Two Lady Workers, Sophia Rhind & Rose Maugham

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 19 December 2014

Sophia was born in Belfast circa 1846 (she was 89 when she died in 1933), when her father Charles Rhind was teaching in that city.  They moved around a fair amount when she was young before ending up in London, with him becoming the Chaplain to the Deaf at St. Saviour’s Church after the Rev. Stainer.  She learnt teaching with the oral method from Simon Schoentheil or Schöntheil and became a teacher of the deaf, but only learnt finger-spelling properly Gilby says, when her father became the Chaplain.

Rose Maugham was born in Clerkenwell in 1849, losing her hearing we are told aged 10 due to scarlet fever.  The 1871 census, when she was living in Paradise Road, Lambeth with her father Alexander (a printer) and mother Ellen (a laundress) does not record her as deaf.  This shows that we should be cautious with census information because people often under-reported these things, did not know them, or made mistakes.  Additionally, the transcriptions I used have her surname as ‘Mangham’ – an easy error for someone unfamiliar with English names.*  In the 1891 census she was still living in Paradise Road, with her brother-in-law Edwin Penn who ran a laundry.  Interestingly a neighbour who was a dressmaker, Sarah Chandler (born in Effingham and aged 59), was also ‘deaf from childhood’.  There is much potential to use census returns and other records to fill out our understanding of the lives of ordinary people in the 19th century.

Lady workers 001Of the mission work that Miss Maugham and Miss Rhind did in the 1890s, Gilby says,

The poor women of the Mothers’ Meetings were given tea and a bun, and to see them bringing their children from even Fulham some miles away made one realise how precious to them was this hour or two of human fellowship, enjoyed fortnightly. Cricklewood and Kensal Green sent their poor and the good that Miss Rhind did at Oxford Street and Miss Maugham did at Deptford will only be known in that Great Day when the Master shall reward his faithful servants who toiled for love of His children, for whom He died.

Miss Rhind

The lady we see here, is I believe Miss Rhind, at a flag day outside St. Saviour’s Oxford Street, circa 1920.

In 1911 Rose Maugham was living in Balham*, and she lived on until 1936, dying aged 87.

*Her name is consistently spelt as ‘Mangham’ in the transcriptions of the censuses.

Miss Sophie Mary Rhind, and Miss R. Maugham.  Ephphatha, Vol. 1 1896, p.21-2

Gilby Memoirs

1891 Census RG12; Piece: 401; Folio: 19; Page: 31; GSU roll: 6095511



“One of the jolliest of men”, tinnitus, & a tragic suicide – “Salmon’s Reading Teas were then well-known and liked…”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 5 December 2014

The Salmon family ran a tea and coffee merchant business in Reading in the 19th century.  Joseph Smith Salmon was born in Reading in 1846, son of Joseph Smith senior, who had expanded into the tea trade from his grocer’s business.  Joseph junior married Emmeline Foulger Tubbs in Stockport in 1878 (see Free BMD, Marriages Mar 1878 Stockport 8a 130).  In neither the 1851 census when 5, nor the 1861 census when he was 15, was he described as deaf, however the article on him in Ephphatha from 1896 says that his hearing loss was from Scarlet Fever aged 8 (1854)*.  In the 1871 census he is described as ‘Deaf and dumb from scarlet fever’.  He was described as ‘Deaf and partially dumb’ in the 1881 census.  He had been a pupil at the Old Kent Road Asylum from February 1857 until Midsummer 1860 according to school records (information via ), which is how he would have known Dr. Elliott (see below).

The Rev. Gilby tells of a visit to Reading, where Salmon was starting a mission in the 1880s.

“Joe Salmon” was a devoted follower of Matthew R. Burns, and I received an invitation to go to a tea-party of his to interpret the speeches.  I accepted, and on Friday, 18th January, 1885, Mr. J. P. Gloyn, our North London Missionary,  and myself went down to Reading from Paddington in the morning, saw the lions of the place together, and went to 11, Abbot’s Walk, where the Salmons then lived.  Here we met Mr. Richard Elliott, of the Margate School, Mr. J. Barber, of Brondesbury (who took private oral pupils: a man of sincere religious fervour whom we all respected), Mr. A. Pine Lilly, a deaf printer from London, whom I afterwards came to know very well indeed.

