Making Headway

Welcome to ‘Looking Back at Making Headway’.

In this section of our site you can read about our heritage project and learn about the history of brain injury in Cambridgeshire.

In 2016, seven people with a brain injury came together to research the history of brain injury. The information in this section is the culmination of many months of research into the social, political and medical history that shapes the way we view, treat, understand and support those with a brain injury today.

When we began the project we wanted to answer three questions:


Through the project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the group have liaised with historians, searched archives and interviewed people in the community, to understand society’s changing view of brain injury.

Working with designers, the group used their own experiences to interpret and curate an exhibition which tells the history of brain injury through fictionalised stories. They also created a digital timeline to look back across the centuries at the medical advances, legislation and people who brought about changes which lead to Headway Cambridgeshire’s founding in 1989.

To capture their experiences, the group worked with a local film maker to record their process and tell the story of the challenges and benefits of being a researcher with a brain injury. The film ‘Making Headway’ has been screened across Cambridgeshire and can be viewed online.

Alongside this, volunteer historians, have recorded a series of oral histories to tell the contemporary stories of people with a brain injury.

See our exhibition

Find out more about our exhibition - include where to see it in Cambridgeshire.

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Explore our digital timeline

Explore the history of brain injury across the centuries.

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Watch a film about the project

Watch a film about the research group and the project.

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Meet the Research Group

Learn more about the people who took part in this project.

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Listen to our Oral Histories

Listen to the experience of people who have had a brain injury.

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Who was Lady Ida Darwin?

Who was Lady Ida Darwin and why was her work so important in Cambridge?

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How did Headway Cambridgeshire begin?

Hear about Sarah Durrant and what led her to set up Headway Cambridgeshire.

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About the Ida Darwin Hospital site

Learn more about the Ida Darwin Hospital site and how Headway came to be there.

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Ever since Headway has been involved, my son’s life has completely turned around.
Chris, Headway client