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SCHOOL FOR THE INDIGENT BLIND

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The former School for the Indigent Blind was located at St George?s Circus in Southwark, London. It was founded in 1799; the site originally allocated for the school was required by the City of London for the building of Bethlem Hospital so two acres of land were allotted opposite the Obelisk.
The School was incorporated in 1826 and in 1834 underwent remodelling and a Gothic style edifice was added which was designed by the architect John Newman F.S.A.
The School housed pupils from the age of 12-30 and received clothing, lodging and a religious and industrial education. The pupils worked in the week and were allowed Saturday and Sunday as days of rest. Female pupils were employed with knitting stockings and needlework and male pupils undertake the making of wicker baskets, cradles and hampers; all pupils participate in the making of shoes for the School.
The former School for the Indigent Blind is the first institution of its kind in London and was one of four schools for the blind that were developed in the United Kingdom that were based on the model of the school in Paris; the other being in Edinburgh, Bristol and Liverpool.
After 1874 many of its trainees were employed in a workshop established in the basement which was the predecessor of the Blind Employment Factory in the Waterloo Road. In 1901 the site was purchased by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway and the School was moved to Leatherhead. A London Underground depot now occupies the site.

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