Salmon 3
We were all taken to Mr. Salmon’s tea-party in carriages – to the Victoria Hall in King’s Road. Immense pains had been taken to ensure the success of the occasion : beef, ham, rabbit-pies, plum-pudding, trifle, crackers – all these things figured on the menu. There were only about forty Deaf, but there were 170 of their friends; and more came after tea.  A Rev. – Tubbs (uncle of J. Salmon) said grace, and speeches were made, with Mr. Tubbs in the the chair.  Mr. Ernest Abraham, now in Australia, turned up, and a magic-lantern show was given, which my diary describes as “childish”.**  Prizes were distributed to the Deaf grown ups for attendance, as if they were children; and Mr. G. Palmer, M.P., who came in late, said a word or two.  Mr. B.H. Payne, of Swansea, also came late, and, like myself, slept at the Lodge Hotel at Mr. Salmon’s expense. In later years I attended similar parties, and remember meeting Dr. Stainer and Dr. Buxton at one of them, as guests of the Salmons when they had moved elsewhere in Reading.

Salmon 001Joseph died on August the 12th 1896, aged only 50.

The obituary in British Deaf Mute tells of the discovery of his body and the inquest at the Roebuck Hotel;

For some time Mr. Salmon had been suffering from insomnia, following upon an attack of influenza. He left home on Wednesday, August 12th, without leaving any message as to where he was going.  As he did not return, inquiries were made by his friends, and advertisements inserted in the local papers [...].  Nothing, however, was heard of his whereabouts until Sunday evening, August 16th, when a man named Oliver Collins found the body of the deceased in the river near Tilehurst Station, Reading


It was evident that the deceased had been in the water from Wednesday til the Sunday.  The Jury returned a verdict of “Suicide by drowning during temporary insanity.”

Gilby says,

He had long suffered terribly from noises in the head and polypi, and we were not very much surprised when it happened. He had called on us at St. Saviour’s about a fortnight before, in the company of his father, and hinted at it in the course of conversation.  But as he was in the charge of his father we could only rally him cheerily and bid him dismiss such ideas from his head.   His body was found in the Thames at Pangbourne in an up-right position, and his watch indicated the hour of the occurrence of the tragedy.  He was a kind, but excitable man, and we felt great affection for him.

His son, Joseph Harold Salmon would have then been 18, and he had three daughters, Katherine, Gladys, and another daughter born in 1893, Doria Notcutt Salmon.  One child died young.Salmon Mrs

His father, Joseph senior was involved in an Old Bailey court case when he was younger, which explains the ‘Smith’ in his name – see here.  Joseph Smith Salmon senior died aged 86 in 1907, and writing some thirty years later Gilby said that “Salmon’s Reading Teas were then well-known and liked but since Joe Salmon’s death little has been heard of them.”  I wonder when the business finally folded, but suspect it was in 1907, as Joseph Harold was working for the Inland Revenue in 1911, living with his mother and youngest sister in West Norwood.

It is very poignant that Gilby called him in Ephphatha, “One of the jolliest of men”, only months before his death (p.63).

Salmon 2

*Curiously, though not unusually, for these details depended on who wrote the details down and whether someone chose to reveal information, he was not described as deaf in the 1891 census, when he was living at 46 Eastons Avenue, Reading.

**Gilby cannot resist a swipe at Abraham – see a previous post on Gilby.

UPDATED 8/12/14 to reflect the Ephphatha article for which many thanks to !

The Late Jos. Salmon, Junr, The British Deaf Mute, 1896, p.285

Free BMD

1851 Census, HO107; Piece: 1692; Folio: 392; Page: 27

1861 Census, RG 9; Piece: 746; Folio: 75; Page: 20

1871 Census, RG10; Piece: 1281; Folio: 98; Page: 2

1881 Census,  RG11; Piece: 1305; Folio: 120; Page: 25

1891 Census, RG12; Piece: 998; Folio: 97; Page: 16

1911 Census, RG14; Piece: 2125

Gilby’s unpublished memoirs

Our Portrait Gallery, No.5, Ephphatha, April 1896, p.62-3

Robert Jones O’Keeffe – “we never had occasion to reprove him for any unseemly conduct.”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 28 November 2014

Robert Jones O’Keeffe (1811-75) was an Irishman who lost his hearing aged 2 ½ we are told, when he fell into a lake (Smith, 1875, from which what follows is taken).  His portrait was painted by Thomas Davidson, and the engraving here was made from that by Arthur Wilson (see previous posts).

