East Anglian School for the Blind and Deaf

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The school opened in May 1912 after 17 acres of land was gifted to Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Local authorities from across the region, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, clubbed together to establish the school, which took pupils from across East Anglia. It was opened by the Earl of Leicester. The school taught blind and deaf children for over for 73 years. A few years before the school closed, it opened its doors to other impaired hearing children with health problems.

Over the years, there were six headmasters, who lived in a house at the front of the school site.

During the Second World War all the children and staff moved to Aberpergwm House located in Glynneath, West Glamorgan Wales. The headmaster’s house suffered severe damage during the Second World War, when it was bombed in 1941, but was rebuilt and made habitable again by 1945.

There were classrooms in one wing for blind children and other classrooms in another wing for deaf children. At play-time or after school or at social functions, such as the school play, the children mixed together. The school buildings had a room for a nursery, a young mixed-children room, a room for older girls and another room for boys, a library, a kitchen, a hall and a gymnasium. Television rooms, a swimming pool, and cookery, arts and woodwork rooms completed the establishment. There were also bedrooms on the first floor, flats for staff, the headmaster’s house, a scout hut, a large field, a playground and a car park. In the past it used to have a shoemaker. Sometime in the 1960's the school had a refurbishment.

Maurice Joel, who wrote the history of the school and unveiled the plaque in December 2012, said: what really made the school was the dedication and professionalism of the staff. You had to give yourself to the school to make it work. Before the war the house mothers had only one afternoon off a month.

The school continued to teach until July 1985, when it was closed. Its buildings remained empty for some time and were targeted by vandals, before the site was cleared to make way for new homes and the St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School. The new road was named East Anglian Way.