Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Hughes (Manchester)

From Graces Guide

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.[1]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] History at your fingertips: celebrating the 180th anniversary of Henshaws, posted by Fran Baker in the John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog