William Hughes (Manchester)
William Hughes was the first governor of Henshaw's Blind Asylum in Manchester.
He patented the Hughes Typograph, a machine which could produce both embossed and visible letters – legible by blind and sighted alike. This was widely used in schools for the blind during the 1850s, and won a gold medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Photo here.
Note: Thomas Henshaw (1731-1810) founded a large and successful hatting business in Oldham. He left a considerable sum to charitable causes in his will. This included £20,000 for the foundation of a ‘Blind Asylum’ in Manchester. ‘Asylum’ in this context meant a place of safety, and Henshaw’s provided sheltered accommodation for elderly blind residents, and also opened a pioneering school for blind children. Blind people could also take up occupational training and paid employment in the organisation’s workshops. Occupations included musicians, piano-tuners, manufacturing, and, later, braille shorthand and typewriting.
Sources of Information
-  History at your fingertips: celebrating the 180th anniversary of Henshaws, posted by Fran Baker in the John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog