Nostalgia: Learning and growing at Royal Blind School

Children playing in the nursery at the Royal Blind School

Children playing in the nursery at the Royal Blind School

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ROYAL Blind was founded in 1793 in Edinburgh and was the world’s third foundation devoted to the welfare of blind people, after Paris and Liverpool.

This year we have teamed up with the charity for our Christmas campaign to ensure they can keep on providing vital services and improving the lives of the blind and visually impaired across Scotland.

Children playing outside at the Royal Blind School

Children playing outside at the Royal Blind School

Royal Blind had humble beginnings, with just nine blind people being admitted to one of the old houses in Shakespeare Square (now Waterloo Place), known as a Covenant House, rented for £15 per year.

In 1835 however it established one of the city’s best-known schools, The School for Blind children (now known as The Royal Blind school) and old images from their archives show that throughout the early years of the 20th century they provided blind children with a safe and playful environment in which to learn and grow, from the nursery classes who were able to enjoy rocking horses and a wide variety of games, to the carefully arranged classrooms where children were given a full education.

The school also ensured the children got plenty of physical excercise, as a picture from around 1910 shows, with classes being put through a strenuous exercise routine outside the Craigmillar Park Campus of the school.

Royal Blind has also been committed to ensuring work for blind and partially sighted people, with many employed in brush-making back in the 1900s, where they showed that the loss of sight was no barrier to producing highly skilled craftsmanship.

Children in a classroom at the Craigmillar Park campus

Children in a classroom at the Craigmillar Park campus

Still more former pupils of the of the Royal Blind School would go on to work at the Scottish Braille press after it was set up in 1891.

That work continues to this day and any donation you can make would go towards helping the charity in it’s important work.

There are many ways to donate to the charity.

To donate by mobile phone, simply text XMAS10 to 70070 to give £10 to the appeal.

For online donations go to www.royalblind.org and visit the Support Us section of the website.

To donate by mail, make cheques payable to ROYAL BLIND and send to Royal Blind, PO Box 500, Gillespie Crescent, Edinburgh, EH10 4HZ.

Please do not send cash.