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“the other children are not kind to them” – School for the Deaf, Surrey Lane, Battersea

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 17 November 2017

One of the London Board Schools, Surrey Lane School in Battersea was opened in 1899 according to the N.I.D.’s Handbook for 1913, the headmaster is listed as Mr. M. Campbell.  It accommodated forty pupils, who were “admitted as early as possible” and were taught with the oral method.  The Handbook tells us that,

deaf children within the area of the London County Council attend a day school to the age of 13, when they are drafted to one of the residential schools – boys to Anerley and girls to Oak Lodge.  The council defrays all necessary travelling expenses and provides guides.
The Council sends Roman Catholic children to Boston Spa, Jewish children to the Jews’ Home, and where necessary on health grounds children are sent to seaside or provincial Institutions.
All children before entering school are certified by the Medical Officer and the Superintendent of the Deaf Schools.
The Council boards out children whose homes are not suitable to the best interests of the child.
Superintendent and Organizer of the Deaf Schools: Mr. B.P. Jones, 15, Denmark Avenue, Wimbledon, S.W.
A class of hard-of-hearing childrenwas formed in 1911 at the Ackmar Road School, Fulham.  It will be shortly held in a separate school.

However, The Royal Comission on the Blind, the Deaf and the Dumb of the U.K. (1889, p.295-99) took evidence from the Head Teacher, Mrs. Dancy, in 1886, but at that time a deaf class was integrated in the ordinary school, so perhaps the school was refounded in 1899 for Deaf only pupils.

This website has a photo showing the entrance of the school.   Mrs Dancy had been there only a year and a half in 1886, and had trained at Fitzroy Square under van Praagh, working there for five and a half to six years.  At that time, on leaving school children would then go to work – or not – but education ended.  The average attendance was 12, and her experience was with totally deaf children.  She would teach them for 5 hours a day, with the oral method.  The children were from a distance of two to three miles.  She was confident she had all the deaf children in her district.  She was paid £150 per year, and we learn that her class was the first established under the board, under the Oral Association.

When asked if the dhearing pupils played with the deaf children, she said, “Not very freely; the other children are not kind to them, as a rule.” (p.200)

It seems that the school did not last long, as it was mentioned in the 1924 Handbook, but  not that of 1929I suspect that a few of the schools were closed and consolidated in that period.  The London Metropolitan Archives have admission registers from 1904-1914.  Perhaps the pupils were sent to Ackmar Road School in Fulham, which was near, if north of the river.  I will update this if I discover more.

Surrey Lane SchoolHere the Surrey pupils are having a dancing class.  Circa 1920 I would suppose.

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/c/F111566

William Moody of Manchester, “an idiot boy” (1849)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 10 November 2017

William Moody was a deaf boy, and the son of Joseph Moody.  Joseph was born circa 1816 in Willoughbridge, Staffordshire.  His father, William senior, was at various times a gamekeeper or a butcher.  The name sometimes appears as Moodey.  He married Phebe or Phoebe Large in 1840, and they had two sons, William born in 1841 and Thomas born in 1843.  Sadly she died in 1845.  The eldest son, William, was either born deaf or lost his hearing in childhood.  Losing his mother when he was four must have been critical in his development.  I suspect that his father did not have any idea as to how he should deal with his son’s hearing loss.  In June 1846 he married for a second time to Louise or Louisa Thorman, also the daughter of a gamekeeper (see online records at www.ancestry.co.uk).  In 1863 Joseph was in prison for three months, according to research by a descendant (ibid), and in 1871 he was in the workhouse.  Sadly he died in an asylum in Prestwich, Scotland, in 1885.

My eye was drawn to this article from 1849 about the son, William Moody.  The same article, or versions thereof, appeared in several newspapers that week.  The story is interesting for many reasons.  It shows how young Deaf people in the 19th century, even living in central Manchester, where there was a very good deaf school, fell through the gaps in the system, such as it was, and how difficult it was for a parent to know what to do with such a child.  It also illustrates the importance of education, and supporting parents and children who have physical or emotional problems, to prevent them becoming a problem and a burden to society.  The story comes from the heart of Manchester;

Extensive Destruction of Property by an Idiot Boy
On Friday morning, William Moody, an idiot boy, apparently about seven or eight years old, and who is both deaf and dumb, was brought before the magistrates at the Borough Court, in order that some arrangements might be made for his future safe keeping.

