A letter dated 26th June 1917 written to the Principal of the school. It admonishes the school for employing a sighted organist despite ‘...several duly qualified and thoroughly competent blind applicants...’ applying for the post.
It represents a period where attitudes towards disability were shifting. Many men, off fighting in the first world war, returned with a disability as the letter notes. During the war disability rights became more mainstream and organisations, based in the community rather than in institutions, were established to support disabled men returning from the war such as Blind Veterans UK founded in 1915.
The full text of the letter reads:
From Ranger, Burton and Frost, Solicitors
It has been reported to me that the Executive Body of your School has recently appointed a sighted Organist to the Church attached to the School, although there were several duly qualified and thoroughly competent blind Applicants for the post.
I can scarcely believe that so flagrant an injustice to these blind Applicants and to the cause of the blind as a whole has been committed by your Executive Body, and I shall be glad if you will kindly write me exactly what did take place on the occasion referred to, with the name of the Appointee.
At a time when our fellow countrymen are, in considerable numbers, and early in life, and whilst fighting bravely for King and Country, being deprived of their sight, it is incredible that your Executive Body should have deliberately intimated to these brave men (for that is what the action your Executive is reported to have taken amounts to) that they can expect from them at least no encouragement in any effort that they may make to earn an honourable livelihood as Organists.
I shall be glad if you will kindly send me with your reply a copy of your test report.