O’Keeffe claimed to be descended from this Arthur O’Keeffe whose memorial is in Westminster Abbey.  He told Davidson that his father was an officer, later working in the ‘stamp office’ in Dublin, while an uncle was he said killed at Waterloo.  One of his brothers ran away to sea and was never again heard of, while another, a barrister, died of ‘some affection of the throat’ (ibid).

He said his aunt was the mother of Cardinal Wiseman, which would mean she was Xaviera Strange suggesting that his mother’s maiden name was Strange.  He claimed that the Cardinal’s father had told him he was sending him to Rome when ‘to be educated for a priest’, yet Wiseman’s father died in 1805 before O’Keeffe was born (unless his aunt married again?).  However the young Robert was educated we are told, at the Protestant School in Dublin, under (so Samuel Smith thinks) Mr. Humphreys.  Later he went to work at a mail coach factory, but after 15 years in 1843 he came with his widowed mother to London, working for Cubitt’s – Willam rather than Thomas – at 37 Gray’s Inn Road, not far from our library.  It seems William had known Robert’s father and uncle (perhaps from his time as a carpenter in the navy we might speculate).

Robert worked there for 32 years, then was partly paralysed, yet was not allowed a pension despite the best efforts of Samuel Smith, as after William Cubitt died (1863) the business changed hands and the new management were obviously not particularly sympathetic.

In his obituary, Samuel Smith wrote of O’Keeffe,

On our last visit to him before his death, we asked him if he was afraid to die. He shook his head, being too weak to talk on his fingers. We urged him to “look to Jesus.” [...] he had been a communicant many years, and had seemed earnestly attentive to the religious instruction given at our services, and we never had occasion to reprove him for any unseemly conduct.

One wonders who the Rev. Samuel Smith did have to reprove!

He started attending BDDA run services as an attendant at lectures and received a small stipend as a result of that, really a an act of charity.  He married a deaf widow, Mary Ann Dobell, who was a little older than him, in 1853 (Marriages Jun 1853, Dobell Mary Newington 1d 236).  She was born in Sevenoaks and I wonder if she was a pupil at the Old Kent Road Asylum.  It should not be too difficult to find her maiden name – one possibility is either Mary Ann Gough or Mary Ann Leech one of whom married a Henry Dobell (Marriages Sep 1838, Wandsworth 4 449), but that is a guess and requires a bit more research.

O'KeeffeSamuel Smith (as ‘Ed’), Robert Jones O’Keeffe, A Magazine Intended Chiefly for the Deaf and Dumb, 1875 Vol.3, No.28, p.53-4

Free BMD


The Finger Spelling alphabet

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 21 November 2014

There is not much written about finger spelling, but in April 1889 Albert Farrar, who had been educated by Arnold at Northampton, wrote an article in Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education on the history of the manual alphabet;

The use of signs and pantomimic gestures is undoubtedly of great antiquity, so much so, that its origin is lost in the obscurity of the distant past. Language has various forms, speech being one, and signs and gestures another, and when we consider how permanent and universal is the faculty of expressing our thoughts in different ways, we may well believe that signs were resorted to as soon as men felt the need of some such expedients to supply the deficiencies of speech, or to facilitate intercourse with other tribes or nations. Some think they preceded speech. We must, however, look on language as a Divine gift, and probably the most reasonable conjecture we can form would be that most of its different forms existed from the first and helped one another till speech, greatly amplified and perfected, became the one medium of intercourse and the highest mode of expression. The “survival of the fittest,” if you like! Signs or gestures were, however, not entirely displaced [...]