Mr Superintendent Sawley stated that on the previous day the boy had contrived to get into the premises of Mr. John Barber, engraver to calico printers, Back Water-street, and, the men being absent, he had by means of a hammer almost wholly destroyed three or four engraved copper rollers, of the value of about £40; he had also broken and damaged a number of the punches and other tools, used fin engraving the rollers.  The boy’s father was a cab proprietor, living in Atherton’s Court, Young-street.

The father, who was present, said he had four children; he had made application to the relieving officers to take some steps to confine the boy, and he was willing to pay whatever might be necessary for his support in an asylum.

Mr. Sawley said he had several times sent for the father with regard to the boy, who appeared to be allowed to run about the streets uncared for.  When he was brought to the office on the previous day, he was as black as a sweep, and had no other covering but a sort of gown made of calico.  He had kept him in the office during the night; but the father had on one or two previous occasions told him (Mr. Sawley) that he was unable to take care of the boy.

Mr Brownsworth, one of the relieving officers, was in court; and after some conversation, Mr. Maude directed the at the boy should be at once taken to the office of the guardians, and some arrangements made for his being taken care of in future. (Hull Packet and East Riding Times)

The Manchester Times version of the story, see below, adds Mr. Brownsworth had pulled the boy out of the canal on one occasion.  What became of William, for whom we can only feel sympathy, I am not sure.  I could not find him in our – incomplete – annual reports of the Old Trafford school, where pupils are listed by name.  In 1851, it would appear that he was in the workhouse in Manchester, New Bridge Street (though he is not marked as ‘deaf’ there, I am confidant it is this William Moody).  Perhaps he died young, perhaps he got some help, but I rather suspect not.  He would have been very difficult to take in hand by the time he was eight, having been allowed to become a ‘feral’ child.

If you can track William after that, please leave a comment below.

Above, the story as it appeared in The Manchester Times.Idiot Boy

Manchester Times (Manchester, England), Wednesday, June 6, 1849; Issue 62.

The Morning Post (London, England), Thursday, June 07, 1849; pg. 8; Issue 23557

The Blackburn Standard (Blackburn, England), Wednesday, June 13, 1849; Issue 752

The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull, England), Friday, June 8, 1849

1841 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 573; Book: 7; Civil Parish: Manchester; County: Lancashire; Enumeration District: 14; Folio: 25; Page: 3; Line: 9; GSU roll: 438725

1851 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 2227; Folio: 205; Page: 4

1851 Census – William junior – Class: HO107; Piece: 2229; Folio: 834; Page: 14

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 2892; Folio: 26; Page: 46; GSU roll: 543046

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 3974; Folio: 130; Page: 22; GSU roll: 846087

Manchester marriages Reference Number GB127.M403/6/3/19

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Lunacy Patients Admission Registers; Class: MH 94; Piece: 27

UPDATED: Apologies for my atrocious typing – I managed 6 typos in the above blog, now corrected I hope!?

“several times the light flickered and went out” – John Thorpe and the Huddersfield Deaf Mission

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 3 November 2017

Unlike some of his comtemporaries in the Deaf community, John Thorpe (1843-99) does not appear to have led a particularly interesting or spectacular life, rather one of diligent work and cheerful friendliness, as we see in his brief obituary in the British Deaf Monthly.  Having lost his hearing aged fifteen or sixteen, young John Thorpe soon became well known in the local deaf community, helping the Leeds missioner Mr. Foulstone when he visited Huddersfield, introducing him to local Deaf people.  He lost his regular warehouseman job as a consequence of his hearing loss, but did manage to get work still with for example Schwann, Kell & Co., and later George Brook & Co. (Hudderfield Daily Chronicle).

He was also, we are told, in at the start of the local Huddersfield Mission.  “The new mission had a fluctuating existence in the early days; several times the light flickered and went out.”  Eventually a meeting in the Queen Street Assembly Rooms  got the mission going on a regular basis, with a home taken in the Wellington Buildings, with fifteen to twenty regulars (British Deaf Monthly and Hudderfield Daily Chronicle).  Thorpe was at the heart of this work, spending his own money “without thought of recompense” (British Deaf Monthly).  He helped send local children to the Doncaster School, while others he educated himself locally.  “[H]e has with the devoted help of one of the best of wives, entirely spent his time, heart and soul, night and day, to teaching and preaching and visiting” (Hudderfield Daily Chronicle).

