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Heraldic Artist, Robert Ockleston (1845-1937)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 23 June 2017

Robert Ockleston (1846-1938) was born in Tabley Brook, Cheshire, in 1846.  His family could, we are told in his obituary (from which much of what follows is taken),  be traced back to the reign of John.  He had an uncle of the same name who was a successful doctor in Cheadle, giving out little white pills, which he even took himself when he had a nasty fall from his horse.  Robert was one of fourteen children, which seems a large family even for that age.  He lost his hearing after an attack of ‘brain fever’ when he was four years old, circa 1850.  He was admitted to the Manchester School for the Deaf and Dumb at Old Trafford, on August the 1st, 1853, as a paying pupil.  He left aged 16, in 1862 – as we see here below, he was one of the oldest pupils by that time.Manchester pupils 1862

He moved to London and became an apprentice heraldic artist in London, eventually setting up at Hatton Gardens with a Mr. Rogers.  Rogers predeceased him, and he carried on the business until he retired at 65, and he .

He was Regular at St. Saviour’s church.  He had previously attended the services that were held by the Rev. Samuel Smith at the Regent Street Polytechnic.  At St. Saviour’s he met Sarah Ann Brentnall (1847-1922), a Deaf teacher of the deaf at a Stainer L.C.C. school, according to the Ephphtha article.  Sarah was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, and as the 1881 census says she was ‘deaf only’ as opposed to Robert being ‘deaf and dumb,’ we might suppose that she lost her hearing after she had acquired spoken language.  The 1871 census does not mention deafness after her name, but the 1881 does.  We need not though assume that her deafness cam in adulthood, though of course that is possible.

They were married by Sam Smith at St. Matthew’s, Oakley Square, on the 29th of July, 1776.  In 1882 they moved to Hornsey, then in 1905 went to Stroud Green.  It would be interesting to find out more about her.  Unfortunately the obituarist did not even mention her maiden name, and she died long before he did, in 1922.

Robert worked closely with the church, becoming a ‘lay reader’ in 1911 after he had retired.  He became a churchwarden at the church of St. John of Beverley in North London, until 1937, at the advanced age of 91.  He died  in December 1937 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.

I am sure I have seen a picture of him somewhere in a newspaper or magazine, and will come back and insert it if I can find it.  If you are aware of any of his work surviving somewhere, please comment.

The Passing of Mr. Robert Ockleston, Ephphatha, No.116, p. 199, Jan-Mar 1938

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 7210; Schedule Number: 230

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 275; Folio: 67; Page: 11; GSU roll: 1341059

 

NOMA: ‘Invented by a deaf man … please use it and tell your friends to do same’

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 16 June 2017

We recently found a poster for Noma, a substance for polishing aluminium. On it Selwyn Oxley had written ‘Invented by a deaf man, W Maddison please use it and tell your friends to do same’. This sent us off on a quest to find out more about this mysterious substance.

NOMA1

To our surprise there is no W Maddison. Instead Noma was invented – and patented by – Noel G. Maddison, who regular readers will recall we wrote about last November. It seems most likely that Noma was derived from Maddison’s own name – NOel MAddison.  Using Espacenet, the worldwide patent search, we were able to get a copy of Maddison’s patent, titled ‘Improvements in or relating to the Manufacture of Powder for Cleansing, Polishing and like purposes’, which revealed the composition of the substance – silica 84%, curd soap 3.25%, Castile soap 3.25%, French chalk 7% and borax 2.5%. Curd soap is, sadly, just plain soap, while Castile soap is soap made with olive oil and soda.

You may notice that ‘Aluminium Archie’ appears to be female.

Further investigation showed that for some years Maddison and his aunt, Marion Chappell, were business partners operating out of Hartley Wintney in Hampshire. Chappell had lived there since at least 1911, when the census records her occupation as ‘private means’, but we don’t at present know exactly where the Noma was made. The partnership came to an end in 1931. The London Gazette reported simply –

noma2

Our assumption is that Chappell, at this point aged about 80, and a grand daughter of the music publisher Samuel Chappell, provided Maddison with capital to start the company; she died, aged 91, in 1942. Madisson lived until 1955, when he died at the age of 66.

We would be interested in finding out more about Noma – please let us know if you have any information.

