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Another private deaf school, another ardent oralist – John Barber, “a man of sincere religious fervour whom we all respected”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 11 August 2017

Teacher of the deaf John Barber, was born in the village of Edenham, Lincolnshire in 1836.  I have no details of his early life, but according to his marriage certificate his father was a farmer, George Baker.  By 1861 he was a schoolmaster at the village of Irby in Lincolnshire.  I have not tracked him down in any earlier census returns but that could be because of transcription errors ‘hiding’ his name – or perhaps I gave up looking too soon.  By 1866 he was living in London.  I have no idea how he came to be involved with deaf education, but in that year he founded his private school, and married Lois Elizabeth Taylor, the daughter of a clergyman.  At that time he was living in Southgate (north London).  Sadly she died in early 1872.  In the 1871 census he was living at Fairview Lodge, Edmonton, as a teacher of the deaf and dumb, but with only one pupil listed as living in, Robert Burrell, who was not recorded as deaf (however see below).

In 1875 he married Amy Smith Hodges, and they had three children, and by the time of the 1881 census, they were established at ‘Inglefield,’ Edgware Road.  This is perhaps the same as the address, ‘Inglefield,’ Christchurch Avenue, Brondesbury, N.W. where the school was until 1903.  In that year – see below – they moved nearby to 186 Willesden Lane, though that building has since been lost to redevelopment.

The 1881 list of pupils and teachers includes the following – William Burrel, who was the younger brother of Robert, and Beatrice, their sister.  Note the widespread origins of the pupils.

Margaret A. Rossiter Assistant 23 1858 Female Governess Teacher Of The Deaf Ceylon, East Indies
Ethel Marion Robinson Assistant 20 1861 Female Teacher Of The Deaf Wymondham Leicestershire
Annie G. Boultbee Scholar 16 1865 Female Scholar Leeds Yorkshire
Edwin Docharty Scholar 15 1866 Male Scholar Lanarkshire
William Burrell Scholar 15 1866 Male Scholar Fornham Suffolk
Ada S. Russell Scholar 13 1868 Female Scholar Islington Middlesex
Merton J. Mansfield Scholar 12 1869 Male Scholar Notting Hill Middlesex
Augusta Challis Scholar 12 1869 Female Scholar Buckhurst Hill Essex
George B. Challis Scholar 10 1871 Male Scholar Buckhurst Hill Essex
Frederick W. Talbot Scholar 11 1870 Male Scholar Batley Yorkshire
Beatrice Burrell Scholar 10 1871 Female Scholar Fornham Suffolk
James Hudson Scholar 11 1870 Male Scholar Scarborough Yorkshire
Wilfred Docharty Scholar 9 1872 Male Scholar Lanarkshire
Adelina Glasgow Scholar 10 1871 Female Scholar Marylebone Middlesex
Katie Mannering Scholar 6 1875 Female Scholar Islington Middlesex

In 1891 they had thirteen pupils, but in 1901 only three.  Ethel Marion Robinson was still a teacher living and working with Barber in 1903.  It seems that in the late 19th century, women teachers often remained unmarried.  I wonder why that was – perhaps it has to do with attitudes to women in work, or perhaps it provided a woman with some freedom from the constraints of a Victorian marriage.  Ethel died of pneumonia, in 1905, aged only 44.

She was one of the earliest Members, by examination, of the College of Teachers of the Deaf; and she joined the Union of the Teachers of the Deaf on the Oral System at its commencement, ansd was frequently present at its meetings in which she took a deep interest.

She won the affection of her pupils by her unwearied kindness […] (Teacher of the Deaf, 1905)

By 1911, he was living at 45 Fordwych Road, Cricklewood, with two deaf pupils, one from Ireland and one bor in India, presumably to an army or civil service family.  In the National Bureau’s Deaf Handbook for 1913, the school was established at 41 Plympton Road, Brondesbury, a three-floored terraced house.

Barber died in 1919.