At some point the mission separated from Leeds, I am not sure exactly when.  When Thorpe lost his job as a warehouseman through a strike, he became a paid missionary in Huddersfield, until his death after a long illness in 1899.  In his last years he was also beset by failing eyesight.  His wife took over the mission work.

At his funeral in Huddersfield cemetery, the “sorrow of the deaf, for whom there was no interpreter of the Rev. A.W. Keely’s funeral discourse, was expressed for them by one of themselves, Mr. Crowther; and each, as a last tribute, dropped a bouquet of homely flowers on the coffin of their departed friend” (British Deaf Monthly).

john thorpe

1851 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 2319; Folio: 38; Page: 27; GSU roll: 87542-87544 [Possibly him]

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 4369; Folio: 89; Page: 45; GSU roll: 848086

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 4382; Folio: 78; Page: 20; GSU roll: 1342046

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 3566; Folio: 62; Page: 7; GSU roll: 6098676

The Late Mr John Thorpe. British Deaf Monthly, 1899 vol. 9, p.7

Hudderfield Daily Chronicle 30/08/1899 p.3 – this seems to be the source for the BDM article.

 

“A small token of affection for kindness” – A Deaf Family from Devon & the gift of a book

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 27 October 2017

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction PrinterRosina Fanny Oliver Hinckley was the daughter of a pesioned navy sailor, George Hinckley of Liverpool, and his Cornish wife, Jane.  At some point after the 1871 census when she was three and her brother George was 2, it must have been discovered that they were both deaf.  They were both educated at the Exeter Institution, as we can see from the census for 1881.  after school, George became a tailor and Rosina a milliner.

John Lethbridge was born in Tavistock, Devon in 1871, son of George Lethbridge, a painter and paper hanger in 1881, and his wife Margaret (née Stevens).  He is not described as deaf in the census returns until the 1891 census when he was twenty. He became a boot finisher.

Rosina married John Lethbridge in 1893.  Presumably they were acquainted through the local Deaf community in Plymouth, although there was no formal deaf mission there until 1897.  They had nine children, two of them dying in childhood.  At least four of the surviving children were deaf, Percy and Willie, and Olive and Elsie.  What set me onto this family, was the dedication in a book which we have.  The book, by ‘C. J. L.’ (Caroline J. Ladd) is Deaf, Dumb and Blind – True stories of child life (1902).  As you see here, the inscription reads,

WoodfordTo George Woodford

With Christian love

A small token of

affection for kindness

to Percy and Willie Lethbridge

While school mates at

Margate

Isaiah 23-V-VI*

The book is rather twee for modern taste.  Chapter five, ‘What could Susie do for Jesus?’ tells us about a Deaf girl who,

‘was a first class girl, now “quite an old scholar,” as she often told those who understood her silent language.’ (p.40) […]

Susie was much interested in being told about the poor children of India by a teacher who was leaving B. to take charge of a mission school in that far-off land.  She seemed much troubled on hearing that great mumbers of Hindoo children did not know anything about the true God, but prayed to idols, saying, on her fingers, “Oh do tell about the Lord Jesus Christ, and I will pray to Him for you and for all the girls who attend your school.”  And on being told it was very likely, as the number of deaf mutes in India is very large, asked if she might send her favourite doll to some Indian girl afflicted in the same way as herself, and was quite delightedwhen told it should be packed with some books, toys, and other things friends were sending for the mission school, and given with Susie’s love to a deaf and dumb child. (ibid, p.45-6)

Note the language  the writer uses, deafness and blindness as ‘affliction.’  I think this may be a true story, or based on one, and that Susie was probably at school in Birmingham.  It might be possible to investigate further to see if we could identify that teacher.  I have not been able to narrow down Caroline Ladd, so please comment if you have come across her somewhere.

SusieIt was relatively easy to find the Lethbridge brothers in the 1911 census, then discover that they were from what we might call a culturally Deaf family.  In their recent book, People of the Eye (OUP, 2011), Harlan Lane, Richard Pillard and Ulf Hedberg describe the American ASL Deaf community as a type of ethnicity, where the primary language is signs, as distinguished from the deaf who are not .  We can, perhaps, extend that idea to B.S.L. users in the U.K.  It would be interesting to know if that were the case for the extended Lethbridge family.

In 1901, the Lethbridge family had a lodger, James John Weeble, who was also Deaf, and, as a ‘boot riveter’ was presumably a friend and colleague of John Lethbridge.