“That he was a strong advocate of the oral method goes without saying” – Thomas Arnold 1816-97

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 June 2017

Arnold picThomas Arnold,  (1816-1897) was a  Teacher of the deaf and Nonconformist minister.  He was a pioneer in Britain of the oral education of deaf pupils.  His family originated in Cheshire but were granted land in West Cavan, Ireland, for supporting King William III.  Arnold’s Great Grandmother became a Moravian Protestant, joining one of their settlements.  His mother was also part of a Moravian community at Gracehill, Ballymena.  You can read details of his family in Arnold’s Reminiscences.  I do not propose to give a detailed account of Arnold’s career here.  There is plenty of amaterial about and by Arnold, and it deserves fuller attention than I can give it here.

He was a studious boy and was taken into the class of the local rector, Rev. George Kirkpatrick, who was prepared to pay for his university education.  Arnold’s father however wanted him to stay working with him as a carpenter and cabinet maker, which he did, until his brother took over that role.  Thomas became master of the Moravian school at Gracehill.  In his memoir he tells how Kirkpatrick was a subscriber to the Claremont Institution, and had sent boys to that school.  A boy who was leaving , James Beatty, who had been manually taught (that is with sign language), was taken on as an apprentice by Thomas’s brother, and Thomas says his interest in deaf education was then roused (Reminiscences, p.22).

I speedily learned the finger alphabet and his mimic gestures.  He resorted to few arbitrary or artificial signs in conversation, and his vocabulary was very limited, so that he often found himself at a loss to express his thoughts.

I wonder whether James Beatty had come to learning sign language when he was older, so was perhaps less adept at it?  It seems to me that this first contact’ with a Deaf person may have shaped Arnold’s attitude to deaf education – it would make an interesting article to examine Arnold’s educational writing and to follow his intellectual journey.

Arnold eventually moved to Manchester joining the Manchester City Mission that worked among the factory workers, but he felt that he was better fitted to other work and he obtained a position as an assistant teacher inder Charles Baker at Doncaster (ibid p.30).  Unfortunately for Arnold, his turning towards nonconformism meant that he was then turned down for several positions as headmaster.  He left Doncaster, trained at a Congregational college in Rotherham, and around that time married a Quaker lady, Miss Simpson, in Chorlton in 1848 (Farrar, 1897, p.299).   They moved to New South Wales for fifteen months, but he returned due to a “spinal affection, developed by a too stimulating climate” (ibid).  Arriving in England via the Holy Land, they settled at Doddridge Chapel, Northamptonshire.  It was there that he began teaching with an oral method, his most famous pupil being Abraham Farrar.

Below is a letter of his, stuck into the front of the Reminiscences with stamp gutters, in the copy owned by Richard Elliott of the Margate School, to whom it is dedicated.  It reads,

The Remeniscences [sic] can be added to the History but I had a number of copies for private circulation printed separately.
27 Park Rd Northampton
Sep 20th 1895

Dear Friend and brother in the service of God, let me add a more personal and less formal word or two in addition to what is intended for the whole c[ure? or cause?].
Looknig [sic] closely through the whole of this affair I see with great pleasure that you have been the chief actor from first to last and it confirms my admiration my affection for you as a devout servant of God in our special work.  Now we can travel on in peace till the end of the day and the rest of heaven are in prospect.  I am already
p.2
at work on some problems which I know will shed fresh light on the physiology of speech.  So I hope to conclude my service with words that will not do till they have reached the last of the deaf.  For this otium cum dignitate I am deeply indebted to you.
May God bless you Mr. Elliott and every member of your family!
Please send the proofs of what I said at the conference, I want to put my meaning clearly.  I should also like to have a proof of my paper, if printed to go through carefully.
Yours affectionately
T. Arnold

In his obituary, Farrar says of Arnold,

That he was a strong advocate of the oral method goes without saying, but he did not go so far as some, for he recognised that the natural signs used by the deaf cannot be wholly dispensed with at the initial stage.  The manual method he did not condemn as such, but held it to be inferior to the oral in educational efficiency.  On the other hand, the combined method had no more uncompromising opponent.  That many of the views embodied in his works should not command universal assent is only to be expected, but it is unquestionable that both by his example and writings and his freedom from sordid motives, Mr. arnold has done much to raise the standard of teaching, and in consequence to elevate the deaf as a class. (Farrar, 1897, p.303)

He died on the 21st of January, 1897.
Arnold letter 1Arnold letter 2Brief biography. British Deaf-Mute and Deaf Chronicle, 1895, 4, 107. (photo)

Obituary. American Annals of the Deaf, 1897, 42, 124-25; 42(2), frontispiece. (photo)

Obituary. British Deaf Monthly, 1897, 6, 84-87. (photo)

FARRAR, A.  Obituary. Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education, 1897, 4, 294-304, 342-46.

