Crippen looks back at the history of GMCDP

Back in 1985 the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) was founded. It’s one of the few organisations ‘of’ disabled people that has stood the test of time and is still seen by many as the flagship of the disabled people’s movement in the UK.

As part of my project to resurrect those cartoons that I created over 40 years ago, I’ve found notes and sketches as well as cartoons I created for GMCDP and their old magazine ’Coalition’ which at the time was one of the only activist style publications being produced in the UK. Quite a bit of this material never got to the print stage and so have remained tucked away amongst my archive records.

References to one of the first protests that GMCDP organised to make their Town Hall accessible, and the fight to make the Greater Manchester Council’s Equal Opportunities Unit make posts relating to disability only available to disabled people, were amongst some of the sketches and notes I found.

There were also the chats I had with the late Ken Lumb, Editor of Coalition magazine, about the grief they were getting from the many disability organisations run and controlled by non-disabled people. Again, I found notes and sketches relating to this, providing the basis for those cartoons that never saw the light of day.

Here’s one of the resurrected cartoons from that period which will hopefully be included in an exhibition of ‘lost’ cartoons relating to GMCDP at the People’s History Museum, Manchester, early next year. The rest of the cartoons that I’m restoring will be available to see in a gallery kindly provided by Disability Arts Online (DAO) later this year.

If you want to find out more about this project, then go onto my funding page or drop me a line asking to be put onto the newsletter mailing list which is issued every month. I’ll also attach a couple of back issues to help you catch up.

Description of cartoons for those using screen reading software

GMCDP 2 – 1985: Two disabled people are positioned at the bottom of a flight of steps leading into Manchester Town Hall. One of them carries a placard which reads ‘GMCDP – nothing about us without us’. Opposite them stands a white male in casual clothing holding a piece of paper with Council Meetings printed upon it. He is saying: “What do you mean – you want access to the Town Hall? It’s not as if you can do anything once you’re in!”.

GMCDP 4 – 1985: Three people are grouped around a table. A sign on the wall identifies them as being members of ‘The Federation of Businesses that are doing it to the disabled’. One of them is looking at a piece of paper with ‘GMCDP declaration of independence’ written upon it. Another piece of paper reads ‘Profit / Loss predictions. He says: “This insistence on independence will be the downfall of the disability industry!”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: