George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

Royal Blind School Collection: acquired in 1989

In 1989, the Royal Blind Asylum and School in Edinburgh presented a special collection to the National Library of Scotland.

The Royal Blind School Collection includes books with embossed printing that blind people could read by touch. Pictured here is the beginning of 'The Gospel by St John for the blind', printed in 1834. The typeface was created by James Gall in 1827 expressly for reading by touch. It makes no distinction between upper-case and lower-case letters. There are fewer curves than in normal typefaces, and it is easy to distinguish letters.

Gall was an Edinburgh educational publisher driven by the desire to make literature accessible to those who were blind. He worked hard to perfect a suitable alphabet. This method had been pioneered in Paris in 1786 in the school where later Louis Braille – the inventor of braille – was a pupil.

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