were commonplace during the 1920's and 30's. This association continues today, and Papworth Trust is honoured to have HRH Duchess of Gloucester as its Patron.
Have you got memories of Papworth Trust?
Please share them with us by contacting us.
If you have an enquiry, please get in touch:
0800 952 5000
(free from a landline)
Lines are open
Monday to Friday:
10am - 5pm
or 01480 357200
Lines are open
Monday to Thursday:
8.30am - 5.30pm
Friday: 8.30am - 4pm