St Vincent's School for the Blind, Liverpool, Lancashire
The Liverpool Blind Asylum was founded in April 1841 by the Very Rev. Dr. Thomas Youens. The Asylum's first premises were in Islington district of Liverpool. It moved in 1851 to St Anne Street, then again in 1866 to 59 Brunswick Street. Its object was 'to afford to the Catholic blind an elementary education and instruction in those branches of industry which shall be found suitable to each pupil's capacity.' The Asylum could then accommodate nearly 200 adults and children.
In June, 1899, the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool, Dr Whiteside, laid the foundation stone for a separate children's branch of the Asylum at Yew Tree Lane, Leyfield, West Derby, Liverpool. A report of the occasion recorded:
A report on the institution in around 1906 noted that:
The Home for the Blind, which is managed by the Sisters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, is an unpretentious building, and not very modern. It is somewhat extensive, and accommodated at the time of our visit 120 inmates, of whom thirty-three were men, thirty-two women, and fifty-five children under the age of 2D (contd.). sixteen. Reading is taught on what is known as the Braille system; and the work . provided for training purposes consists of mat-making, basket-making, and rug-making, etc. Briefly the children are taught all that is possible for the blind to learn. The women are employed at knitting, sewing, and fancy work. An annual sale of work is held in the institution. <.
Children are received from Boards of Guardians. There is no uniform. scale of payment, some Boards paying more than others—the highest being £14 per year.
The Sisters seemed to be very kind and sympathetic in their manner towards the inmates, who looked happy and comfortable. We were delighted at the excellence of the singing of a small choir of young lads and girls, who rendered one or two part songs with great taste.
The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul continued to run the establishment until the late 1990s.
The School now forms part of the Catholic Blind Institute.
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- Daughters Of Charity Of St Vincent De Paul, Provincial House, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1RE. (Archivist: Sister Bernadette Ryder DC)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
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