For some tome past he had been an invalid and unable to attend the meetings oif the National College of Teachers of the Deaf and the Pure Oral Union.
Mr. Barber succeeded Mr. Ackers as Chairman of the Pure Oral Union, and upon the conclusion of his term of office he was unanimously elected a Vice-President of the Union. […]
Mr Barber did excellent work in his school at Brondesbury, and his old pupils revere the memory of their teacher and friend. (J.F.W., 1919)

Gilby mentions him in passing – “Mr. J. Barber, of Brondesbury […] who took private oral pupils: a man of sincere religious fervour whom we all respected” (Gilby memoir p.55)

It would make a really interesting dissertation project for a student with an interest in Deaf Education to look at the census returns of pupils & see what became of them.  Perhaps we could compare them with pupils from poorer backgrounds at public institutions.  For example, in 1911 Beatrice Burrel was unmarried and living with her parents (her father was a ‘farmer and director of companies) and her older brother Walton Robert – we assume ‘Robert’ in the 1871 census – was also there working as a photographer.  Yet another Deaf photographer!  But, that they were living at home makes me wonder how well they were able to communicate outside the family.  Beatrice died within living memory, in 1956, and her brother Walton Robert in 1944.  There were two other deaf siblings – as well as William, there was Maud.  They were living together and all the children seem to have been single.

Walton Robert’s photos are in the Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds Branch.

When we write this blog, we never quite know where it will end up!

Private school advertsObituary Notice, Teacher of the Deaf, 1905, 3, 266

J.F.W., Death of Mr J. Barber, Teacher of the Deaf, 1919, 17, 120.

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 2376; Folio: 104; Page: 2; GSU roll: 542962

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 1342; Folio: 56; Page: 34; GSU roll: 828284

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 1362; Folio: 38; Page: 12; GSU roll: 1341330

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1044; Folio: 152; Page: 32; GSU roll: 6096154

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 1224; Folio: 54; Page: 1

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 634

Beatrice Burrel & Walton Robert Burrell

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 10646; Schedule Number: 4

William Burrell and Maud Clare Burrell

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 10633; Schedule Number: 15

http://www.gritquoy.com/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I4669&tree=001Master

Gertrude M. Engledue and Edward Thomas – a deaf pupil and her teacher

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 4 August 2017

Gertrude Mary Engledue was born in Dublin, on the 30th of January, 1868, daughter of William John Engledue (born in Liverpool) and his wife Eliza McIvor Forrest (see www.ancestry.co.uk).  Her parents married in India.  She was deaf from birth, according to the 1881 census, and from childhood according to the 1901 census, but is not in the 1891 or 1911 censuses.  In 1881 she was a pupil at a small school for deaf children in Bristol, run by Glamorgan born Edward Thomas, and his wife Emily, at 8 Burlington Buildings, Redland Park.  Across the country there were thousands of these small schools, presumably not very well regulated, and run as small family businesses.  Some, like this one, specialised in particular children, ones who needed more care.  To what extent they got that, we might well question.  Perhaps the surest guide would be to follow through as best as possible what became of those children in later life.  Gertrude M EngledueHere is a truncated version of the 1881 census –

Edward Thomas Head 37 1844 Cowbridge Glamorgan
Emily Thomas Wife 41 1840 Bristol Gloucestershire
Eliza Nurse Mother in Law 70 1811 Bristol Gloucestershire
Gertrude M. Engledue Pupil 13 1868 Dublin Deaf & Dumb birth
Isabella Shickle Pupil 12 1869 Bath Somerset Deaf & Dumb birth
John R.K. Toms Pupil 13 1868 Wellington Somerset Deaf & Dumb
Edward Foster A. Pupil 13 1868 Canterbury Kent Deaf & Dumb birth
Cyril G. Bosanquet Pupil 11 1870 Ramsgate Kent
Wilfred J. Reckitt Pupil 13 1868 London Middlesex Deaf & Dumb birth
Horace R McGrath. Pupil 8 1873 Bempton Yorkshire
Frederick J. Gourlay Pupil 10 1871 Weston S M Somerset Imbecile
Catherine Gourlay Pupil 8 1873 Weston S M Somerset Imbecile

As we see, not all the pupils were deaf.

The teacher, Edward Thomas, became the missioner to the Deaf of Bristol in 1884, a post he held until his death in 1913.  His first wife Emily died in early 1898.Ed Thomas  Within six months he had re-married, to Theodora Ryecroft, who was twenty years his junior.  His obituary is full of praise for his hard work, visiting the sick and helping others to find work.  We are told in his obituary that he “acted as interpreter when necessary at weddings, funerals, police court cases, etc.”

Gertrude later became President of the Portsmouth Deaf and Dumb Club. The brief notice in The Hampshire Deaf Chronicle for 1923 tells us that she travelled extensively abroad, and came “into contact with the deaf of many countries.  She was the close friend of the late Sir Arthur Fairbairn, who during his life did so much for the Hampshire deaf.”

