skip to main content

EVENTS 1847-1899 /

1847 /

/media/pages/library/tl-mary-badger.jpgMary Badger and Elizabeth Harrold rent a small house in Edgbaston, Birmingham for the education of six blind children.

Image: Miss Mary Badger.

1848 /

/media/pages/library/tl-thomas-goodman.jpgThe Birmingham Institution for the Blind is established as a public Charity and the school moves to larger premises, enabling it to support 25 children.

Image: Mr. Thomas Goodman. Chairman and Honorary Treasurer, 1848 to 1874.


1849 /

Two acres of land leased in Carpenter Road, Edgbaston for the purpose of building a new school.

1851 /


The cornerstone of the new school is laid with the building being completed for the school to open in July 1852, having cost £7000.

Image: The Birmingham Royal Institution for the Blind senior school for boys and girls.

1854-55 /

The first pupil from the school gains employment at a salary of £20 per year. The school appoints its first blind tutor, a former pupil, and introduces home based instruction for blind adults.


1880 /

/media/pages/library/tl-louis-braille.jpgThe use and training in Braille is introduced int the school for the first time.

Image: Louis Braille.


1890 /

By 1890 over 100 pupils are enrolled at the school and a gymnasium, new kitchens and storerooms are added to the school, with workshops being enlarged and improved.



1897 /

A subscription appeal is launched with the aim of increasing annual subscriptions to a value of £71,000. Subscribers include Joseph Chamberlain and John Jaffray, founder of the Birmingham Post.

Image: A class in the 1890s.

1898 /

 Land is purchased in Harborne, Birmingham with the aim of establishing a kindergarten school.

1899 /

A system of Braille shorthand is developed at the school and the first ever Braille shorthand typewriter is invented. On this, a speed of 120-160 words per minute could be attained.


Birmingham Royal Institution
for the Blind has
devolved its operations
into three distinct charities.

Birmingham Royal Institute For The Blind. Birmingham Focus on Blindness. Queen Alexandra College.