Blind Veterans UK launches exciting new historical photography project
4 January 2017 16:00
With the project, will be showcasing images from our archives of our First World War blind veterans – many of them recently digitised and previously unseen – and telling the stories behind the photographs.
Many of the photos were taken at our headquarters during the First World War and for some years thereafter, St Dunstan’s Lodge in Regent’s Park. Here the men who had lost their sight came in order to (in the words of our founder, Sir Arthur Pearson) ‘learn to be blind’. They were trained in new skills to help enable them to continue to live an independent life and were given the time and support they needed to adjust to their new lives.
The photographs feature other people in addition to our blind veterans. There are staff and numerous others who helped support us in our early years including the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses, celebrities of the time who visited and fundraised for us, members of the royal family who supported us, even boy scouts who spent time assisting the blind veterans. We will feature these images and these stories too.
The project benefits from recent and ongoing research using our own archives and some other sources but it is not always possible to identify the people, or even in some cases the location, of all the photographs we hold. With some of the images we shall be asking if anybody can help us by spotting an ancestor or identifying the place where the photo was taken.
There will be a blog post every Thursday, beginning next week, with one or more of the images and the background to them. As a taster here is one of the photos, a studio portrait of Sir Arthur:
Blind Veterans UK has helped veterans to discover a life beyond sight loss since 1915, and in 2017 we are hoping to support more veterans than ever before. It is estimated that there are 59,000 blind veterans eligible to access our free specialist support across the country, most of whom are currently not aware of it.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting noonealone.org.uk