Rosina died in Plymouth in 1960, aged 92.  Her husband John ahad died in 1912 – so she was a widow for 48 years, with a large family.  Percy died in 1962, but I am not sure when Willie died.  If you use the www.ancestry.co.uk you will see relatives and descendants have produced a detailed Lethbridge and Hinckley family tree, with photos.

The person I have not mentioned is George Woodford, to whom the book was given.  He was the father of Doreen Woodford (a person whose name will be familiar to anyone in the British Deaf community) and was some years older than the Lethbridge boys, being born in 1893, so would have been fourteen at the time of the gift.

*Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

‘C. J. L.’ (Caroline J. Ladd) Deaf, Dumb and Blind – True stories of child life (1902)

Woodford, Doreen E., Who’s interpreting on Sunday morning? (2010)

1871 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG10; Piece: 2139; Folio: 115; Page: 59; GSU roll: 832034

1871 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG10; Piece: 2147; Folio: 60; Page: 52; GSU roll: 832037

1881 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG11; Piece: 2197; Folio: 16; Page: 25; GSU roll: 1341529

1881 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG11; Piece: 2152; Folio: 123; Page: 43; GSU roll: 1341519

1891 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG12; Piece: 1741; Folio: 46; Page: 48; GSU roll: 6096851

1891 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG12; Piece: 1725; Folio: 24; Page: 42; GSU roll: 6096835

1901 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG13; Piece: 2110; Folio: 36; Page: 64

1911 Census – Margate School – Class: RG14; Piece: 4501

1911 Census – John and Rosina Lethbridge – Class: RG14; Piece: 13020; Schedule Number: 127

 

Hull Deaf F.C. 1913

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 19 October 2017

Hull Deaf football Club in 1913 – in honour of Hull’s year as City of Culture.  If you can name any of the players, please do!

Hull

A Deaf tailor to King Edward VII – George Arnold of Windsor (1855-1922)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 October 2017

George Arnold  (1855-1922) was born in Wimborne, Dorset.  He lost his hearing at the age of eight, being described in the 1901 census as ‘stone deaf,’ and was then educated at the Old Kent Road and St John’s College, Margate, under the personal tuition of G. Banton and the headmaster, Richard Elliott.  The 1881 census says he was ‘Deaf after birth, not dumb’ so he had spoken language.  On leaving school, he trained as a tailor with Mr W. Fletcher, tailor to King Edward VII.  In 1880 he married Amelia Bartlett, of Preston, Dorset then aged 18.  According to the 1901 census, she was partly deaf.

The article about Arnold in The Messenger says that “on leaving school he chose the trade of a tailor and has been with with Mr. Fletcher, tailor to H.M. the King, H.R.H. Prince Christian, &c., for over twenty years.  Besides making various clothes for the King, he made clothes for the late Emperor Frederick of Germany, while the latter was staying at Windsor Castle, as well as for other Royalties.

In the 1891 census he was being visited by Henry S. Gander, a fellow Deaf tailor.   I wonder if Gander was looking for work, or perhaps he was just a friend from the same trade with a similar background?  Had he been staying with the Arnolds on a longer basis it would probably have said he was a ‘boarder.’  Thanks to information provided by Deaf historians Norma McGilp and Geoff Eagling, we can say something more about Gander.

Harry Stonestreet Gander, was baptized on the 17th of November, 1867, in Hove, Sussex. His parents John and Sarah Ann Gander.  At the time of the 1871 census he was living at  27 Osborne St, Hove, where he was a pupil at the Brighton “Deaf and Dumb Asylum.”  He had lost his hearing through from scarlet fever’, and his father was a gardener.  At the Brighton Institution, his Admission number was 438.  He was living at Cliftonville, Sussex at the time of his admission in 1877.  Geoff Eagling says, “Reverend Fully paid on his behalf £8-0s-0d per year, this is lower than the normal school fee of £10-0s-0d. Perhaps he was a day pupil. No date of leaving but would be around 1882-83 when he was around 14-15 years old. Private pupil at the time was £50-0s-0d, a lot in those days.”   I cannot be sure when Harry died.  There seem to be a fair number of Ganders in Sussex, but there is a death notice for Lewes in 1910, a Harry Gander aged 42, that could fit.  If you find out or know please make a note below.

Arnold was an amateur conjurer, and was in demand to provide entertainments.  In the Brighton Gazette for the 7th of January, 1904, Arnold performed at a New Year party held at the Brighton Institution, presided over by Sir Arthur Fairbairn, and William Sleight, who was headmaster.  I wonder if Arnold or Gander made clothes for them?  He also acted as a stand-in missioner to his local Deaf community, for example in the South Bucks Standard for the 24th of October 1912, we read that the Bishop appointed him to take Sunday services when the Rev. A.H. Payne moved to Liverpool.