FARRAR, A. Thomas Arnold: a biographical sketch. Teacher of the Deaf, 1939, 195-200. (portrait)

Biography. Teacher of the Deaf, 1941, 39, 79-80.

DEACON, M. The church on Castle Hill: the history of the Castle Hill United Reformed Church, Northampton. Park Lane Publishing, 1995. pp. 40-44. (photo)

STEWART, I. The centenary of the death of Thomas Arnold. Deaf History Journal, 1997, 1(1), 30-35.

INCE JONES, F., Thomas Arnold, The Teacher of the Deaf 1941 p.79-80

“he used to interpret in court cases” – Edward Bates James (1863-1936)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 2 June 2017

Edward Bates James was born in the Commercial Road, East London, on March the 5th, 1863.  His mother, Isabella Dorothea Bartlet, born in 1839, was a pupil at the Old Kent Rd School –  you can see her named there in the 1851 census as Bartlett. His father Edward Francis James (b.1826) was in business, having once been a servant, but although not mentioned by Gilby in his memoir, the 1881 census says he was sexton at St. Saviour’s Church when he and Edward were living at 272 Oxford Street.  His parents had married in 1862.  His mother was an upholstress in 1861, when she was living with her widowed mother at 150 Tottenham Court Rd – approximately where the Cafe Nero is opposite Sainsbury’s.

He did mission work in his spare time, from the age of 13 helping the Rev. Samuel Smith.  His obituary says that,

Owing to the fact that his mother was deaf and dumb, he used to accompany her to all meetings at the old Polytechnic in Regent Street, the last Mission Centre in London before St. Saviuor’s was built.  There he used to meet those, early in London history of deaf work, who were active in the religious and social welfare of the Deaf, especially Samuuel North and the Rev. Samuel Smith, and the latter was a frequent visitor at his parent’s’ home.  When quite young he used to interpret in court cases, and assist in the missions (Ephphatha, 1936, p.1849).

Later on he became a teacher of the deaf, training with William Neill at the Northern Counties School for the Deaf in Newcastle.  The Ephphatha article tells us he regarded Neill with a mixture of “awe and admiration,” and he would never forget the “good caning of half a dozen big fellows late at night for some wrongdoing,” administered by Mr Neill (p.297).  The article does not tell us when he left, but at some point he returned to London on the death of his mother.  He worked, we are told, “in the City in the day, spent a good deal of his time in deaf work, and saw St. Peter’s School, Islington, first opened for them” (ibid).  I have never heard of that school – was it a proper school or only a Sunday school?  He also carried on services at Morley Hall in the absence of Jane Groom.  His ‘City’ work would have been as an accountant or accountant’s clerk, according to census returns.

Marrying in 1889, his wife Ellen bore two children but died after only three years of marriage, on their wedding anniversary, which meant he had to withdraw from some of his mission work to look after his sons.  One of his sons was Walter Melville James – perhaps named after Alexander Melville?  His other son was Alfred.  His wife, Ellen James, who was ten years older than him, was like his father was born in Kettering, which suggests she was perhaps a cousin – I have not had time to conform this.

After meeting old friends at the 1905 Bazaar that Gilby organized at the Grand Central Hotel*, his desire to work with the Deaf community was re-kindled, and he joined the R.A.D.D. on the 1st of February, 1906, becoming ‘Parochial Reader’ of St. Mark’s, North Audley Street, near where he had been a pupil at a school (ibid p.298).  He helped fill in when R.A.D.D. missioner John P. Gloyn‘s health was failing –

in the matter of success in finding work for the deaf he has probably had no equal; and the friendliness and suffering, perhaps in many cases not well skilled, have had great cause to bless him for opportunities afforded them of getting their living. His heart has always disposed him to help again and again those who truly do not deserve it – and who, under his superintendence, have become self-supporting and something like industrious people. His has truly been a work of rescuing the perishing, and though often disheartened by the downright wickedness and perversity of some of his cases, he has never turned back or entirely despaired. On leaving North London recently to become the right-hand man of the Chaplain at St. Saviour’s, he was presented with a gold chain and illuminated address containing signatures by old friends who valued his earnest and helpful ministrations and admired his faithful devotion to duty.

