Guttmann, Sir Ludwig (1899-1980)

  • Guttmann, Ludwig, Sir, 1899-1980
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


This collection covers most of Sir Ludwig's career, although there is relatively little on the earlier years in Germany before he emigrated with his family to the UK in 1939. There is some personal and biographical material, and a typescript autobiography. There are a number of items relating to Stoke Mandeville Hospital and its work in the rehabilitation of paraplegics, which Sir Ludwig pioneered. There is also some material, mostly photographs, relating to the International Paralympics which developed from his initiatives at Stoke Mandeville.



Physical description

7 boxes, 1 large box, 1 oversize item


A. Personal and biographical

B. Stoke Mandeville

C. International Sports for the Disabled

Acquisition note

Given to the library at Wellcome Collection in February 2004 by Guttmann's son Dr Dennis Guttmann.

Biographical note

Further biographical information may be found in Susan Goodman, Spirit of Stoke Mandeville: the story of Sir Ludwig Guttmann (London: Collins, 1986) the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Biographical memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society Vol 29 1983.

1899 3 Jul born in Tost, Upper Silesia

1917-1918 worked as medical orderly in the accident hospital at Konigshütte

Studied medicine in Breslau, Würzburg and Freiburg

1924 MD Freiburg, and began working with neurologist Professor Otfrid Foerster in Breslau

1927 married Else Samuel

1928 went to Hamburg to run a neurosurgical service in a municipal psychiatric hospital

1929 returned to Breslau as Foerster's first assistant

1930 Privatdozent

1933 became neurologist and neurosurgeon to the Jewish hospital in Breslau

1937 medical director of the Jewish hospital in Breslau

1938 Witnessed the Kristalnacht, and was able to save a number of individuals by admitting them to the hospital

1939 he and his family granted visas to go to England; invited to Oxford; started work in the Nuffield department of neurosurgery in the Radcliffe Infirmary under Hugh Cairns

1943 invited to start a centre for paraplegics in the Emergency Medical Service Hospital at Stoke Mandeville

1944 Centre opened and became an internationally renowned institution which revolutionised the treatment and management of paraplegia

1945 became naturalised British citizen

1947 Inception of sports programme at Stoke Mandeville

1950 OBE

1960 CBE

1961 FRCS

1962 FRCP

1966 knighted

1971 Sports Stadium at Stoke Mandeville opened by HM the Queen

1973 Spinal Cord Injuries

1976 FRS; Spinal Cord Injuries 2nd edition; Textbook of Sport for the Disabled

1980 18 Mar died

Related material

In Wellcome: Correspondence with Sir Ernst Chain PP/EBC.

Material held elsewhere: Records of Stoke Mandeville Hospital are held by the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies. See also Mandeville Legacy

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Accession number

  • 1222