As a young man, he had been a very good athlete.  Roe tells us he ran a mile in 4 mins 47 secs, at Fordingbridge, near Salisbury, and a half-mile in 2 mins 10 secs at Winton.

George Arnold died in 1922, at Clewer, near Windsor, aged only 67.  His wife Amelia had died His obituary in Ephphatha said “Mr. Arnold abounded in energy, good spirits and social magnetism; he was an optimist, a humorist, a man who relished life.”

I cannot say whether any of his clothes survive, but perhaps they do in some museum or in the Royal Collections.  It is also possible that there are surviving accounts and other correspondence that might be of interest to those wanting to research this subject.

George Arnold

MACKENZIE, G. King Edward’s deaf mute tailor. Messenger, 1902, 5(5), 83-84. (photo)

Obituary, Mr George Arnold, Ephphatha, 1922 p.701

Roe, W.R. Peeps into the Deaf World, 1917, p.2-3

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 1339; Folio: 40; Page: 15; GSU roll: 542798

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 1195; Folio: 94; Page: 13; GSU roll: 1341293

1881 Census (Henry S. Gander) – Class: RG11; Piece: 1077; Folio: 55; Page: 39; GSU roll: 1341254

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1013; Folio: 34; Page: 23; GSU roll: 6096123

1901 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1013; Folio: 34; Page: 23; GSU roll: 6096123

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 6718; Schedule Number: 175

 

Helen Marion Burnside, “carried the radiance of her very soul in her face”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 6 October 2017

BurnsideThe chances are, that unless you are a collector of Victorian Christmas cards, you will never have heard of Helen Marion Burnside (1841-1923), yet in her day her words will have been widely read, for she wrote seasonal greeting verses;

In honour of the happy time
These girls and boys are brisk as bees,
From peep of day to vesper chime,
Preparing for festivities.

Born on September the 14th, 1841, in Bromley-by-Bow, Middlesex (London), probably at Manor field House, near the beautiful Bromley Hall, perhaps the oldest brick building in London, Helen lost her hearing aged 13 as a result of scarlet fever.  Note her birth was in 1841, as Mary Ann Helen – not 1844 as some sources say.  I think she cut a few years off her stated age as she got older.  She was baptized in St. Leonard’s Church in the 13th of October.

“During my girlhood days,” she once said to the writer, “my greatest desire was to become a musician, but at thirteen years of age a terrible calamity befell me. I became totally deaf as the result of an attack of scarlet fever, and never regained my hearing. Then it was I took to verse writing as another way of making music, for it was the desire to write words for music which, in the first instance, induced me to try the art of rhyming.”*

She was a talented artist, and had a picture exhibited at the Royal Academy when quite young; “before she was nineteen years of age the Royal Academy accepted one of her pictures of fruit and flowers, and, later, a couple of portraits in crayons” (The Strand).

She published many lyrics and poems, and it seems that over six thousand of her verses were put into Christmas cards over the years, as well as 150 of her songs being put to music.  This song, advertised in John Bull in 1871, was to music by Miss Maria Lindsay (Mrs M. Worthington Bliss);

It has seemed so long since morning tide,
And I have been left so lone,
Young smiling faces throng’d my side
When the early sunlight shone;
But they grew tired long ago, and I saw them sink to rest,
With folded hands and brows of snow, on the green earth’s mother breast.

Another lyric of hers, The Sprig of May, was put to music by Queen Victoria’s pianist, Jacques Blumenthal in 1883.

She worked as a designer for the Royal School of Art Needlework for nine years, “painting vellum bound books, having obtained a diploma in this branch of art from the World’s Columbian Exhibition.

Marion wrote many children’s books, and contributed many articles to The Girl’s Own Paper, including a story called “The Deaf Girl next door; or Marjory’s life work” which was in the March supplement in 1899, that I have not yet tracked down.  I wonder whether she knew Fred Gilby in person, for in a long article in The Girl’s Own Paper for 1897, she wrote an article about the Deaf, talking about The Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb, mentioning Ephphatha their magazine, and its editor, MacDonald Cuttell.  Writing to her audience of girls, she said, “What they require is to be encouraged to mix , on as equal terms as possible, with hearing persons, not to be set apart and left out in the cold, as if debarred by reason of their affliction from the interests, sympathies, amusements, and occupations of other girls.”

