Our History

We can trace the roots of Deafway back to two separate Lancashire organisations – The Royal Cross School for D/deaf children and an organisation which provided services to D/deaf adults in Lancashire (which went through a variety of name changes) but was generally know as The Lancashire Welfare Association for the Deaf.

The Royal Cross School opened in 1894 and provided residential education for D/deaf children from across many parts of the north of England until it closed in 1990 (The photograph above is of the old school building before it’s demolition in 2011).  At that time, pupils of secondary school age transferred to Ashton High School in Preston and pupils of primary school age to the newly opened Royal Cross Primary School.

We have not, so far, been able to find records of the date of the founding of the original organisation which became The Lancashire Welfare Association of the Deaf – but our best guess is that it was founded at around the same time as the Royal Cross School – i.e. the late 1800s.

In 1990 a new charity called The Mary Cross Trust was set up.  This charity was the result of a merger between the Royal Cross School and the Lancashire Welfare Association for the Deaf (which had by then changed its name to NELWAD).  From 1990 The Mary Cross Trust provided a range of services to both D/deaf children and adults.

In 2003 the Mary Cross Trust officially changed its name to Deafway in order to better reflect and communicate the philosophy behind all of the work that we do.