Well, she was in fact such a close friend that she married him, in February 1897.  Sir Arthur Fairbairn had married Florence Frideswyde Long in 1882, but the marriage only lasted a couple of weeks (see Eagling and Dimmock for more on Fairbairn).  Gilby says in his unpublished memoir,

it is quite often the case that a woman will marry a deaf man through pity, only to find out afterwards she has made a terrible mistake. So frequently have confidences of this nature been imparted to me and my wife that we feel bound to make known how unfortunate marriages of this sort are likely to prove. Sir Arthur Fairbairn made a marriage of this kind, and he was parted from his wife within a few weeks of the marriage. We are blaming neither of the parties to this marriage, but giving it as an instance. (Gilby memoir, p.66)

We might presume that although he was divorced, he felt unable to make his re-marriage public knowledge because of the social stigma.*  Gertrude seems to have retained her maiden name, even unto death – her registration is as Engledue – and neither William Roe in his article on Fairbairn in Peeps into the Deaf World, nor Gilby in his memoirs, mention that he married Gertrude.  Perhaps the couple’s friends kept the secret, but perhaps only a few people knew.

Gerty, as Gilby calls her at one point, was a close friend of Sir Arthur Fairbairn’s sister and companion, Constance.   When, in 1904, the Royal Association for the Deaf and Dumb as it was then called, held a Grand Bazaar at Marylebone in the Wharncliffe Rooms of the Grand Central Hotel, Marylebone, Constance and Gerty were a great help.  Constance,

had worked like a Trojan and with her great friend Miss Gerty Engledue, and those who helped at her stall did great things and died – yes died – a month after the event at which she lent her failing hands.  […]  Miss Gertrude Engledue (who had a deaf brother) and her Aunts were among our keenest supporters, and they were backing the Constance Fairbairn Stall.  Indeed Miss Engledue and Miss Fairbairn were Hon. Secretaries with me. (Gilby p.178)

Gertrude died in Northiam, Sussex, on the 29th of April, 1952, and is buried in Tunbridge Wells.

How sad that they felt they could not live together.

*I have not found a divorce record for them – if you have, please leave a comment below.  Indeed, did they get divorced?  Geoff Eagling and Arthur Dimmock say that the certificate for his second marriage in a registry office, calls him a bachelor.  When Florence died in 1941 she was called lady Fairbairn, Sir Arthur’s widow in The Times.  A Times story for 1909 reports the wedding of Thomas Fairbairn, arttended by Sir Arthur and ‘Mrs Fairbairn’ – is that Gertrude, as she is not called ‘Lady Fairbairn’?

[I found a death notice in the Times for 1944, placed by Gertrude to her faithful servant of 29 years, Catherine Barber, who was in 1911 a servant at the Fairbairn’s Chichester Home, Wren House.]

[Her Deaf brother would appear to have been James Allen, born in Calcutta – and a pupil at Bingham’s school, but I think this needs checking as the ancestry records say his father was William John, which might make him her uncle… It would then mean that Arthur may have been at school at the same time as James… This needs clarification!  Gilby was a pretty reliable witness, and relied on old diary entries for the incomplete memoirs, but he was writing in 1938, and perhaps he was confused or forgot some details.  Thanks to Norma McGilp  for additional information.]

Woodford, W., Obituary Mr. Edward Thomas, British Deaf Times 1913, p.203

The Hampshire Deaf Chronicle. Jan-Feb-Mar 1924 p. 4 (Photo of Gertuude Engledue)

Eagling, Geoff, & Dimmock, Arthur, Sir Arthur Henderson Fairbairn, 2006

Gilby’s unpublished memoir

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 2212; Folio: 63; Page: 26; GSU roll: 542936

1881 Census – Thomas and Engledue – Class: RG11; Piece: 2503; Folio: 119; Page: 18; GSU roll: 1341604

1881 Census – Charles and Herbert Engledue – Class: RG11; Piece: 1231; Folio: 28; Page: 6; GSU roll: 1341301

1891 Census – Engledue – Class: RG12; Piece: 32; Folio: 71; Page: 25; GSU roll: 6095142

1901 Census – Thomas – Class: RG13; Piece: 2367; Folio: 186; Page: 30

1901 Census – Gertrude Engledue – Class: RG13; Piece: 36; Folio: 61; Page: 1

1901 Census – Ralph and Guy Engledue – Class: RG13; Piece: 593; Folio: 7; Page: 6

1911 Census – Engledue – Class: RG14; Piece: 133

Miss Louisa Rice “is blessed with sweet reasonableness, which will help her in the struggles of life” & Albert Luck