Farrar was writing only a few years after the death of Charles Darwin whose views on the origin of language are discussed here and he slips in Spencer’s phrase ‘Survival of the fittest’ that is widely associated with Darwin.  We can dismiss the “Divine gift” idea, but the idea that gesture and signs preceded language is still a major theory.  Farrar points out that the history of the British two handed alphabet was not terribly well known, but reminds us the Venerable Bede wrote about such a system in De computo seu Indigitilatione et de Loquela manuali per gestum digitorum [also described as De Computo vel Loguela per Gestum Digitorum].

FarrarFarrar concludes his article,

In usage, our manual alphabet is not quite uniform over the country, but the differences are so few and slight as to be unnoticeable, except in v and z.  Both the forms of q in Digiti-Linga are used.  Dr. R. Elliott writes me, “I have every reason to believe the manual alphabet in its present form has always been used in the Asylum (Old Kent Road).  I have met with two of the first six pupils, and the only difference they made on the present usage was, to put the knuckles of the forefingers together with the fingers spread out for v.

We have illustrated older finger alphabets on the blog previously, but today we are inserting the alphabet from Digiti Lingua that is missing from our copy.


Bragg, Lois (1997). Visual-Kinetic Communication in Europe Before 1600: A Survey of Sign Lexicons and Finger Alphabets Prior to the Rise of Deaf Education. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 2:1 Winter 1997 p.1-25 [a very comprehensive survey]

BRIEN, D. Dictionary of British Sign Language/English. 1992, Faber and Faber. p. 849. Fingerspelling in British Sign language.

BRENNAN M. Making borrowings work in British Sign Language. in: BRENTARI D. Foreign vocabulary in sign languages. 2001, Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 49-85. (Library location: UTB TNX)

FARRAR, A. Our manual alphabet and its predecessors, Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education  1889, Vol. 2 p.33-41

SPENCE, R SUTTON-, WOLL B, ALLSOP L. Variation and recent change in fingerspelling in British Sign Language. Language Variation and Change, 1990, 29(3), 313-330. (Library location: C6845 REF)

SPENCE, R SUTTON-, WOLL B. The status and functional role of fingerspelling in BSL. In MARSCHARK M, CLARK M D. Psychological perspectives on deafness. 1993, Lawrence Erlbaum. pp. 185-208.

SHIPGOOD L E, PRING T R. The difficulties of learning fingerspelling: an experimental investigation with hearing adult learners. European Journal of Disorders of Communication, 1995, 30(4), 401-416.

SPENCE, R SUTTON-. Grammatical constraints on fingerspelled English verb loans in BSL. In LUCAS C. Pinky extension and eye gaze: language use in deaf communities. 1998, Gallaudet University Press. pp. 41-58.


Margate Deaf School London Offices, May 1921

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 14 November 2014

I had no idea that the Margate Deaf School at one time had London offices – in Cannon Street.  I am curious as to why they needed some London presence.  From the calendar I think  the internal photo was taken at 1.18pm on Friday 13th of May.  On that day, had you purchased a copy of the Times, you could have read about the 1921 ‘coal crisis’, and the great Brixton born England cricketer and England footballer Andy Ducat scoring 131 the previous day against Warwickshire at the Oval.

Cannon Street 2

Click onto the images for a larger size.  I cannot make out the face in the photo over the books, but in the second picture St. Paul’s Cathedral is visible through the haze.  Can anyone tell us the name of the ‘school officer’ in the second picture?

Update 18/11/2014 Obviously the offices were useful for administrative reasons, presumably as many pupils were from London rather than just being from Kent, but someone contacted us to say that it drops into place something that her mother had told her.  At the end of the school term they would travel to London from Kent, then be collected from the office.

Cannon Street

Harancour Place; or the Orphan Protected

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 7 November 2014

Harancour Place; or the Orphan Protected is based on a play by the French writer Jean-Nicolas Bouilly (1763-1842), Deaf and dumb : or, The orphan protected. : an historical drama, in five acts.  The story involves the Abbé de l’Epée who rescues the orphaned son of a French aristocrat, the Count de Sola, who has been rejected by his guardian, D’Arlemont.  Everything ends happily as in all good melodramas,  with the hero restored to his inheritance.