He seems to have taken on a lot of Gilby’s work when he was ill during the Great War.  He died on Sunday, the 9th of February, 1936.  Gilby only mentions him in passing, saying of him, ‘more anon,’ but only then mentions seeing him before going to South Africa in 1934.  They may well have been acquainted since childhood.  He was buried in Brookwood cemetery, Woking.

EB James

*The obituary says 1905, but Gilby’s memoir says 1904.  there were however several bazaars around that time.

Edward Bates James, Ephphatha, 1914, No.22 p.297-8

Edward Bates James, the Great Missionary and Friend of the Deaf, Ephphatha, 1936, April June, No. 109 p.1849-50

The Late Mr. Edward Bates James, British Deaf Times, 1936, Vol.33 p.34

Census 1861 – Class: RG 9; Piece: 102; Folio: 131; Page: 24; GSU roll: 542574

Census 1881 – Class: RG11; Piece: 92; Folio: 57; Page: 31; GSU roll: 1341021

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 1257; Folio: 30; Page: 6

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 7385; Schedule Number: 245

“Done out of French.” An Essay upon the Action of an Orator; as to his Pronunciation & Gesture, Michel le Faucheur.

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 19 May 2017

Le FaucheurIn his epic collecting frenzy, our great benefactor, Selwyn Oxley, collected an eclectic mixture of books old and (then) new.  They could be on any aspect of deafness or hearing loss, but included what we might consider related topics such as voice and gesture.  That is why we have a copy of An Essay upon the Action of an Orator; as to his Pronunciation and Gesture.  Useful both for Divines and Lawyers, and necessary for all young Gentlemen, that study how to speak well in Publick. Done out of French.  There is neither a date, nor is the author named, but it seems he was a Swiss Frenchman, Michel Le Faucheur, and that the English edition was produced in approximately 1680-1702, depending on who you believe.  It seems to have been very influential in Britain according to Gaillet (1994), and in addition to the Essay which was written towards the end of his life, he produced what Farnum (1964) called a ‘mighty tome on the Eucharist’ and what were then, famous sermons. LF

Born in Geneva around 1585, Le Faucheur was of French extraction, his Huguenot family having it seems fled from La Rochelle.  One of his teachers was Theodore Beza.  Aged eighteen he became a pastor in Dijon, later in Montpellier.  From 1626 until his death, he was pastor at Charenton.  In 1632* Cardinal Richelieu wanted to get him on his side and tried a bribe, but when Le Faucheur refused he was denied permission to preach.  In her Phd thesis, Emily Farnum says Richelieu “is Le Faucheur’s fatal antagonist” (p. 262).

Le Faucheur died in 1657, having never married.  He seems to be a very interesting person, worthy of reconsideration, especially for those interested in the French Wars of Religion.

Below is a page from the book that deals with gesture. Le Faucheur 2

Gaillet, Lynée Lewis, Michel Le Faucheur (1585- 1657), p.70-74 in, Eighteenth-century British and American Rhetorics and Rhetoricians: Critical Studies and Sources. ed. Michael G. Moran, 1994. 

MICHEL LE FAUCHEUR AND HIS INFLUENCE (IN THREE VOLUMES) FARNUM, EMILY. The University of Wisconsin – Madison, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1964. 6413872

Second Edition of ‘An Essay…’

Onsberg, Merete, [Review of] Paul Goring’s The Rhetoric of Sensibility in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Rhetorical Review 4:2 (June 2006)

http://dvarim.fr/LeFaucheur/Le%20Faucheur_bio.html

*See a discussion in Farnum of this episode.

