Site of Blind Asylum Chapel (School of Industry for the Blind)

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The Bristol Asylum for the Blind was established in 1793, to employ blind Bristolians in manual trades such as weaving. In 1838, the asylum moved to a building and chapel at the top of Park Street.1 The chapel lay close to Symonds’ Berkeley square home, and the famliy attended service weekly:

“The sense of meanness which annoyed me in our house afflicted me far more keenly in the chapel of the Blind Asylum, where we attended service twice on Sundays. The bastard Gothic lancets, dead-grey, rough-cast walls and ugly painted woodwork of that paltry building, gave me absolute pain. It suffocated my soul, and made me loathe evangelical Protestantism. Most of all, at night, when gas-lamps flared in open jets upon the sordid scene, I felt defrauded, of some dimly apprehended birthright.”

The former chapel and adjoining buildings occupied roughly the same footprint as the University’s Wills building.

  1. An Historical Sketch of the Bristol Asylum for the Blind. By the Honorary Secretary, 1854 [Google eBook] []