This book was published in 1802 as a prose version of the play, presumably cashing in on the success of the English version of the play, put on at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1801. Our copy has some of the pages misnumbered, for which no doubt some poor apprentice got a good beating, and that may explain why the binding is not hard but is parchment. Even more intriguingly, the inside of this parchment has an old legal document written on it, see below.  This was not uncommon, as the bookbinders were careful not to waste valuable material.  It seems to be a will, and you will note that no spaces are left between words so nothing can be added afterwards.  I defer to those of you who are familiar with old hand writing to try to date it or read it – perhaps 18th century?

Will 1

will 2
In 2011 Gallaudet produced a satirical play based on the Bouilly piece.  Bouilly has another link with deafness – he was the author of the libretto that formed the basis of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio.

Brunswick House Hostel, “for Deaf and Dumb Girls who have no homes and are lonely in their affliction”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 31 October 2014

In 1919 the Brunswick House Hostel for Deaf and Dumb Girls was founded at 19, Beaulieu Villas, Manor Gate, Finsbury park in North London.  It seems that a moving spirit behind the foundation was Mrs Herbert Jones, who was I believe the wife of the Rev. Vernon Jones, Chaplain to the Deaf in North London.  It aimed “to provide a safe and comfortable home for deaf and dumb girls who are alone in the world, or whose relations are unable, or unwilling, to look after them.” (Annual Report 1929, p.1)

In August 1930 they were given six weeks notice to leave Beaulieu Villas as they were required by “the Electric Railway Company, in connection with the new Tube Railway Station  that will be built at Manor Gate, Finsbury Park” (Annual Report, 1930 p.3), but they were fortunate to find a house opposite the St. John of Beverley centre in Green Lanes (see image below).  The house is still there.

Barratt 001 Here is one of the worthy patronesses, Lady Barrett, Chairman of the hostel, who was “Called Home” in 1930.  Other founding members  were Lady Maxwell Lyte, Lady Baddeley (wife of a Lord Mayor of London), Mrs. Edmondson, Mrs. Firminger, Mrs. H.R. Oxley (I am not clear if this was a relative of Selwyn Oxley), Mrs. A. J. Wilson (see earlier entries for her husband), Mrs. Wise, Mrs. Hankey and Mrs. Woods.

I do not wish to belittle the efforts of these people, but for some of them at least it was clearly one of those cases when those with wealth found charitable work that sat comfortably with their weltanschauung.

When the home closed we do not know, but I suspect that the war may have meant they were evacuated, and the improved social welfare of the post-war years saw many changes to these small charities, with closures or state institutions taking over.

Finsbury Hostel 001Annual Reports, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1938


Update 5/11/2014: Thanks to @DeafHeritageUK for pointing out that we have a couple of photos of the hostel prior to the move, including this one with Selwyn Oxley enjoying tea with the ladies, probably in the early 1920s.

girls hostel Finsbury Park

A 1933 Letter from the League of Nations: Ludwik Rajchman, Medical Director

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 17 October 2014

In a half-filled folio sized scrap book of Selwyn Oxley’s, various letters and odd documents were gathered by him or his wife Kate, from when he first became involved as a ‘missioner to the deaf’ in 1914, through to the 1930s.  Together with a small number of short letters from Dr. Eicholz (who we hope to cover in a future item), there is this letter which appears below.  The League of Nations was conducting an enquiry into Deafness, and Selwyn Oxley obviously wrote to say that he was willing to be of assistance, presumably with information and contacts.  The content of the letter is not particularly interesting, but the author is.

Ludwik Rajchman letter
Ludwik Rajchman (1881-1965) was from another of those remarkable families who produced a number of brilliant people, doctors, engineers and mathematicians.  He was born in Poland, son of the musician Aleksander Rajchman, and became a bacteriologist.  When aged only fourteen he was in trouble for distributing ‘subversive’ literature – educational brochures in Polish, which was suppressed by the Russian rulers (Duchene, 1999).  When he was caught at a banned socialist meeting in 1906, Rajchman was exiled.  After working in Paris at the Institut Pasteur, he became head of the Royal Institute of Public Health in London in 1911, though at the time he spoke no English.  The 1911 census shows him as Ludwig Witold Rajchman*, and he signs his name as such, born in Russian Poland, having been married to Mary Clotilde for six years, with two daughters, Irene Mary born in France in 1909, and Marte Alexandra, eleven months old, born in Austrian Poland.  His computer scientist son Jan Rajchman was born in London later in 1911, so the children came in quick succession.  In 1918 he returned to newly liberated Poland and helped set up the National Institute for Public Health, being so successful that he was asked to become head of the new League of Nations Medical Directorate in 1921 (Duchene, 1999).

