Lord Morris of Manchester Memorial

Lord Morris of Manchester Memorial

Alf Morris was born in Manchester in 1928 and was brought up in Ancoats and Newton Heath. He was the Labour MP for Wythenshawe between 1964 and 1997. In 1970 he successfully introduced the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, a ground-breaking piece of legislation which was the first in the world to recognise the rights of disabled people and set down specific requirements for access and support. In 1974 he became the world’s first Minster for Disabled People and introduced a Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill in 1991. He also went on to establish the Motability scheme which transformed the lives of so many people. In 1997, Alf was elevated to the peerage as the Baron Morris of Manchester. He continued to scrutinise the government and campaign for the rights of disabled people in the House of Lords. The Victoria University of Manchester conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Alf in 1998. He died on 12th August 2012. Alf’s life and achievements are described at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alf_Morris and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-19253539.

Manchester Trades Union Council, the North West TUC Disability Forum, Manchester City Council, Mike Kane MP (Labour, Wythenshawe & Sale East) and the family of the late Lord Morris of Manchester are working together to establish a permanent memorial in Manchester to commemorate his pioneering role in disability rights legislation and support.

The North West TUC Disability Forum and Manchester Trades Council invited all interested Trade Union reps and representatives of disability groups to a meeting to discuss how to work together to establish a memorial in Manchester in recognition of the work of Alf Morris and to decide what type of memorial would be most fitting. The first meeting was held on 25th September 2014, at the Mechanics Institute on Princess Street.

As Co-Chairs of The University of Manchester’s Disabled Staff Network, Hamied Haroon and Melanie Sharpe decided that our University should play a part in the memorial to this great Manchester politician, and attended this meeting. They were expecting the plans to involve a statue of Alf Morris to be installed somewhere in Manchester, but it was quite the opposite! The suggestions discussed were actually of long-term practical projects that would highlight Alf’s legacy of putting disability issues, rights and equality at the centre of politics and policy making, and how he set an example in Manchester for the rest of the world to follow!

Rosie Dammers, Wellbeing Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union, was keen that the Students’ Union should also play its part in the memorial and joined Hamied and Melanie at the second meeting on 20th January 2015.

The Alf Morris Manchester Memorial Steering Group suggested that the University would be responsible for two initiatives:

  1. Host a high-profile and prestigious Annual Event in memory of Alf Morris, on the subject of disability equality and politics.
  2. Provide support (financial etc) and recognition each year for a deserving and talented student from the Greater Manchester area or North West region who aspired to study politics, focussing on disability, at our University (probably at postgraduate level) and potentially follow a career in politics.

The Group suggested that the Students’ Union would be responsible for a student-focussed project:

  1. Run a competition for University students, particularly those studying arts, to come up with the best design for a prominent stained glass window in the Mechanics Institute to commemorate Alf Morris.

Subsequent meetings of the Group were held on 19th March, 10th July and 21st September 2015 and 15th January 2016. Lucy Hallam took over from Rosie Dammers in July 2015.

In separate communications with the University’s Disabled Staff Network, the National Association of Disabled Staff Networks, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Disabled Living Foundation have offered their support for the Alf Morris Memorial initiatives at the University.

Recent Posts

NADSN to partner with Prof Kate Sang on EPSRC-funded “Disability Inclusive Science Careers” Project


NADSN (@nadsn_uk) is delighted to be a partner with Professor Gareth Pender (@garrypender) and Professor Kate Sang (@katesang) at Heriot Watt University in an innovative project: Disability Inclusive Science Careers (DISC). This is an exciting project funded by the EPSRC (@EPSRC) via the Inclusion Matters call and we will be collaborating closely bringing the experiences of our members and contributing to each stage. Our own experiences suggest that the DISC project has the potential to effect positive change in academics’ working conditions in the sciences and possibly beyond.

Professor Sang presented her earlier research into Disability and Academic Careers at NADSN’s 3rd Annual Conference in 2017 at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Hamied Haroon, Chair of NADSN, stated: “Kate’s work and findings connected all of us emotionally.” Accessibility for disabled University staff, as Kate’s research showed, is about workplace relationships as well as car parking, it’s about inaccessible lecture theatres, lack of opportunities for promotion and the pressures faced by disabled staff in a competitive environment. Jacquie Nicholson, Vice Chair of NADSN and Regional Lead for Scotland, commented: “NADSN is delighted that this exciting project is highlighting disabled University staff in science careers and we look forward to contributing to positive change.”

Founded in 2016, NADSN is a super-network that connects and represents disabled staff networks. We are a collective platform to share experiences and good practice, and examine challenges and opportunities, focussed on the tertiary education sector but open to any individual and organisation with an interest in the equality of disabled staff https://nadsn-uk.org/news/

For any enquiries related to this press release, please contact Jacquie Nicholson at the University of Aberdeen: jacqueline.nicholson@abdn.ac.uk

An article can also be found in the Times Higher Education: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/minority-scientists-mentor-senior-professors-equality-drive

  1. Hamied gives Annual Disability Lecture at Cambridge University Leave a reply
  2. Hamied is nominated for a National Diversity Award – please vote! Leave a reply
  3. Science interviews Kate Sang on her research on disabled academics! Leave a reply
  4. Hamied Haroon speaks at the House of Lords for the Snowdon Trust Leave a reply
  5. Manchester Met Uni achieves GOLD in the Disability Standard! Leave a reply
  6. Mona Patel – My Journey so far Leave a reply
  7. NADSN responds to the Government’s “Improving Lives” Green Paper Consultation Leave a reply
  8. NADSN invited to launch of Cross-Party Parliamentary report on Disability Leave a reply
  9. Mona gets NADSN in The Guardian! Leave a reply