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 21 July 2017

There must have been fireworks when Louisa Rice was born, for it was on the 5th of November, 1899, in Raunds, Northamptonshire.  She appears to have been deaf from birth, though not surprisingly the 1901 census does not note this – her parents may not have yet realized.  Her father, John, was a shoemaker, which is hardly a surprise for that area in that period.  She appears in Derby School headmaster W.R. Roe’s 1917 book, Snapshots of the Deaf.  This book, and its companion, provide a really useful picture of how children at the Derby school one hundred years ago fared in work after they had left.  Roe wanted to alert the general public to the fact that his pupils were well educated and industrious workers.  He wrote in his preface,

The Institution is building monuments of character which will live on, not as memories merely, but as active, vital facts affecting for good the present and succeeding generations. (p. ix) […]
Now thousands of cheery letters telling us of their work and successes, come from old pupils who are scattered over nearly every county in England, some in Scotland and Wales, and others in the United States of America, South Africa, and Canada. (p. xiii)

Louisa RiceHe says of Louisa, that she had joined the school ten years previously – that would be when she was approximately eight, in 1907.

She was a very lively, sometimes rather mischievous, but a good-hearted girl, and did well in the scholastic and industrial departments.
On leaving the Institution she returned to her home at Raunds, Northamptonshire.  She soon obtained employment in a boot factory, where she is doing work connected with ladies’ and children’s boots, and earning good wages.  Louisa is blessed with sweet reasonableness, which will help her in the struggles of life. (Roe, 1917)

Albert Luck was born in Wollaston, Northants, on the 11th of August, 1899.  His father Frederick was a shoe riveter.  Rather than attending the Derby School, on the 16th of January 1911 he was admitted to the Royal Schools for the Deaf, Manchester, his end of school date was due to be on his sixteenth birthday in 1915. As you see, the cause of his deafness was unknown.Stretford

In 1925, Louisa and Albert married.  I have no idea how they met – perhaps they worked at the same factory, perhaps they met through the local mission or a deaf club.  The mission that started in the late 1920s, was run by Algernon J.M. Barnett.  From a search of Free BMD and www.ancestry.com I see that Louisa and Albert had four children, Betty (1928-2009), what I assume were twins, in 1930 Jack E. and Reginald A. (he died 1979), and Joan in 1933.  Louisa died in 1984, and Albert died in 1985.  If you know anything more about them or the Northamptonshire Deaf of that era, do comment below.

For a flavour of the Northamptonshire area in that period, try reading some of H.E. Bates‘s early novels, for example, The Poacher.  Bates was born at Rushden in 1905, so was almost a contemporary of Louisa Rice.

Below we see boys in the Manchester Schools 1915 annual report, learning to make shoes.  It is just possible that Albert Luck is in the picture.shoe making Stretford

Roe, W.R. Snapshots of the Deaf, Derby, 1917, p.246

1901 Census – Louisa: Class: RG13; Piece: 1454; Folio: 53; Page: 29, Albert: Class: RG13; Piece: 1438; Folio: 182; Page: 13

1911 Census – Louisa: Class: RG14; Piece: 20943; Page: 5, Albert: Class: RG14; Piece: 23656; Page: 6

Free BMD

www.ancestry.co.uk for death dates

A Manual Alphabet for the Deaf and Dumb, circa 1870s

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 14 July 2017

alph coverYou may wonder what happened to the archive material from Margate School when it closed.  I cannot give a full answer as I do not know exactly what Margate had in the way of records, but broadly as far as I am aware the school and pupil records went to the Kent County Archives in Maidstone, while I believe that a full set of annual reports, and perhaps some other material, went to the British Deaf History Archive in Warrington.  I suppose that they are both in the process of organising and cataloguing that material.  What we took was only a few boxes of books that we are sorting through to fill any gaps in our collection.  Most of these we already had, and unless you are an expert in the area of the history of education these are mainly rather dull and dry books!

a to fThere are a couple of gems however.  This beautifully produced booklet, A Manual Alphabet for the Deaf and Dumb, […] sold at the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, Old Kent Road… came to us from the Margate School.  I am a little surprised that we have not got it, though it is possible we have a copy – it is all a question of how it is described in the catalogue, so it could already be lurking in the collection. In the past the librarians used brown card and stapled many smaller loose items, of what we call ‘grey literature,’ into these covers.  Grey literature can cover a multitude of things – but it would usually mean something that was not a book or a journal, or a report.  It could be a reprint of an article, a booklet, a single page, and so on. I suppose they were doing what they thought was right, protecting the items and making them available for general use. We would not do this now – rather, we would put these leaflets or booklets in a box.

