The grand unveiling of Henry Gardner’s bust

In the centre of the photo, Lord Gough has just pulled the curtain open to unveil the marble bust of Henry Gardner on a pedestal. To the left there is Dr John Hawkins, his partner Jean, Ben and Jen. To the right there is Ellie, Thomas and Abbie who are clapping

Today, Friday 9 October, marked the unveiling of Henry Gardner’s bust at Gardner Hall at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC). Henry Gardner’s Trust for the Blind has been a supporter of RNC almost since the inception of the College in 1872, when it was known as The Royal Normal College.


The bust has now come to Gardner Hall and the Trust has generously allowed us to have it on permanent loan for exhibition here.  It is by Italian sculptor Pasquale Romanelli, who worked in Florence in the mid-19th century.


The Trust was created by the will of Mr Henry Gardner who, on his death in 1879, left £300,000 for the “benefit of blind persons residing in England and Wales.” Today the Trust continues to provide financial assistance towards education, training and other support for people who are registered blind or partially sighted in the UK.


Our guests today at the grand unveiling were Dr John Hawkins, who wrote his PhD thesis on the Gardner’s Trust for Kingston University in 2012 and Lord Gough, Chairman of Henry Gardner’s Trust, and has supported the Cecilia Charity for the Blind, Schizophrenia Research Trust and RNIB.


Gardner Hall is RNC’s conferencing and accommodation facility which serves as the College’s main reception. As it’s the first place people experience when they first step onto the RNC campus it’s important that they make a good first impression. RNC student Ellie first visited the College last year “I first came to RNC for a tour in November 2014 and I met Tim Morton in Gardner Hall reception; it’s a really accessible building and easy to navigate. The staff are not only willing, but happy to help, and everyone was so friendly from the start. I knew I wanted to come here.”


Visit the Gardner Hall website for conferencing, accommodation and venue hire in Hereford;


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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