Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, service users, staff and volunteers at Leonard Cheshire have spent the last two years exploring the history of our charity and their homes. This has been done in a programme of workshops, where people were given the opportunity to discuss their experiences and carry out activities using archive material.

So far the project team has carried out 52 heritage workshops in 6 services in the South East. Rewind volunteers have conducted a series of new oral history interviews with people living at, working and volunteering with a Leonard Cheshire service.

The Leonard Cheshire Archive Centre is based in Netherseal, South Derbyshire and contains the history of the charity, its founder Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC and his humanitarian work around the world.

Highlights from the archive collections have been digitised and are available to explore on this website.

This includes one of our most important collections, that of Le Court in Hampshire. Le Court was Leonard Cheshire’s home and also the first ‘Cheshire Home’ in 1948 from which our work has spread to 54 countries around the globe. From this website you can read the first ever Cheshire Smile, set up by Le Court residents in 1954 or watch an early film from the Le Court Film Unit, showing life in the first ever Cheshire Home.

Thanks to our Rewind volunteers, 819 minutes of footage has been transcribed and subtitled, including 21 archive films and sound and oral history recordings with people involved with our charity from the earliest days.  We have also digitised over 500 archive photographs as part of the project. You can see all of our online film, audio and photo content in our archive.

We will be adding more to the Rewind website in the coming months, so please do bookmark our site and keep an eye out for news updates.

Stephanie Nield