Did Rosemary Sutcliff have a disability or a handicap?

When Rosemary Sutcliff contracted Still’s Disease —severe juvenile arthritis, which left her mobility severely affected all her life—in the 1920s, the terms  ‘disability’ & ‘handicap’ were used equally. Now 90% of the use is  ‘disability’.

Relative use of terms disability and handicap


When she was first ill, she was most likey to be said to be handicapped. By the time of her death she was more likely to be said to be disabled; and were she alive now, increasingly she would be said to have a disability.

Comparing being disabled, crippled and handicapped

Relative named after Rosemary Sutcliff raising money to help tackle bowel cancer

If any who read this blog share a concern from family experience about tackling bowel cancer, and are moved to make a donation, I note that my daughter Rowan Rosemary Lawton, named in honour of Rosemary Sutcliff, is running to raise funds for the UK Charity Beating Bowel Cancer. See here.

Screenshot 2014-09-02 16.01.17


… Barny rather sleepy but quite at ease, and thoroughly enjoying his food again … (Rosemary Sutcliff Diary, 13/6/88)

June 13th Monday. Ray took Barny down for his second injection. Mr Skelton very pleased with him. He seems rather sleepy but quite at ease, and thoroughly enjoying his food again. Agnes, new chiropodist lady came to do my toes. Knows her job and seems a nice soul.

… leg very sore … (Rosemary Sutcliff Diary, 11/8/88)

June 11th Saturday. Leg very sore. Shall ring the surgery on Monday and get M to come and have a look at it, instead of waiting until Friday.

Regular readers of this 1988 diary of Rosemary Sutcliff will realise how often she was feeling unwell. This was true throughout her life. Here the problem is a recurrent one related to spending much time in a wheelchair.