Back to the days before the welfare state or disability benefit, when blind people faced a life of poverty and exclusion or living their final days as inmates of East Preston Workhouse? If so, you may wish to join with the Worthing Society for the Blind in its quest to roll back the years and reveal what life was like for blind and partially sighted people in the past. The society, which was founded in 1910, has received a grant of £54,600 from HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) the Society, to fully explore the fascinating history of the sight-impaired community in Worthing and record this heritage for posterity.
A team of research volunteers are using the society’s extensive archive as the basis for their research. Volunteers are also consulting documents at West Sussex Records Office, including the records of East Preston Workhouse and those of Milton House in Worthing, which was opened in 1937 as the county’s first purpose-built residential home for blind people.
Other volunteers are recording oral history interviews of the lives of blind and partially sighted people in Worthing and building up a picture of the changing experience of this community over the course of time.
We’d love to hear from you if you have an interest in local history, oral history or a connection with the blind community in Worthing and feel able to join this very special and unusual project.