Disability Voices

Lister-Kaye, Antonia (Part 1 of 19) Speaking for ourselves: an oral history of people with cerebral palsy

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  • Subjects

    Cerebral Palsy

  • Recording date


  • Interviewees

    Lister-Kaye, Antonia, 1931- (speaker, female, interviewee, psychotherapist and writer)

  • Interviewers

    White, Alex (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1 (minidisc 1): Born on 22 November 1931 in Cardiff, two months premature. Mother was returning from an army cocktail party. Christian Scientist mother kept Antonia in a chicken incubator (father's brother was a farmer). Antonia slow to walk. Massage twice a week. Father Colonel Price was decorated during the First World War and was 40; mother was 20 years younger. Father played rugby for London Welsh and was a middleweight boxing champion in the army. Mother was a horsewoman, played polo and was described as having “the best seat in Yorkshire”. Loved animals and parties. Her father was killed in the trenches; she died of tuberculosis when Antonia was 11. At the age of five Antonia was separated from her parents who went to Agra in India; her sister Veronica was three months old. They went to stay with her maternal grandmother in York along with a nanny and a governess called Miss Moss. Maternal grandmother lived with her mother in a mid-Victorian terrace in Clifton, York. Childhood games. Difficulties walking. Abuse from other schoolchildren. Antonia's disability was not mentioned at home. In 1939 family moved to Northern Ireland so father could train troops in Armagh. Mother had to go to a sanatorium in North Wales and then a Christian Science nursing home. Great-grandmother very deaf, told fairytales and cleaned silver. Public library at Lendal Bridge. Difficulty writing. Armagh Girls High School. Boarding school at Cane End near Reading - various pranks led to Antonia being expelled. Headmistress Miss Clutton sent Antonia to a child psychologist who taught her the facts of life. Antonia bit her grandmother's ankles. Banbridge Academy in Northern Ireland. Beetle drives. Trips out in the army car. Childhood crush on Major Wilson who had one arm. Going to Wednesday matinees at York Theatre Royal. Playing Lady Bracknell and Caliban in school plays. Trips to London to see a consultant - diagnosed with Dr Little's disease. Mother's lack of physical affection. The love of dogs - Kerry Blue, spaniels. Father smacked three-year-old sister for poking a dog in the eye. Antonia locked sister in the tool shed. Father received OBE. Christian Science School Claremont in Llandrindod Wells, Wales.

  • Description

    Interviewed for the project 'Speaking for ourselves: an oral history of people with cerebral palsy'; a project conducted by Scope in partnership with the British Library, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund

  • Related transcripts

    Antonia Lister-Kaye interviewed by Alex White: full transcript of the interview (PDF)

  • Related links

    'Speaking For Ourselves' project website, including resources, information for schools and news

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