In 1878 she moved in to live with the novelist Rosa Nouchette Carey (1840–1909).  She was certainly staying with her a 3 Eton Road, near Chalk Farm, in 1871.  It seems probable that they were life long friends as Rosa was also born in Bromley-by-Bow in 1840.  Carey left her an annuity when she died.

W.R. Roe wrote of her, in Peeps into the Deaf World,

To her the pleasantest part of her work was that done for children.  On leaving the Royal School of Art and Needlework she was for some years engaged in editing for Messrs. Raphael Tuck and Co., and also wrote many stories and verses for children.
She said that the great regret of her life was that she did not become proficient in lip-reading.  She had become accustomed to the use of the manual alphabet on the part of her friends, and her life being a busy one, she had neither time nor opportunity to acquire an art which a few years back was regarded as of doubtful value compared to other branches of learning.
Marion Burnside carried the radiance of her very soul in her face; and she let the world have the benefit of it. (Roe, 1917, p.320)

Helen Marion Burnside died at Updown Hill House, in Windlesham, Surrey, on the 5th of December, 1923.

Exhibited at Royal Academy, 1863; Columbian Exposition (honourable mention), 1895; Society of Lady Artists, 1897; designer to Royal School of Art Needlework, 1880–89; editor to Messrs Raphael Tuck and Co., 1889–95

John Bull (London, England), Saturday, January 28, 1871; pg. 50; Issue 2,616

Burnside, Helen Marion, Help for Deaf Girls. The Girl’s Own Paper (London, England), Saturday, August 14, 1897; pg. 734; Issue 920.

*Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, Volume 4

The Girl’s Own Paper (London, England), Saturday, April 14, 1883; pg. 439; Issue 172

Roe, W.R., Peeps into the Deaf World, 1917 p.319-20

The Strand Magazine, Volume 1, Jan-June 1891 – picture from here

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/terri_klugh/christmas-of-the-past/

http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/dbscott/3.html#lindsay

http://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/article/oupww/whowaswho/U194195, accessed 6 Oct 2017

Census 1851 – Class: HO107; Piece: 1555; Folio: 472; Page: 4; GSU roll: 174787

Census 1861 – (as Mary Ann) Class: RG 9; Piece: 91; Folio: 51; Page: 8; GSU roll: 542572

Census 1871 – Class: RG10; Piece: 194; Folio: 4; Page: 1; GSU roll: 823312

Census 1881 – Class: RG11; Piece: 173; Folio: 65; Page: 22; GSU roll: 1341037

Census 1891 – Class: RG12; Piece: 452; Folio: 86; Page: 38; GSU roll: 6095562

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 481; Folio: 170; Page: 17

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 5146; Schedule Number: 30

 

First Deaf Person on TV in Britain – “Topsy,” or Eileen Guy, from Central Asia (ca.1914-1998)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 September 2017

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printer (00A)In the early part of the 20th century, three bold and independent women made a name for themselves as the ‘Trio’ of missionaries in the far east of China, in Gansu.  They were Mildred Cable (1878-1952), and the two sisters, Evangeline French (1869-1960) and Francesca French (1871-1960).  They travelled widely in the deserts and moutains of that region, attempting to convert local people.  One day they heard a ‘tap, tap tap’ at the door, and it was a young child of six or seven nicknamed ‘Gwa Gwa,’ that is ‘little lonely’ (Cable & French p. 9-14).  The girl was deaf, the daughter of a Tibetan mother and a Mongol chief.  She had been fostered, then the foster mother sold her when she discovered she was deaf.  She was then sent out to beg (ibid p.19-22).  The Trio bought her freedom, and changed her name to Ai Lien, meaning ‘Love Bond.’  The three missionary ladies called her Topsy for some reason.  After some difficulties with one of the warlords in the area, they eventually escaped to Urumchi, then Chuguchak.  Topsy mapTo get through Russia, they had to give Ai Lien a British name and passport, so they anglicized it to Eileen with the surname Guy as one of the three, the ‘Blue Lady’ as she is called in the book, had the Chinese surname Gai.  Eventually they had permission to cross Russia, and they arrived back in England, where they divided their time between living in Dorset and Watford.  Once in England she started to get an oral education (p.123-4)

The French sisters died within a short time of each other in 1960, leaving Eileen a comfortable inheritance.

