Today I have been thinking especially about my great great uncle, Thomas Francis BUCKINGHAM. Thomas was born in 1880; later censuses have him as being born blind, while the 1911 census has him as being blind from age 1. I have followed him through the censuses; he had a fairly dull life (some might even say miserable): I can't find him in the 1881, but in the 1891 he was in the workhouse, a pauper; in the 1901 he was still in Plymouth workhouse as a basket weaver, and in the 1911 he was at least boarded out somewhere, and worked as a news vendor.
The reason I have been thinking of him is because today (Friday 11th October) I took part in the RNIB's
'Read for RNIB Day' (RNIB is the UK's Royal National Institute of Blind People). I wanted to do something for charity, but realised that I am not exactly built for running up mountains LOL, but here was something I could do. Last year, I did a readathon of Star Trek novels. This year, my work colleagues challenged me to learn basic Braille in 6 weeks and read something in Braille on The Day. RNIB kindly sent me two copies of "We're Going On a Bear Hunt" (children's book), one in print and one in Braille, and I read the entire book out loud today at work. Braille was developed in 1824. I wonder how much access Thomas Francis had to it? I am so blessed to have the gift of sight.
Thomas was born in Plymouth and died there in 1930, aged 49.
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