Sunday, December 21, 2008

St Dunstan's, Ovingdean

St Dunstan's , OvingdeanDuring the First World War, Arthur Pearson, owner and founder of the English newspaper, The Daily Express identified the need for a training centre for blinded soldiers returning from the front. Pearson had been blinded himself through glaucoma, was the first Presidnet and Treasurer for the National Institute for the Blind.

By March 1915 there were sixteen blind servicemen enrolled in a revolutionary training programme to help them return to as normal as life as possible and earn a living. They were housed in the residence of the American banker Otto Kahn called St Dunstan's Lodge which Kahn loaned to them for the duration of the War. These sailors and soldiers became known as St Dunstaners.

Several convalescent homes were established in the south of England including West House at Kemp Town, Brighton.

By the mid-1930s, West House was full so land was purchased nearby at Ovingdean.

Francis Lorne designed this magnificent building in the shape of an aeroplane. It was completed in 1938.

The front bears this sculpture holding a shield with St Dunstan's across the front.

St Dunstan's , Ovingdean

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