According to one of our old library index cards from Selwyn and Kate Oxley, Topsy was the first Deaf person to be on television in Britain, with the Trio, at Alexandra Palace.  That would have been before the war.  It may be that the BBC archives could confirm that.

I have not discovered whether Eileen/Topsy had any contact with the Deaf community in Britain – I did not see an obituary in the British Deaf News.  She died in 1998 in Penge.  If anyone knew her, please do comment below.topsy 1

“Former Slave Girl Benefits In Wills.” Times [London, England] 27 Sept. 1960: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 29 Sept. 2017

Cable, M., and French, Fr., The Story of Topsy, (1937, reprinted 1957)

http://hucandgabetbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/women-of-gobi-journeys-on-silk-road.html

“Deafness, like gutta serena, is sometimes produced by inordinate seminal discharges” Antoine Saissy 1756-1822

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 22 September 2017

Saissy FrenchBorn on the 2nd of February 1756, in Mougins, near Grasse in Provence, Jean Antoine Saissy had originally intended to become a planter, but coming across some medical books, he determined on a medical career, travelling to Paris to study (Montain, p.8ff).  He was then twenty two years old, with only a village education, combined with his own book-learning (ibid.p.9).  From 1777 to 1782 he studied under various famous professors, including Chopart and Pelletan.  He went on to serve as a physician and surgeon major with the Compagnie royale d’Afrique on the Barbary coast.  He attended to a child of the ‘Dey of Constantinople’ (possibly an error for Bey of Constantin?), who wanted him to stay.  Saissy however, returned to France, and in 1789 (the English version says 1798 which seems to be an error) defended his thesis on inoculation for small pox before the ‘Chirugical College of Lyons,’ and became a Doctor of Medicine with the University of Valence.  He married the daughter of M. Thenance, a doctor who had invented some obstetric forceps, and devoted himself to that area of medicine for a time.  In 1810 he wrote an essay on Croup, one of the first to do so.

He seems to have been a polymath, in 1811 presenting at the Institut de France a ‘memoir’ on the extraction of light by the condensation of gas.  Quite what that means I am not sure.  He also worked on a study of hibernation, with dormice and marmots (ibid p.12 -13).

It was not until the last twelve years of his life that he devoted himself to diseases of the ear.  Weir and Mudry tell us that Saissy was “the first person to propose introducing a piece of catgut into an artificial perforation of the tympanic membrane to avoid its closure.”

In his introduction to deafness, he repeats this curious form of treatment;

A Bavarian bath-keeper, mentioned by Sckinkius,* devised a singular method of curing deafness.  He plunged the patient into a warm bath, to produce turgescence in the little veins which run behind the ear.  When these were sufficiently apparent he opened them with the point of a lancet and drew a considerable quantity of blood, to the great relief of the patients on whom he practised the evacuation.  This remedy may have some success in cases of sanguineous plethora of the organ of hearing. (p.24-5)

As his 4th of 15 listed causes of deafness, Saissy says

Deafness, like gutta serena, is sometimes produced by inordinate seminal discharges.  Sylvaticus cites a remarkable instance of deafness supervening upon excessive indulgence in venereal pleasures. (p.21)

In other words, it makes you deaf as well as blind!  I suppose that he is not thinking of veneral disease, which can have those effects.

Saissy died on the 5th of March, 1822.  He seems to have been rather forgotten but is deserving of better treatment than I have space or time to give him here.

head section LaissyAbove, the only illustration in his book, a section of the head showing it is a vertical section.

As an addendum, it is interesting to note the protection of copyright notice given by the U.S.A. in the front of the English translation from Maryland.

US copyright*Schenkius, a Swiss doctor (1530-98)

Saissy, J.A., Essai sur les maladies de l’oreille interne.  Paris, (1827) [first published in a briefer essay in 1819]

Saissy, Antoine, An Essay on the Diseases of the Internal Ear.  Baltimore, (translated, 1829)

Montain, Biographic Notice, in An Essay on the Diseases of the Internal Ear, p.9-15. 

Mudry, Albert.  The tympanostomy tube: An ingenious invention of the mid 19th century.  International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology Volume 77, Issue 2, February 2013, p. 153-157

Weir, Neil, & Mudry, Albert.  Otorhinolaryngology, An Illustrated History, 2013.

