Cathedrals through Touch and Hearing

A blind visitor inspects a cathedral model

A blind visitor inspects a cathedral model, guided by a taped commentary.

In 1988 John Hull created the project 'Cathedrals through Touch and Hearing', to provide cathedrals with facilities to enable blind visitors to appreciate the architecture.  Carved wooden models and elevated ground plans have been placed in seventeen English cathedrals.  The hands of the blind person are guided by a taped commentary, and the artefacts are placed on a table situated near the normal visitors' entrance.  In some cases, 'Acoustic Fingerprint Cassettes' guide the blind visitor around the cathedral, drawing attention to the distinctive acoustic features of the building.  The basic concept of the project is not to try to convey to the blind person the sighted person's image of the cathedral, but to enable the blind person to create his or her own impressions through sound and touch.

A boy inspects a cathedral model

Christopher Huby, then a student at Queen Alexandria College,
examines the ground plan and model at St. Phillips Cathedral in Birmingham

The cathedrals which have received the models are: Birmingham, Canterbury, Chichester, Coventry, Durham, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Lichfield, Lincoln, Norwich, Peterborough, Saint Albans, Salisbury, Winchester, Worcester, and York Minster.  Charitable foundations have contributed hundreds of thousands of pounds towards the project.

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