Speke Hall bathchair



Please note: This object uses outdated language in relation to disabled people / disability. ID: A large three wheeled wheelchair with a black leather hood and a padded red velvet interior. Bath chairs like these were generally used by wealthy people and were more comfortable and luxurious than a wheelchair. This is a typical bathchair with three wheels, a rear handling for pushing from behind, and a tiller for the user to steer. The body is suspended by leather straps and with the cape hood is similar in design and construction to a horse-drawn carriage. This chair was manufactured by Leveson & Sons of Liverpool. The company is recorded in 1894 as operating from 89 Bold Street as ‘invalid furniture’ manufacturers, and as perambulator manufacturers in 1900, with Miss Amelia Warren as manageress. It was used at Speke Hall, Liverpool and acquired by the museum from the estate of the last owner, Miss Adelaide Watt. Sarah Stumpe, a member of Museum of Liverpool's Curating for Change Disability History Coproduction Group, reflects on her relationship with her wheelchair: "I love my wheelchair. I know many non-disabled people associate it with something bad but for me that's not true at all. When I'm in my wheelchair, I feel most comfortable and safe. It feels like my wheelchair is almost part of my body and definitely part of my identity - when I'm in my chair, I feel like the truest version of myself. And I think it's great that many designers now seem to recognise that wheelchairs are not only means to move around but markers of identity and therefore focus not only on functionality and comfort but also on style and aesthetics."