Seeing Our History

Seeing Our History project research team

What was it like to be blind or partially sighted a century ago? At a time when the only welfare support was charity and the only aid available was a white stick?

“Seeing Our History” was a RNIB Scotland project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It explored the lives of people with sight loss in Edinburgh, the Lothians, and the Borders of Scotland one hundred years ago.

Scottish Blind Register

Here you can discover the findings of our volunteer researchers. They explored the lives of visually impaired people who lived in the wider community. They were sometimes known as the 'outdoor blind' because they didn’t live in the blind institutions, or 'asylums' as they were known at the time.

Our research was based on The Register of the Outdoor Blind for the region from around 1903 to 1911. We matched entries against the census and birth, marriage, and death records to build up life stories, tracing the lives of individual blind people.