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EVENTS 1900 -1949 /

1900 /

/media/pages/library/tl-machine-knitting.jpgTypewriting, machine knitting, coal bag making coal bags and boot mending are introduced at the school.

Image left: Machine knitting.


1901 /

/media/pages/library/tl-typewriting.jpgThe first ever blind typist is appointed at the Remington Typewriter Company - a pupil from the school.

Image: Blind typist.


1904 /


Kindergarten school opened in Harborne - with over £15,000 raised to build and fund it.

Image left: Harborne site.


1909 /


King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visit and confer Royal patronage. The main school at Carpenter Rd becomes known as the Birmingham Royal Institution for the Blind and the school at Harborne as the Queen Alexandra Harborne Kindergarten.

Image left: Queen Alexandra.

Image right: HRH Edward VII.


1910 /

The school curriculum is broadened to ensure that all partially sighted children were taught to read and write using the conventional methods with the aim of them later transferring to ordinary schools. 50 partially sighted children enrol in the Kindergaten in the first year.


1913 /

A new department for girls is established and cooking, laundry, housewifery and therapeutic massage is added to the curriculum.

1914 - 1918 /

As male staff enlist into the army the school is staffed entirely by women and children are taug/media/pages/library/tl-senior-class.jpght in mixed classes for the first time.

Image: Senior class.




 1918 /

The Institution takes over the supervision of blind home workers in Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire at the request of the Ministry of Health. A women's hostel is opened for 17 blind women workers at a house in Carpenter Road in Birmingham.


 1920 /

The Blind Persons Act made it a duty for councils to provide for the welfare of the blind and extended the old age pension for blind people to 50 years of age rather than 70. For the first time, blind children are allowed to take the same examinations as sighted people, such as City and Guilds.


1922 /

Pupils from the school triumph at the Midland Music Festival winning in open competition against 72 other choirs.


1924 /

Several miniature items and products made by blind workers at the school are accepted at the Wembley Exhibition. A wool rug, cane chair and linen basket pass into Queen Mary's private collection.


1926 /

Turnover in the Institution's trading department reached £37,900 and new workshops are opened by Neville Chamberlain, then Minister for Health.

Radio Services are established - issuing and maintaining wireless sets to blind people in Birmingham, Smethwick, Oldbury and West Bromwich.


1929 /

The Local Government Act makes the welfare of blind people the responsibility of the local authority area in which they live and provides the basis for future cooperation and support between the Institution and local authorities.


1930 /

The premises in Easy Row, Birmingham is taken over and a Social and Handicraft centre established, with a concert hall, Braille library and reading rooms and canteen.


1938 /

A new section of the school is completed, providing pupils with a technical education. In later years, this formed the basis of QueenAlexandraCollege.


1939 - 1945 /

All children under 16 are evacuated to safer locations and the school is commandeered by the army. A number of blind workers find work in munitions factories and by 1943, 157 blind people are working alongside sighted workers.


1943 /

Lickey Grange in Bromsgrove is acquired by brib for £6,500 and used as a junior school from 1945.


1945 /

Senior pupils return to Carpenter Road premises which in 1948 is modernised and additional classrooms added. A talking film apparatus is purchased for pupils and school activities include Scouts and Guides troupes.

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.