The health section persuaded national administrators to co-ordinate statistics, standards, training, research, nutrition and infant care, all of them new fields, especially for international involvement. It made a much bigger impact than any other operational arm of the League and so was dogged by opposition of all kinds, from hostile nations, jealous institutes and conservative officials. (ibid)

After the Second  World War he was for political reasons rejected as a potential head for the WHO, but he went on to help found UNICEF.

Rajchman deserves to be better remembered as one of the great public health workers of the 20th century.

Duchene, Francois, Plotter for progress. Ludwik Rajchman, Medical Statesman by Balitiska, Marta A. (author) -
The Times Literary Supplement (London, England), Friday, February 19, 1999; pg. 28; Issue 5002.  Category: Book Review [accessed 17/10/14]

*Living at 16 Hargreave Villas, Hartswood Road, Stamford Brook Road, London W., with an Austrian Polish servant Tekla Lacheta, Class: RG14; Piece: 200

There is a biography by a grand daughter of his –

Balinska, Marta Aleksandra, For the Good of Humanity: Ludwik Rajchman, Medical Statesman, New York : Central European University Press, 1998
[Held in UCL this in the SSEES Library P.XVIII.3 RAJ BAL]

This book looks potentially interesting –

Borowy, Iris, Coming to Terms with World Health: The League of NationsHealth Organisation, Peter Lang GmbH,  2009



“There are two classes of deaf people” – Charles John Macalister

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 10 October 2014

Charles John Macalister (1860-1943) was the third  son of William Boyd Macalister of Bootle, who was a ship owner.  Charles went into medicine, but chose to study in Edinburgh, before returning to Liverpool.

We are told that he “formed a lifelong attachment to the Royal Southern Hospital, and from 1892 to 1900 was also physician to the Stanley Hospital. He interested himself particularly in children’s diseases and promoted the foundation of the Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital.” (Lives of the fellows)

He was one of the earliest to recognise the value of ultraviolet therapy.  He also worked for long at the stimulation of healing of wounds and (with Benjamin Moore) at the possibility of anti-neoplastic factors in the embryo and young infant.  He may not have had spectacular success in either of these difficult fields, but undoubtedly his questing mind was a stimulus to his fellow workers. (Lancet Obituary)

He became involved in the Liverpool Institution and the Liverpool Benevolent Society, perhaps originally in his role of (honorary) consulting physician to the school.  He must have been on familiar terms with the great Deaf Liverpudlian, George Healey (1843-1927) Missioner to the Deaf, at the Liverpool Adult Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society.

What is interesting for us is that from his close association with deaf children in Liverpool, he formulated clear ideas about how they should be best educated.

I have scanned and attached the short article, Deaf Mutes and Their Education, that Macalister published in the Liverpool Medico-Chirurgical Journal in January 1891.  In this article Macalister begins,

In October 1889 I brought before the Medical Institution some points bearing upon the education of deaf mutes, my object then being to show that, for the masses of the deaf, the pure oral system (as recommended by the Royal Commission on the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, the report of which had just been issued) is not so satisfactory as is the combined method. [p.60]

[...the author reviews the history of deafness and then discusses three main methods of deaf education, signs, oralism and combined...]

In considering the question as to which of these three systems is most suitable as a general means of education for the deaf, we have to take into account that there are two classes of deaf people to deal with, viz., those who are totally deaf and have been so since birth, and those who were once able to hear and speak, or who remain still susceptible to loud sounds.  And, again, we must distinguish very importantly between the rich and the poor, for the means taken to educate the one must be recognised as being sometimes unsuited to the other.  It is not my wish to define which method should be adopted in the case of those that are well-to-do – they can get the advantage of private tuition, and the amount of time spent over their education is not of importance; and I have no doubt that for them, as well as for those who can hear a little, or who were once able to speak, the pure oral system is worthy of adoption, and has met with much success.  [p.70-1]

His view contrasts with that of Patterson in Manchester, who became a late convert to the Oral method of education (see previous blog entry).

