Victorian Philanthropist, Dr Thomas Rhodes Armitage met like-minded American visionary, Francis Joseph Campbell. Armitage was focused on offering blind students a good education which would lead on to worthwhile employment, while Campbell, a music teacher in several blind schools, had been forced to flee the US after voicing his opinions on anti-slavery. He arrived in England after he was spared hanging due to public sympathy for his blindness.
Within a year the College had outgrown the original Crystal Palace site and moved to Upper Norwood.
The curriculum was liberal and advanced for its day and included a large amount of physical education. Roller-skating was much practised and an early report mentions tobogganing after a heavy fall of snow. In those early days the atmosphere was full of life and excitingly experimental.
[The Upper Norwood site was bombed in 1940 during the Blitz and its grounds became Westow Park. The park includes the remains of garden terraces created for the blind and an ornamental archway. The name 'College Green' within the park also commemorates the College.]
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