Orwell Road Special School Handicraft Class



ID: A black and white photograph of children in a handicraft class at school. They are sitting at their desks and looking down as they concentrate on their crafts. The students are doing some woodworking. One girl holds up the base of a chair she is building. One of the boys lays on the floor and props his upper body up on a chair. Another girl stands next to the teacher, who is holding up part of her chair and helping her build it. In this photograph, girls and boys show off their skills, making a range of handicrafts, particularly wooden furniture, at Orwell Road Special School, Kirkdale around 1910. At this time, societal attitudes around what a disabled person could or couldn't achieve were highly limited. Many of the schools, organisations and workshops that were attended by or run for disabled people focused on teaching them a trade, such as woodworking, shoe-making and bookbinding. It was believed then that having a trade was one of few ways for a disabled person to be able to earn a living and gain independence.