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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Blind pioneer Gilbert's house
This is where pioneer of the blind Elizabeth Gilbert lived.
Location: 5 Stanhope Place, Hyde Park
Description: This is the final home of the pioneering philanthropist Elizabeth Margaretta Maria Gilbert (18261885). She was the second daughter and third of eleven children of Ashurst Turner Gilbert, principal of Brasenose College, Oxford, and future Bishop of Chichester.
She contracted scarlet fever at the age of three and became totally blind and was supported in her education by her family, especially her sisters, so much so that she had a full education and knew many languages.
Her position meant she was at the forefront of education for the blind, being able to test new equipment such as 1851's Foucault frame invention for aiding writing.
She opened a shop cellar in Holborn to sell products made by the blind, and founded The Association for Promoting the General Welfare of the Blind and had a hand in championing other organisations and facilities to aide the blind.
She died here on 7 February 1885.