“His experiences have been many and strange” – James Reyner of Leeds

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 12 May 2017

James Reyner was born in 1872 in Leeds.  Aged seven he lost his hearing after a bout of Scarlet Fever.  According to the article on him in the BDM for 1900, he was educated in Leeds School for the Deaf, “under Mr. E.A. Kirk’s skilful tuition”.   Sadly after only two years there his father died and he had to leave to start work.  Eventually he got a job as a ‘coat presser’ in a clothing store, but lost his job due to a strike.  Fortunately that was around the time the BDM started, and he was offered work by the editor, Mr. Hepworth, as  a canvasser for the journal.  As a consequence he travelled widely around the U.K., estimating that he had travelled 40,000 miles in Britain and Ireland by rail, and 2,000 by sea.  We are told, that “His experiences have been many and strange.”

He married a deaf lady, from Bolton, Maria Hughes in 1898.  Maria’s father was William Hughes, a railway porter, born in Antrim, while her mother Nancy was from Bolton.  She was certainly deaf aged five.

Sadly, I found the bare record in The Deaf Quarterly News  for July 1905 ( p.4), “J. Reyner of Leeds is dead.  He died of consumption.  His wife is a Bolton woman.  She and her child will now return to live with her father.”  He had died on the 16th of May.  Despite a good search I did not spot a notice in the British Deaf  Times, even though it was edited by Hepworth.

Unfortunately we have got neither Leeds or Bolton area magazines for the crucial period.  I am not sure when Maria died, though @DeafHeritiageUK tells me that Maria’s parents and brother Edward living in Belfast in 1911.*  Perhaps she moved there with them, or go re-married?  I could not find Maria in any later records.  Their daughter, Florence Stewart Reyner, was born in Leeds on the 30th of June, 1903.  Her baptismal record says, “(Deaf and dumb parents) (An interpreter present).”

Please contribute in the space below if you have anything to add about this family.

Reyner

Round the United Kingdom for the BDM.  British Deaf Monthly, December 1900, Vol. 10, p. 28

The Deaf Quarterly News, July 1905,  p.4

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 4251; Folio: 10; Page: 11.

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910, log in required

UPDATED 15/5/2017* Thanks as usual to Norma McGilp of @DeafHeritageUK

“I took to going off for long tramps by myself over the fields and the beech-clad hills” – Frieda Le Pla, deaf-blind author

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 5 May 2017

le plaFrieda Le Pla, (or more correctly Winifred Jessie Le Pla) was born on November the 14th, 1892 in London (see Cripps, 1987, for most of what follows).  Her Dublin born father, Matthew, was of Huguenot descent.  He was a congregationalist minister.  Her mother, who was his second wife, was born in Exeter of Scottish descent.  When she was nearly nine the family moved from Amhurst Rd, Dalston, to Eynsford in Kent, and not long after they went to live in Ealing.  In spring 1904 the family moved to Theale in Berkshire.  There was, Cripps tells us, no suitable local school, so Winifred – Frieda – and her sisters Lillie and Rose were taught by her father in the mornings then were free to wander the local countryside for the remainder of the day.  Her father was it seems rather forward thinking in his theology, and his support for controversial preachers meant that he lost his position, so the family moved again to Beckenham near Gainsborough for six months, then after only six months, they moved on to Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

In her book about her experiences, Glimpses into a hidden world,  which is not fully autobiographical but also discusses deaf-blindness more generally and also has contributions by others, Frieda said,

My first period of blindness came when I was about four years old, due to inflammation of the eyes; but it lasted only a few months, and I have no recollection of it myself.  Neither did its effects – a greatly reduced amount of sight in the left eye, and short-sightedness in the right – obtrude themselves on my notice during my childhood, which in the main was a happy one […].  It was not until I was almost twenty-one that inflammation attacked the eyes for the second time, and that the first signs of deafness appeared.
By this time I already had several pupils both for school subjects and music – I had started teaching music when I was sixteen: I was also a teacher in the Sunday-school, and was in the choir of the Beaconsfield Congregational Church, of which my father was Minister, and my mother the organist.  I had also started to learn the organ, with my mother as teacher: and I was in the thick of enthusiastic activities for such movements as the Women’s Suffrage, the campaign against vivisection and other forms of cruelty to animals, and so on.  This was in the autumn of 1913. (Glimpses into a hidden world, p.3)

By 1916 Frieda had to give up teaching, and by 1922 her blindness became ‘total’, although she was able to

see good print and also, of course, go about alone; so I took to going off for long tramps by myself over the fields and the beech-clad hills, with a note-book and a pencil in my pocket in order to jot down ideas for stories, and any notes about the wild folk and plants observed during these expeditions.  The fluctuating character of my hearing made me nervous about meeting humans  lest I should not be able to hear what they said if they spoke to me – another reason for preferring the more unfrequented woods and fields rather than the regions inhabited by humans.

