The UK Dyslexia Archive

The UK Dyslexia Archive is collating a range of historical sources – including the papers of early practitioners and organisations – to create a consolidated, easy-to-access archive of material for researchers, which will be housed at the University of Oxford. Central to the archive is a series of oral histories of key figures in the development of dyslexia, including advocates, scientists, educationalist and practitioners.

Listen to the oral histories

Baroness Warnock, chair of the landmark 1978 review into special educational needs, on reticence to recognise dyslexia in the 1970s


Maggie Snowling, a leading scholar on the psychology of dyslexia, on the state of dyslexia research in the late 1960s/ early 1970s


Steve Chinn, who founded Mark College in Somerset, on the importance of extracurricular activities to the pupils at his specialist dyslexia school


Daphne Hamilton-Fairley, who founded Fairley House School in London, on gaining the knowledge she needed to create the school

Documents, photographs and other collections

In addition to the collection of oral histories from notable actors in dyslexia's history, we're also building the UK's first comprehensive repository of dyslexia materials. So far, this includes: the collections of the Word Blind Centre, founded in London in the early 1960s and one of the first organisations in the country to engage with dyslexia; the case notes of Bevé Hornsby, who founded one of the first dyslexia clinics at Barts Hospital in the 1970s; and materials from Dyslexia Action, formerly the Dyslexia Institute, one of the leading providers of services and support to dyslexic persons in the UK.

The collections provide a rich source of information on how provision for dyslexia first got off the ground, often on an ad-hoc basis and without the support of goverment. They also reveal a fascinating social history of dyslexia from the 1960s onward, with important demographic and socio-economic data on who was being diagnosed, where they came from and the kinds of issues they were encountering at school. Once the collections have been anonymised, we'll be using the data to shed further light on the early years of dyslexia provision in the UK.

More about the archive

The archive is expanding all the time, as we collect more oral histories and other documents. The materials provided here are extracts only. For more information on the archive, and for researchers interested in using the resources, please email the team with your request. Once the project is complete, the full archive will be deposited in the collections of the University of Oxford.