Seeing our History – Living with Sight Loss in Edwardian Edinburgh and Lothians 2014

Woman with microphone

Heritage Grants

RNIB Scotland
Seeing Our History uncovered the life histories of blind and partially sighted people living in the Edinburgh area between 1903 and 1910.

The lives of visually impaired people are often forgotten; this project set about to ensure that these histories are more well-known and widely accessible.

Archive volunteers at Lothian Health Services Archive transcribed the Register of the Outdoor Blind for Edinburgh, Lothians and the Scottish Borders which is now held at the archive in its original and digitised form. The Register entries give clues to the lives of visually impaired people who lived in the general community during the Edwardian era.

Eight research volunteers, including two with visual impairments, were trained in research methods to uncover the life stories behind the entries.

The project pieced together ten detailed case studies and published them in two books: Feeling Our History and Hearing Our History. Each book is available in a variety of accessible formats, including large print, audio and braille. The project also produced podcasts featuring original music based on the life histories researched.

Clair, an archive volunteer, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this project and the exciting prospect of helping to make such a rich resource more accessible.”

Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) Scotland provides practical and emotional support to blind and partially sighted people. Find out more on the RNIB website.