Frieda set about learning Braille, and so was able to work as a writer.  Her big problem was correcting manuscripts, and she tells us that even having had manuscripts checked, some errors still crept in.

After her mother died in 1933, she was fortunate that a friend of hers, Dorothy Wells, a young teacher, became her companion in 1934.  Dorothy had entered an Anglican convent but was not happy there, and seems to have welcomed the chance to help Frieda.  She was to be her support and friend for the next forty-five years (Cripps, p.6).

La PlaFrieda died in March, 1978, after a short illness.  Dorothy survived her, dying on the 15th of June, 1980.  If you read through old copies on the British Deaf Times you will come across a number of her articles, particularly in the 1940s.

Cripps, Vera E., Frieda and Dorothy, a Story of Courage and Devotion (1987)

Abrahams, Pat, Light out of Darkness, Hearing 1971, 26 137-9

Deaf-blind authoress. British Deaf Times, 1932, Nov-Dec, p.127

Le Pla, Frieda, Glimpses into a hidden world, 1949.

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 216; Folio: 53; Page: 33

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 7811; Schedule Number: 152

“The patient bore the operation with great fortitude” – Lochland Shiel’s facial exostosis

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 28 April 2017

In Guy’s Hospital Reports for September 1836, there is an article, “Cases of exostosis of the bones of the face, disease of the cranium, and fractures of the frontal and parietal bones requiring operation, by Mr. Morgan.”   Mr. John Morgan was a pupil of Sir Astley Cooper.  Plarr’s lives of the Fellows, tells us that Morgan “showed an intense interest in natural history, and began to stuff birds and small animals almost as soon as he could use a knife and his fingers.”   We also discover there, that he dissected an elephant named ‘Chum,’ took an awful lot of snuff, and was one of the founders of the Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park, now London Zoo.

The case we are looking at, Case 1. Exostosis of the Bones of the of the Face, (the notes taken by Mr. Collin), covers an unfortunate Irish labourer, Lochland Shiel, admitted on the 1st of August, 1835 (Guy’s Hospital Reports, p.403-6).  At the time he was 24 years of age.  Shiel told the doctors that until he was fifteen he had good health, when he noted a small tumor in his right nostril.  He was told by ‘a medical man’ that it was ‘of no consequence.’  However, as we can see in the plate, after nine years it had grown greatly, distorting his face,

the right nostril being enormously expanded and closed by the enlargement of the tumor, which, from its size, completely concealed the eye on that side, and extended downwards into the mouth, being there connected with the palatine and alveolar processes of the right superior maxillary bone; projecting also forwards, so as to press the lip beyond the teeth, to the extent of two inches.  The bones apparently implicated in the disease were the ossa nasi, superior maxillary bone, vomer, and the inferior turbinated and malar bones.
[…]
The poor fellow, when admitted, complained of no pain; and I could not find that his sufferings had given him much inconvenience, during the whole of his disease.The general health appeared good; but he was greatly emaciated, more, I believe, from want of proper food, than from the constitutional effects of his disorder.

Deciding that the tumor was common exostosis, an opinion in which Morgan was supported by Sir Astley Cooper and Dr. Hodgkin, he “removed the morbid excrescence” on the 6th of November.He first made an incision over the right nostril, to ascertain that it was indeed exostosis.

A semilunar incision was then made, extending over the nostril, from the internal angle of the right eye to the centre of the the upper lip.  A similar incision was made on the outer side, commencing at the angle of the eye, and joining with the other, at the lip.  The integuments were then dissected from around the tumor, , and a metacarpal saw was used for its removal; and as it was of a spongy texture, it offered little resistance to the instrument.  No great quantity of blood was lost during the operation , the exostosis not being very vascular; and it was only found necessary to secure one  vessel, a superficial branch of the transverse facial.  all further disposition to haemorrhage was easily restrained by pressure.

After the tumor had been thus removed, the integuments were brought together by an uninterrupted suture; a dossil of lint was placed over the wound, and confined by adhesive plaster; and over all, a light bread-and-water poultice was applied.

