Newcastle Vision Support


1867 and all that

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on September 7, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Hello and welcome to the Net and Natter group contribution to the Society’s blog. For the past three weeks the Net and Natter group has tried to see how the Internet might help research into the Society history now that the 150th anniversary is only 2 years away

We knew there would be very little if any information on the Society itself from 1867 but we thought we could add some colour to the background

What none of us could have dreamed of was how much we would find out!


We started by asking two questions :


  • What was life like in 1867 in Newcastle
  • What was life like for visually impaired people then?


Net and Natter members used their own search phrases and have come with amazing results. We found that


  • There was a sensory loss asylum that we think eventually became Northern Counties school.
  • There’s details of who was in the asylum – including their eye condition , how old they were and where they were from It was fascinating to compare to our current member eg no macular degeneration – most visual impairment seemed to be full blindness either congenitally or from accidents and there were certainly no older people with VI
  • One member switched her attentions to an image search and found a Book of Psalms published in the US in 1867 that was one of the first books in Braille as it emerged become the dominant blind language
  • Staying in the US we then found a Harper’s magazine article from 1867 on how blind people are not superhuman – they work hard to compensate for their vison loss and it compares who people who lost limbs in the then just ended American Civil War compensated. Funnily enough, the general thrust of the article is not a million miles away from the very first blog on the website last year…
  • The Great Fire of 1854 that gave us an insight into how dangerous life can be and it was sad to learn that John Dobson’s son died in that fire
  • The Tyne Theatre was also found in 1867 which must give us an opportunity for some joint celebration.




It has been marvelous to try different search phrases together to see which one yields the most interesting results and then people really getting into the background. We have found material that more focused searching would never find simply because of the way google works - it’s been a lesson to us all

What we don’t yet know is why there was such a flurry of activity in the formation of blind organisations in the 1860s eg Galloways (the same year as us) and the RNIB. We continue to dig and no doubt we will come up with something not quite what were looking for but which will take us in an interesting direction anyway!


We hope we will put these up regularly to keep you up to date with our progress



Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply Davie Doyle
3:18 PM on November 24, 2015 
Reply MichaelDex
6:44 AM on October 12, 2017 - florida concealed carry permit reciprocity states
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelDex
2:11 AM on October 13, 2017 - tramadol in drug
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelDex
5:21 AM on October 13, 2017 - especialista en aprendizaje
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!