As you will know if you have ever found an old magazine that has been in slightly damp conditions, old staples can often rust and break leaving a nasty stain on the paper.  This particular booklet is stitched rather than stapled.  The staple was an ancient device but it was not until the late 19th century that staples for paper were invented, so if you are trying to date something and it is stapled, it probably dates from after 1880.

Cataloguers would not I hope be offended if I were to say they have a particular ‘attention to detail’ – to put it bluntly, they are pernickety.  Therefore, while cataloguers will often differ in detail when they categorize a book, overall I trust them.   That is why we often use the combined catalogue COPAC which covers major British and Irish universities and academic institution collections.  It is a useful tool to see where a rare item is held, and how it has been classified.  This is how Cambridge (top) and Dublin Trinity College (below) have described it:

A manual alphabet for the deaf and dumb.  London ; Paris ; Madrid : Baillière, Tindall, & Cox [1872?]

A manual alphabet for the deaf and dumb.  London, Paris and Madrid : Baillière, Tindall & Cox [ca. 1880]

As you see, they disagree about the date, and though it might be possible to narrow that with some diligent research. Some Baillière archives are at Reading University.  g to rNote the way ‘Q’ is signed.

s to z

“Far away in heathen lands” -Rosetta Sherwood Hall & Pyong Yang Deaf School (1909)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 7 July 2017

Rosetta Hall Pyong Yang 001Rosetta Sherwood Hall was born Rosetta Sherwood in New York state in 1865.  She married a Canadian Doctor, Rev. William James Hall, M. D. and travelled with him to Korea in 1894.  He died not long after, of Typoid fever.  Not dissuaded from missionary work, she returned with her children in 1897.  At first she worked with a blind girl, Pongnai, but later in 1909 began teaching deaf children together with blind children.

The quotation below, from her article in Silent Worker, was reprinted from The Christian Herald.  The tone of the article reflects the zeal of the missionary age – as the title of one book has it, “How you gonna get to Heaven if you can’t talk with Jesus.”  The Deaf (and blind) are neglected in the fight to gain souls, and they need language in order to understand the ‘word of god’.

Far away in heathen lands, one of the trials of the Christian missionary is to realize his limitations in meeting and relieving not only the spiritual mental and moral dearth, but the physical defects and distress that press and depress upon every side.
The condition of the blind and of deaf-mutes of Korea is truly pitiable; the latter are considered imbeciles, while the former are never taught anything useful, but become fortune-tellers or vile sorcerers if their parents are well enough to do to have them thus trained; otherwise they are often neglected […]
There are several thousand deaf-mutes in Korea for whom the mysteries of life are fought with the animal instincts only; they have souls but do not know it; they live in a perpetual silence which the voice of no regular evangelist can ever penetrate. (Hall, Silent Worker, 1910)

She left Korea in 1933, and died in 1951.

The photos here are photographs of photographs, very small in the originals, no doubt used by Selwyn Oxley in a lantern slide show on Deafness.  I scanned at the best resolution I could – as usual, click on the image for a larger size.  We see Mrs Hall as the lady with glasses in the top image, and as the only woman on the other image.  Quite who the men are I do not know – Japanese military?  If you know please comment.

Rosetta Hall Pyong Yang Boys

Hall, Rosetta Sherwood, The Deaf and Blind in Korea, Silent Worker, 1910  vol 23 no. 10 p.186 and 202

http://www.retina.co.kr/ver2/index.php?board=retina02_01&menu=2&btype=2&menu_sub=2_1&prc=view&num=292

 

Guild of St. John of Beverley stained glass windows from Ephphatha House, Ealing, 1928

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 30 June 2017

MemorialStained glass aIn our collection of artifacts, we have, bizarrely, three stained glass windows.  The windows were placed at 5 Grange Road, Ephphatha House, where Selwyn and Kate Oxley moved to when they got married in 1929.  Oxley’s mother bought the house on his behalf, originally as a home for the library of the Guild of St. John of Beverley.  The Guild deserves an entry of its own on the blog, for it was a repeating theme in Oxley’s life, & before his time it had its beginnings in the North of England with Ernest Abrahams and George Stephenson, among others.  When Oxley discovered it he seems to have taken it over, and as he wife mentions several times in her biography of him, Man with a Mission, he loved ceremonies and the associated ‘dressing up.’  Essentially it was a religious organisation, that particularly in the early years of the century, involved a sort of pilgrimage to Beverley, or at least annual services commemorating him and his ‘miracle’ healing a deaf man.

