Blind veterans in spotlight for wartime show

Workers at Newington House in the Capital in 1922. Picture: comp
Workers at Newington House in the Capital in 1922. Picture: comp
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AN exhibition celebrating a century of support for blinded war veterans in Scotland has opened in the city’s Central Library.

It looks at the work of the Scottish War Blinded charity, established in 1915 to provide rehabilitation, support and vocational training to visually impaired veterans returning from the First World War.

A presentation entitled Graft, Camaraderie and Community will reveal how the charity has developed since its foundation.
Davina Shiell, marketing manager for the Scottish War Blinded, said: “We invite people of all ages to visit our centenary exhibition at Central Library this month. As we mark the Armistice and remember those who lost their lives in the First World War, it is also important to recognise the support provided to those who did return to Scotland wounded and blinded from the Western Front as well as learn about how the charity has developed since its foundation.”

She added: “The exhibition is a celebration of all that has been achieved by Scottish War Blinded in its 100 years of service. It stands as a tribute to the vision of the charity’s board and staff, and above all to the generosity of the Scottish public whose magnificent response to the needs of blinded veterans has made all these achievements possible.”

The charity opened its first permanent residence at the city’s Newington House in 1916 and later established further rehabilitation and vocational training centres in Wilkieston, West Lothian and Queen’s Crescent, Glasgow.

Industry is an integral part of Scottish War Blinded’s history where many members were employed in industrial workshops at Newington House, Linburn and Queen’s Crescent working alongside fellow veterans throughout the 20th century.

Lifelong friendships were forged between the members who, supported by friends and family, established communities through industry, sport and social events.

The exhibition concludes with a description of the charity today which now focuses on rehabilitation, activities and social opportunities to veterans of the armed forces who have a visual impairment sustained either in war or after their service.

Exhibits, running until November 30, will also feature Braille machines, historic photographs, commercial workshop products and sporting memorabilia.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com