With the exhibition The Blind School: Pioneering People and Places drawing to a close this week, History of Place Project Coordinator, Kerry Massheder-Rigby tells us more about the next stage of the project:
“We are keen to capture additional first-hand memories of what life was like for students who attended the Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool, the first of its kind in Britain when founded in 1791.
During our two years of research as part of the History of Place project, we found few accounts that were from the perspective of the students. The school has a rich archive of historic material from ledgers kept by the headmaster, student application forms and photographs, however we only found one document written by students, a diary started in 1939 when the school was relocated to Rhyl as part of the war effort.
The Museum of Liverpool has a number of objects in their collection that belonged to Caroline France, a former student and teacher of the Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool. Her personal letters and the objects she made during her time at the school were vital to telling the story of what life was like for students during the 20th century.
One of the highlights of the exhibition were shorter versions of two oral history interviews conducted with former students of the school who attended in the 1950’s. The full interviews have been collected by National Museums Liverpool. Recording and preserving the histories of Deaf and Disabled People in their own words is incredibly important as first-hand accounts of their lives rarely exist in archives or museums.
Did you attend the Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool? Do you have memories you’d like to share with History of Place and the Museum of Liverpool? We would love you to get in touch for an informal chat about your memories with the hope we could do an oral history interview with you this summer.”
To contact Kerry directly: Kerry.Massheder-Rigby@accentuateuk.org
The exhibition, The Blind School: Pioneering People and Places closes on 15 April 2018.
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