Volunteers from Worthing Society for the Blind’s ‘A Journey in Time’ project were really impressed with the training session put on for them by Martin Hayes at Worthing Library. Not only did Martin show us how to use the digital search facility for local newspapers, he also introduced us to other source material that will be of great help in our research.
Back in the 1920s, staff at the library began collating pamphlets and magazine articles that they thought might be of interest to future historians. These were bound together in what are today known as the ‘Worthing pamphlets.’ As these volumes are not indexed they are underused but Martin helped us to find several publications that were directly relevant to our research. These included early reports from what was then Worthing Society for Befriending the Blind – the earliest one being from 1915. There was also an article from the Blind Record about life at the ‘blind home’ in Grafton Road. These were really exciting discoveries.
The Worthing Gazette now exists in digitised form for the years, 1883-4, 1901-1925 and 1939-1945. We will be able to search these years for any article or advert that relates to blindness or the experience of blind people. We are particularly hopeful of finding information about the plight of blinded soldiers who returned to Worthing after losing their sight fighting in the Great War.
Thanks Martin for a really illuminating day!