This film is part of Free
Eyes of a Child
Young imaginations run wild at School for Blind Children.
This is a film about life at Dorton House, a residential school for blind and partially sighted children, at Seal, near Sevenoaks, Kent. This documentary confounds common expectations by showing the wide range of activities that the children are taught, which include creative writing, mathematics, music, physical education, athletics, cricket, cooking and chemistry. The regime appears strict, for example, there is a daily ‘shoe parade’ for a teacher to check if the children have cleaned their shoes, and there is a reference to punishment for being late in getting up in the morning. However, some of this reflects the formality of all schools at the time, and there is evidence that the children are being equipped with useful skills; they are also encouraged to play outside and to use their imaginations, and this is demonstrated by a young girl’s story of a ghastly murder, which has some touches worthy of Roald Dahl.
Dorton House was purchased by the Royal London Society for the Blind in 1954 and was used as the Society’s Headquarters and as a residential home until 2013. The modern day successor organisation is the Royal Society for Blind Children which has a focus on independent living.