Dad wrote a letter to his local paper recently, after they’d asked for any memories of Henshaws School for the Blind.
They printed it and here it is.
My Best Salford Accent
Your article asking for memories of Henshaws reminded me of a phone request I had from them in the sixties.
My sewing machine shop was then on Regent Road, Salford, not far from Henshaws.
They had a lady, who after spending years in the sewing trade, had gone blind and missed using a machine.
The result was I modified a Swedish Husqvarna sewing machine so she could feel, and set the required stitch, and the length and width. I then made a tape recording of the working instructions (in my best Salford accent).
It took a few weeks of my spare time and when I took it to Henshaws, and explained what it, was the charity bought it for her. I told them that she would take some time to get used to it and not to hesitate to call me to help her.
I never heard from them, and was disappointed that all my efforts had failed to help her.
Six months later and my wife and I were watching Tomorrow’s World on BBC, presented by the great Raymond Baxter.
Suddenly he said: ‘now have a look at this totally blind lady using a very complicated sewing machine’. And there she was demonstrating the machine.
I was delighted. Even more so when the two directors of the Swedish company came into my shop and asked me about the modifications. They were polite enough not to laugh at my instructional tape recording.
But I noticed that when they copied the modifications in their factory in Sweden, they not only used a professional actor to record the instructions, but also had Braille instructions made.
They sold quite a number of the machines worldwide, and I supplied a good many of them.