Blind veterans delve into local history

21 September 2017 10:00

Some of our blind veterans recently got together at our Brighton centre for a week of excursions, talks and activities on various aspects of local history.

The week kicked off with a great talk, by local historian James Sainsbury, curator of Worthing Museum, on the history of Sussex.  In 1993 bones found, known as Boxgrove man, indicated that man had settled in Sussex at least 500,000 years ago.

Then followed a tactile guided tour of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.  This was the pleasure palace created for King George IV by his friend, and renowned architect, John Nash and influenced by the Mughal architecture of India.

Photo of the Royal Pavilion Brighton visited during History Week in Brighton centre

Tuesday found our veterans listening to a talk, by local historian and author James Gardener, on the first murder to occur on British railways.  In 1864 Thomas Briggs was brutally attacked then dumped from a train.  German tailor, Franz Muller, was convicted and executed outside Newgate prison.  There was considerable doubt as to his guilt but “someone had to be found guilty” to restore the public’s faith in the safety of rail transport.

Our intrepid veterans next visited the glorious Herstmonceau Castle with its beautiful gardens.

Photo of Herstmonceau Castle visited by blind veterans during History Week at Brighton centre in 2017

Thursday saw them listening to a talk by local historian, Rob Thrush, on “The Great War”, life in the trenches on the Western Front in WWI.  Rob brought with him a fascinating collection of artefacts to illustrate his talk.

In the afternoon Brighton Museum came to us with their wonderful collection of Ancient Egypt artefacts, most collected by Brighton born Egyptologist, Francis Llewellyn Griffith.

All who attended the week agreed it was a great mix of tours and talks, gore and beauty!