This film is part of Free

Braille Lesson

Police Constable learns to read differently.

Current affairs 1962 1 mins Silent Not rated


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Police Constable Arthur Rowlands is at the Torquay Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind learning to read braille. He lost his sight after sustaining a shot to the face when confronting a burglar on 2 August 1961 while on duty near Machynlleth Powys in North Wales. PC Rowlands went on to raise thousands of pounds for the charity Guide Dogs for the Blind. A full account of his life is given in Enid Wyn Baines' Mae'r Dall yn Gweld or The Blind See published in 1983.

Frenchman Louis Braille lost his eyesight as a child and in 1824 at the age of fifteen he developed a code based upon Charles Barbier's failed military code for writing at night. The first braille guides were published in 1829 and 1837. This was the first binary form of modern writing which assigned a symbol for each letter of the alphabet. Small rectangle blocks with a configuration of six raised dots distinguish one character from another. Due to the speed needed to read braille, its use has been in decline and replaced by newer technologies although now common on signs and medical packaging. Braille readers are thought to number one or two per cent of the visually impaired in the UK.