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A photograph of HRH Princess of Wales Princess of Wales and Lord Lieutenant viewing a display board at the Cardiff Institute for the Blind. It is one of three photographs showing the visit of HRH Princess of Wales to Cardiff Institute for the Blind for the opening of the South Wales Talking Magazine recording studio on the 3rd of October 1991.

Cardiff Institute for the Blind is the oldest charity in Cardiff and was founded in 1865 by Frances Batty Shand, the daughter of a Jamaican plantation owner, who had moved to Cardiff with her brother on the death of her father. Miss Shand first opened a small workshop in the Canton area of Cardiff, employing four blind men to make baskets for the coal ships sailing from Cardiff.

Within a year, larger premises were purchased at Byron Street in the Roath area and ten men were employed. In 1868 a third move was made to Longcross Street, off Newport Road. The Longcross Street premises continued to prosper and by 1900, there were 100 blind men and women employed at the Institute in the manufacture of baskets, mats, brushes, ships fenders and sewing. In 1941 Longcross Street was destroyed during a German air raid and employees continued their work in small workshops scattered around the Roath area of Cardiff. The Institute was given a plot of land on Newport Road in 1949 and work on the new premises commenced in 1951. The new building subsequently opened in 1953. By 1965, 70 employees were engaged in the manufacture of traditional products. Gradually, as attitudes changed towards integrating disabled people into work, rather than segregated 'sheltered employment', more opportunities arose for blind people in open employment, particularly with the rapid growth in technology. The role of blind workshops gradually decreased and they were shut down in 2006.

In 2009, Cardiff Institute for the Blind became part of the RNIB Cymru Group, allowing the organisation to spread its service and support model across South Wales. The institute changed its name to the Cardiff Vales and Valleys (CVV) to better describe its expanded geographical brief. The Institute moved to their new headquarters in Womanby Street, in Cardiff city centre, in 2013.

Glamorgan Archives, DBLI/C/11/2/9

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Ref: Glamorgan Archives, DBLI/C/11/2/9

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