 

Ethel Mary Bullock, “Miss Boo” and her private Deaf School(s)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 15 September 2017

Ethel Mary Bullock was the daughter of a linen draper, Francis Bullock and his wife Annie.  She was born in Marylebone in 1870, probably in 72 Edgeware Road, where they were living in 1871 and in 1881.  By 1881 the family had grown quite large, with ten surviving children.  Ethel became a teacher of the deaf, training to use the oral oral method under van Praagh in Fitzroy Square Training College.  She qualified in 1890 (for this & what follows, see the obituary by Ross, 1962).*  In the 1901 census, when she was 31 and living with her older sister and widowed father at the same address, she was described as a ‘deaf mute teacher.’

Ethel attended the 1903 National Association of Teachers of the Deaf conference, and at that time she was living in Brook Green, near Hammersmith, but after a quick glance at the lists of delegates at later conferences through the next two decades, I did not spot her name again.

In 1903 she opened her own school in Chiswick, where the 1907 to 1909 phone books have her name in large print as a ‘Certified Teacher of Deaf (Oral System), Defects of Speech, Stammering &c., Lip-reading.’  The school in Chiswick was at 45 Fairlawn Avenue, which was and still is an ordinary suburban house.  I suppose she moved there from Brook Green.  From Chiswick, at some point the school moved on to Hampstead, in fact what we would now call Swiss Cottage, at 141 Fellows Road.  The 1911 census has her there but she made a mess of the form, putting herself as head of the household down the list of six inhabitants, and filling in the box which was left for the enumerator.  The teaching staff are described as ‘Educational’ in the occupation column, and there was only one pupil living in who was not described as deaf.  Perhaps she was just setting up the school again or was only taking day pupils.  She was still there in the 1919 phone book, but the following year finds her in Ashdown House, Rosslyn Hill, N.W.3. **

By 1923 the school had moved again, and the phone book for that year gives her address as Kingsfield House, Oxhey, near Bushey, Herts.  Oxhey is now a suburb of Watford.  Here was see the advertisement for the school in the front of the proceedings for the International Conference on the Education of the Deaf for 1925.  KingsfieldIt was there at least until 1927, but by the 1930s the same building had become a boys school and, yes, they had moved yet again, to Park Hill, Hemel Hempsted, where the school was definitely re-established by 1929.  The school looks superficially similar to the Kingsfield site, in park-like grounds, and it looks from the photos as if they even moved the ‘wigwam’ – their outdoor teaching hut (All About the Deaf p.xiv).  Park HillMiss Bullock must have only ever had short leases on these places, for yet again the school moved, to Folkestone at a date in the 1930s which I cannot pin down, then on to “Ingleside,” Tilehurst Road, Reading, where the school was in 1939 (All About the Deaf, p.66).  I cannot imagine it survived for long after the outbreak of war, and by the time we find Ethel next, in the 1947 telephone directory, she was living at 25 The Roystons, Surbiton.

It is very interesting that the school moved so often.  In her brief appreciation of Bullock, Miss J.P. Ross says,

Far from interfering with continuity of progress, these changes of environment proved helpful to the children’s interests and development.  This was largely due to the systematic language course , originally introduced by Miss Nevile, which was followed throughout the school, and which produced most gratifying results.
Miss Bullock, who was affectionately known as “Miss Bo,” had a genius for obtaining the best efforts from both pupils and staff, who were always willing to respond to her high ideals.

Ethel Bullock died aged 92 on the 25th of March, 1962, at a nursing home in Surrey.  She was an almost exact contemporary of Blanche Nevile, who also trained at the Fitzroy Square Training College, and who also died in 1962.  The big question for me, is why did she move premises so often?  It is hard to gauge how successful she was as a teacher, for we cannot know now how many pupils she had or who they were, unlike some of the earlier private schools where pupils are named in census returns.

*At the time of the 1891 census she was a visitor in Scotland, with no job description given.

**Incidentally, her younger brother Albert, who was an architect, also has his phone number in New Bond Street on the same pages as Ethel.

Ross, J.P., Miss Bullock.  The Teacher of the Deaf 1962, vol. lx no. 357 p.279

Census 1871 – Class: RG10; Piece: 165; Folio: 63; Page: 6; GSU roll: 823301

Census 1881 – Class: RG11; Piece: 147; Folio: 17; Page: 27; GSU roll: 1341033

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 110; Folio: 72; Page: 31

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 615

International Conference on the Education of the Deaf, London and Margate, 1925.

National Bureau for Promoting the General Welfare of the Deaf, Handbook for 1913, also N.I.D. All About the Deaf handbooks for 1929, 1932 and 1939.