JesusI am not sure who the artist was, but Katherine Oxley says they were done by

a Hard of Hearing man, who had been in the employment of Messrs. Ward and Hughes of 67 Frith Street, Soho, above whose works the National Institute for the Deaf had at one time rented offices.
This firm had done work in All Saints’ Church, Petersham, Surrey, under the Vicariate of the late Rev. W.H. Oxley, and this was the last bit of work done by them as a firm, as soon after they suspended business.  The panels themselves are a work of art, depicting Our Lord healing the Deaf Man, and are flanked on each side by scenes portraying the miracles of St. John of Beverley and Francis of Sales.  The colours blended with a simple but strikingly effective beauty, especially when the rays of the sun caught them.

St JThey were unveiled in situ on the staircase by the Guild Warden, the Rev. W. Raper, ‘in his robes of office, carried the business through with a grave dignity’ (K. Oxley, 1953).  I have chosen the two smaller ones to photograph, as the St. John one is rather larger & harder to get out.

They were not in place too long before the Oxleys moved out of London.  I suppose that they came to us from Kate Oxley.

Oxley, K. A Man withe a Mission, 1953, Hill and Ainsworth

Oxley, Selwyn, The Seventeenth Annual Report of general Honorary Work Done for the Deaf… Year ending 1929Sales faces

Heraldic Artist, Robert Ockleston (1845-1937) and his wife, Sarah Ann Brentnall (1849-1922) ‘she was related to the authoress “George Elliott”‘

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 23 June 2017

Ockleston robertRobert 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 continued to work at home drawing up pedigrees and documents until his eyesight failed him aged seventy-eight.

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 (1849-1922), a Deaf teacher of the deaf at a Stainer L.C.C. school, at Winchester Street, Pentonville, according to the Ephphtha articles (Ephphatha 1923, and Ephphatha 1938).  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.

Ockleston SarahSarah was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, on the 25th of March, 1849, 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.  Indeed, this is confirmed by her obituary which tells us that she lost her hearing aged six after scarlet fever (Ephphatha, 1923 p. 701).  The 1871 census does not mention deafness after her name, but the 1881 does.  Her obituary tells us about her education;

She was not sent to school, but was taught at home, and the love of reading was particularly cultivated, reading aloud being especially encouraged so that she might not forget how to speak.
Her parents and sisters communicated with her by means of the finger alphabet, but she did not associate with other deaf people till she was about 17.  She was then living in Liverpool and heard for the first time of the Mission for the Deaf there.  This opened up to her a new world of friends. (ibid)

Sarah moved to London, becoming a teacher, and began attending St. Saviour’s.  It seems she also wrote poems that were published in A Magazine for the Deaf  the Sam Smith St. Saviour’s church publication (ibid).  As with other teachers of the deaf who were themselves deaf, Sarah lost her job in 1881 when the school became ‘Oral’ in its main form of education (Ephphatha 1923, p. 702).  ‘At language, whether spoken or written, she was extremely gifted, partly due, perhaps, to the fact that she was related to the authoress “George Elliott”‘ (ibid).  It would be interesting to know what her actual relationship with George Elliott was.

Sarah remained involved in the various mothers’ meetings as well as being Vice-President of the Ladies section of the National Deaf Club (ibid).

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

UPDATED 26/6/2017: Thanks, as ever, to Norma McGilp of @DeafHeritageUK for the additional references to Sarah Ann, and for telling me where to find pictures of them.

If you are aware of any of his work surviving somewhere, please comment.

The Passing of Mr. Robert Ockleston, Ephphatha, No.116, p. 1991, Jan-Mar 1938

Sarah Ann Ockleston (née Brentnall), Ephphatha, No. 56, p. 701, Winter, 1923

Picture of Robert in Ephphatha, Christmas 1915, p. 411

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