Reading Blind Aid Society was formed in 1883 and then changed to Reading Association for the Blind in 1926 and has supported the sight impaired people of Reading ever since.
RAB has had many homes over the years. When the Reading Blind Aid Society became Reading Association for the Welfare of the Blind in 1926 it was housed at Watlington House on Watlington Street, with a workshop in a large hut in the garden. The association then moved to 64 Kings’ Road, in offices above Avery’s the scale-makers.
In 1938 the association began renting 49 Minster St, going on to purchase it some time later. This building had a knitting room on the first floor and a basket work workshop on the second floor. Items produced in the workshops were sold out of a shop on the ground floor. After thirty years in Minster Street the then Chairman of the association, Mr Charles Sharp, decided to invest in a purpose-built property with improved accessibility.
Three supporters of the association, Mrs Catley, Mrs Drew and Mrs Howie, embarked on a fundraising drive to buy land in Carey Street and fund the building of a hall with associated facilities. Walford hall was opened by the Mayor of reading, Alderman Mrs Edith Morris, on the 1st March 1969.