Below is the Liverpool School as it appeared a generation before, in 1853.

Liverpool school 001
Obituary, Lancet, 1943 Volume: 242 Issue: 6271 Page: 589- 90

Charles John Macalister [Who Was Who, accessed 10/10/2014]

Lives of the Fellows [accessed 10/10/2014]


‘He was a “father” of the profession’ – Andrew Patterson (1803-83) of Manchester, Teacher of the Deaf

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 3 October 2014

Andrew Patterson was highly regarded in his day as a teacher who had learnt his trade as an assistant to Bingham.  Born in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1803, he started work in the printing-office of The Berwick Advertiser (Buxton 1885).  On finishing his apprenticeship he moved to London, where for a time he worked alongside Douglas Jerrold, then himself an apprentice.  He left London for Devon, becoming a school-master, there making the acquaintance of Henry Brothers Bingham, who had himself trained with Thomas Braidwood at Edgbaston before becoming the first headmaster of the Exeter Institute (1826-34).  They were were close in age and must have got on as Bingham invited Patterson to join him when he started work at the Manchester.  The Institute, founded in 1825, was “situated in an obscure street on the banks of the Irwell” (Deaf and Dumb Herald) – Stanley Street.  Then the Institute was moved to a more suitable location in Salford and opened officially in June 1837.

For a short period from 1839-41, Patterson ran the school at Newcastle but returned to Manchester as head when Bingham departed, encouraged to found a private school by wealthy parents who did not like to send their offspring to a charitable institution (Bingham, p.14).

Patterson also introduced Sunday services for deaf adults, under the auspices of The Manchester Adult deaf and dumb Society. He remained at the new Salford home of the Institution for most of the remainder of his life, retiring after he had seen through the introduction of oral education in the school.

In his obituary, Buxton calls him an original teacher and a leader,

He had none of the ambitions of a leader, and none of his self-assertiveness; a more modest man never existed. He did the work which came before him because it was the duty of the day. If it became a precedent and formed an example, that had never been in his mind, and furnished no part of his motive. Its modesty enhanced its value, and this excellence it had in common with the work of others – the “fathers” of our profession, indicated in the words with which this article begins.

In a paper read at the Social Science Congress held at Nottingham in September, 1882, and which was published in the Annals for January, 1883, I joined, in the same sentence, speaking of “the oldest teachers of the deaf in England, France, and Italy,” the names of three men who shortly afterwards, within the space of a few months, disappeared from among the ranks of the living.  They had all been sign teachers; all became strong advocates of the Oral System; all, by example and teaching, most strongly influenced the new developments in their respective countries; each was the patriarch amongst the teachers in his own land, and all were at nearly the same time called to their account. [...] Tommaso Pendola, Léon Vaïsse, Andrew Patterson. ((p.20-21). 

Patterson was also a pioneer in the education of the deaf and blind, after being inspired by the account of Charles Dickens writing about the education of Laura Bridgman.  He found a blind child called Mary Bradley in a workhouse, “being teased by the other children with whom she was, screaming and trying to catch some of the offenders” (Deaf & Dumb Herald, p.50).

Mr. Patterson then applied himself to the task of teaching her the names of objects, and after daily efforts during some weeks, and making various experiments to establish a means of communication without any apparent success, he was almost about to give up the matter in despair, when suddenly her countenance brightened up- the connection between the name of the object flashed upon her mind, and from that time she made considerable progress, and at last was able to converse with others; she also wrote letters to him and his family when they were away during the midsummer vacation.

It is interesting to read how Patterson says (at the Milan Congress, quoted by Buxton p.27) he became an Oral advocate only after visiting Mr. Schöntheil’s school after the previous conference – so it seems his was a Damascene conversion.
PattersonBuxton, David, Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education, 1886, 1, 20-30 (reprinted from American Annals of the Deaf, 1885)

Bingham, Fanshawe, A Memoir of Henry Brothers Bingham (ca. 1929)

Deaf & Dumb Herald, 1876 vol 1 no. 4, 49-51 – photograph