The patient bore the operation with great fortitude; and said afterwards, that he suffered but little pain, excepting when the first incision was made.
[…]
Up to the the present time, the patient has been going on well; all discharge from the face has almost entirely ceased: hardly any exfoliation  of bone has taken place; his general health is restored.  The present appearance of his face is correctly represented in the accompanying plate.  (Guy’s Hospital Reports, 1836)

Shiel

Unfortunately I cannot locate any record of Lochland Shiel on family history records or census returns.  It could be that he was missed, it could be he spent time in Ireland, or it could be that his name has been wrongly transcribed. If you have any ideas about where in Ireland he was from, or any family, do contribute in the comments.  In the spring of 1842 Shiel died in Birmingham.

We have been unable to learn the particulars of the termination of the case. It may, however, be observed, that his death did not take place til nearly seven years after the operation; so it may fairly be said to have been prolonged by it for nearly that period. (Guy’s Hospital Reports, 1842)

I have been unable to find a death record for anyone of his name. Someone must have dissected his remains to make a cast of the tumor – and presumably, his skull. Below is the cast that shows the tumor.  As you can see, it had grown enormously in the following years.  The dotted line points to the tiny space through which Shiel ingested food.

Skull ShielGuy’s Hospital Reports, No 2, September 1836 p. 403-6

Guy’s Hospital Reports, No 15, October 1842 p. 491

 

 

“The difficulty with which she then spoke on her fingers … added to her power of expression” Jessie E. Beatrice Ruddock

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 7 April 2017

It is not always easy to find women with a connection to Deaf history until the late 19th and early 20th century.  Before that, it seems to me, men predominated in both deaf education and in Deaf society and institutions.  Jessie Eva Beatrice Ruddock was one of the young women who changed that in the early decades of the 20th century.

Born in St. Margaret’s on Thames (Isleworth) on the 19th of June, 1889, Jessie was the daughter of a civil servant, Montague Grevile Ruddock (already retired in 1891 aged only 52), and his wife Amy.  Jessie was educated at a private school, South Croydon College, and then when her family moved into London, she attended a school in Kensington (Fry, 1913, from which most of the following comes).  She then had an attack of influenza aged thirteen,

which left inflammation of both ears, necessitating mastoid operations, and causing a total loss of her hearing.  For three weary years Miss Ruddock lay very ill, cared for by a noble mother and sister. Few can imagine the agony of mind experienced by her and her relatives when, after being unconscious for twelve days, it began to dawn on her that the song of the nightingale across the road in Kew Gardens would know her not.  The trilling of these beautiful songstresses had previously been her delight.* (ibid)

Her education seemed over, but aged seventeen a friend suggested a career in dispensing.  I wonder if her father had retired early through ill-health as  the children all seem to have gone into some form of employment, and after her father’s death in 1909 her mother ran a boarding house in Kew.

miss ruddockJessie contacted a Dr. Farrar, who offered to coach her, saying her deafness should be no handicap to the work of a dispenser.  Fry tell us that she attended the college, which is now the UCL School of Pharmacy, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. then studied at home until 10 p.m.  “It was jolly at the College; between fifteen and twenty ladies were there, and we attended lectures twice a day.  My chief difficulty was in pronouncing Latin and botanical names.” (ibid)  Of 150 candidates, only 23 passed, including Jessie.  She held three appointments, with a private doctor, at the Royal Maternity Charity of London Outpatients’ Department, and All Saints’ Hospital.  Fry continues, “She yearned for other fields to conquer, however, and ultimately began a course of training as a nurse at Her Majesty’s Hospital, Stepney.”  That ended unfortunately when her father became ill and she gave up work.

In 1913, Maxwell S. Fry wrote an article on Miss J. E. Beatrice Ruddock, for The British Deaf Times.  In 1910 she had written to the secretary of the National Deaf Club, having read about it in the newspapers.  She wished to know if ladies were admitted.  This caused the creation of a ladies section to the club.

Fry was obviously so taken with Miss Ruddock that he really laid it on in his article, recording his impressions when they first met in 1910/11:

Miss Ruddock is lithe of figure, quiet, pleasant and refined.  The difficulty with which she then spoke on her fingers – having scarcely mastered our language – added to her power of expression.

