RNIB archive

This rare and unique collection represents the history and culture of blind and partially sighted people in the UK over the last 150 years and beyond.

About the Archive

It is a tremendous privilege and responsibility for RNIB to be the custodian of these artefacts and documents.

The Archive collection has been brought together and catalogued for the first time to ensure that this irreplaceable history is preserved for future generations.

In RNIB's Archive you will find:

  • An extensive collection of embossed literature in braille, Moon and other tactile reading formats used at various times such as Lucas, Alston, Gall and New York Point.
  • Many old and historically important books and publications including The Book of Common Prayer, The Radio Times, Daily Mail and Punch as well as poetry and braille music.
  • Annual reports, key documents and minute books relating to RNIB and many other organisations within the visual impairment sector.
  • Examples of old braille machinery and equipment, including pen and pencil writing frames, braille frames, and various braillers such as the Perkins and the Pyke-Glauser.
  • Photographs of the books, equipment, schooling and daily lives of blind and partially sighted people through the years. We also have images of key figures such as Dr Thomas Rhodes Armitage and Louis Braille.

Ask our Heritage Services team for advice or browse our online catalogue to search for the information you need.

Did you know that...

  • The Archive's 1850 Hughes Typograph won a gold medal at the 1851 Great Exhibition?
  • We have many Sooty boxes, but only one Sweep box?

Contact us

If you wish to visit the RNIB Archive, we recommend that you contact us first so we can help you get the most out of your visit.

RNIB Heritage Services, 105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
Telephone: 020 7391 2052
Email: heritageservices@rnib.org.uk
Browse our online catalogue
We are open from 9.45am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday (On Wednesdays we close at 4pm).

Donate now

Right now we can only reach one in three of the people who need our help most. Please make a donation and help us support more blind and partially sighted people.

Donate now