Receipt from Liverpool Workshops and Birkenhead Society for the Blind, 11/09/1961



This receipt for a pair of bedroom chairs from the Liverpool Workshops and Birkenhead Society for the Blind confirms that the buyer, Mrs Scrimiger of Orrell Park, received them in good order and condition. The Liverpool Workshops for the Blind, on Cornwallis Street, in the city centre, were opened in 1870 and closed in 1990. They employed local blind people to make baskets, mats, trays, and other wicker furniture. The work was very poorly paid and highly demanding but as employment options for blind people were extremely limited at the time many had no choice. Liverpool Community Historian Steve Binns worked there for eight years, starting out as a mat maker. In an interview in the Museum’s Liverpool Voices Archive, he recalls the struggles he faced but also the independence he gained from the workshops. “People said to me, don’t go in there, it’s Hell, you know, it’s dreadful. I had no money, though. So I went into the workshops. It was the hardest job I ever had. But I was a union official. Learned to speak in public. Travelled around on my own a lot more, had to be more independent. They called it sheltered employment- it was the least sheltered employment I ever had. I hated it, but I hardly ever had a day off.”