[…]

This brilliant and gifted young lady possesses a delicate sensibility, and a quick perception.  She is one who grasps the significance that lies beneath the surface of things apparently insignificant, and realises the splendour often hidden in simple lives.  Very intelligent, she is possessed of keen instinct.  Rich in so many natural gifts, she might have become a scholar.  withal, it is the unconscious in her that counts.

It must have worked as, dear reader, he married her in 1915, and they had two daughters, Mary Eileen (b.1920), and Kathleen (b.1917).

We also learn from the article that she enjoyed cycling, had played the piano, and went with her brother to watch Fulham play football.  Jessie (or Beatrice as she now seems to have preferred) and her husband later lived in Coventry.  Maxwell Stewart Fry, who deserves a blog post of his own, died in 1943.  I am sure there is much more that could be added about her.  She died aged 90, on the 7th of January, 1980.**

[Note that the 1911 census does not describe here as ‘deaf’.  Also, in the 1891 and 1901 censuses she was named as Jessie Ruddock, but after her father’s death she has become Beatrice in the 1911 census.]

*Fry got the the nightingale sex wrong – as with many songbirds, males sing to impress females as well as establishing territory, e.g. Multiple song features are related to paternal effort in common nightingales

** Thanks, yet again, to Norma McGilp!

Obituary. Late Mr Maxwell Fry, Coventry.  The British Deaf Times, vol 41, 1944, p.9

Fry, M.S., Prominent in the Deaf World.  Miss J.E. Beatrice Ruddock. The British Deaf Times, 1913 p.160-1

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1026; Folio: 131; Page: 41; GSU roll: 6096136

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 50; Folio: 17; Page: 25

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 3594; Schedule Number: 109

On the unreliability of printed sources – Hannah Pouncey, Deaf and Blind (ca 1832-1913)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 31 March 2017

A while ago I came across a photograph in Ephphatha, the magazine for the missioners to the deaf, edited by W.W. Adamson, A. Macdonald Cuttell and Fred Gilby.  The photograph illustrated here, is of one ‘Hannah Pountney’.  I searched for Hannah high and low, thinking maybe someone had incorrectly transcribed her name in the online family history and census records.  Hannah was proving impossible to track down – until I had the assistance of our top historian friend, @DeafHeritageUK, Norma McGilp.  Unfortunately an error occurred when someone wrote the item that included Hannah’s name, and the fact that she was to get a pension of £10 from the British Deaf and Dumb Association.  Her real name was  Hannah Pouncey (ca. 1832-1913).  I suppose that someone not at the B.D.D.A. meeting when the pension was approved, misread the handwriting of someone who had attended.  The B.D.D.A. minutes say she was, “a deaf and dumb woman, and almost blind, aged 62, named Hannah Pouncey, and residing at Bedale for whom £8.8.0 had already been collected by her relations.”*

Hannah was born in Ripon, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, and died in Crakehall, Bedale which is not too far north of there.  Her parents were George (b. ca. 1802) and Mary (b. ca. 1802), both born in Ripon.  George was a tailor and one of his sons, Thomas (b. ca 1835 in Leeds), was apprenticed to him.  In 1851 they were living in ‘Middle Street’ which seems to have disappeared or changed name, but must be adjacent to Queen Street.  By the 1871 census they had moved to ‘Fairfield Villa’ and George was described as a woollen draper.  Does that mean he was going up in the world?  On that census there is no mention of deafness next to Hannah’s name.  That information relied on both assiduous enumerators and the co-operation of the head of the household, or whoever took their place if they were out.  Hannah was, according to the 1901 census, ‘deaf and dumb from childhood.’  The 1881 census did not note any deafness – but some people would think it a stigma, so reporting of deafness in census returns is not consistent.

As far as I am aware Hannah lived an anonymous and ordinary life, dying in 1913.

As with others previously covered in this blog, I think it is important to commemorate the lives of ordinary people, as well as the clever, successful and influential.  They are all part of the same picture.

Hannah Pouncey

*for which we are indebted again to Norma McGilp.

1851 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 2281; Folio: 207; Page: 17; GSU roll: 87466-87467

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3196; Folio: 50; Page: 14; GSU roll: 543094

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 4276; Page: 12; GSU roll: 846969

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 4318; Folio: 24; Page: 3; GSU roll: 1342030

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 4598; Folio: 33; Page: 7

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 29386