Albion St., Leeds LS1
Leeds Blind, Deaf and Dumb Insitution(Edward Birchall, 1875)

In July 1875 Heaton recorded the visit of Lady Burdett-Coutts to Leeds.  She presided at a meeting of the local RSPCA, which he attended with Fanny, and the following day laid the foundation stone of the new Leeds Blind, Deaf and Dumb institution at the junction of Albion Street and St Anne’s Street.  Unfortunately, Fanny was too poorly to attend the latter ceremony (Journal, iv).  The institution for the blind, deaf and dumb was intended to help disabled people gain practical skills and employment, being equipped with workshops and other facilities. 

A few years later, Heaton mentions a benefit for the Institution involving his eldest daughter, Helen, which was intended to clear the debt on the new building:

‘On this Evening, an Amateur concert was performed in the Church Institute, on behalf of the blind Asylum, which was mainly got up and promoted by Helen.  All our family and all the servants went . . . The Concert was a great success; the room was crowded, and many went away, unable to get admission.  Helen played some solos on the piano and was much applauded. . . A considerable sum was cleared for the charity.’ (Journal, v. 28 Jan. 1878).

Though it didn’t name her, the report in the Leeds Mercury was even more enthusiastic about Helen’s efforts, saying that her rendition of the ‘Pilgrim’s Chorus’ from Wagner’s Tannhaüser ‘was given with such finished skill and taste that it was followed by an encore, to which the player responded by giving another piece’ (30 Jan. 1878).

Leodis has few images of the building, but it appears on the left here.