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Mobility aid, designed by Lord Snowdon, England, 1970-1975

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The Earl of Snowdon, the former husband of Princess Margaret, the Queen’s late sister, designed this mobility aid in the early 1970s for a friend. It is called a ‘Chairmobile’. An adjustable chair is mounted on a three-wheeled battery operated base. The Chairmobile was fully manoeuvrable and under certain circumstances could be used by those with no hands. It was considered a ‘revolutionary new machine for the disabled’. The mobility aid was primarily for indoor use and originally sold for £99.50. This was about half the price of most electric wheelchairs at the time. It was exhibited at the London Design Festival in 2003. The festival was held at the Royal College of Art and promoted excellence in British design. Lord Snowdon had experienced polio as a young man. After a long spell in hospital he was left with a debilitated leg. He is a long-time supporter of the rights of disabled people. He awards the Snowdon Award for Disability Projects at the Royal College of Art.

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Glossary: mobility aid

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