“Mr. Healey has a horror of extremists” George F. Healey of Liverpool

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 20 November 2015

George F. Healey (1843-1927) was Missioner to the Deaf, at the Liverpool Adult Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society from its inception in 1864.  Born at Gateacre, in the Liverpool suburb of Little Woolton on August the 28th, 1843, the son of a coach builder, Gerorge lost his hearing when less than one – “an accident which occurred to him brought on acute inflammation of the brain” (Oldham Deaf–Mute Gazette).  His obituary in the Deaf Quarterly News tells us it was a fall from his nurse’s arms, but that the loss was not discovered until he was nearly two (p.1).  He became a pupil of Mr. H.B. Bingham of Rugby for eight years, and was taught by the ‘combined method’, that is sign language and articulation and lip reading.  The Oldham Deaf–Mute Gazette says of Bingham, “there has never been a more successful instructor of the deaf, his aim evidently being to adapt the method to the child instead of the child to the method, and not a few of his pupils have filled and are filling responsible positions in a manner that reflects credit alike on teacher and taught.” (ibid p.207)  A final year was spent under a Liverpool teacher of the deaf, Dr. David Buxton (1821-1897).George F Healey

After his schooling, Healey worked for his father at the coach works in Berry Street.  His obituary in the Deaf Quarterly News tells us that he was inspired by annual visits to London, where he heard the Revs. Samuel Smith and Charles Rhind preach (p.1).  The British Deaf Times obituary says he was first taken by Mr. G. Bright Lucas in 1862.  At that time there was little being done to help the adult deaf in Liverpool, so Healey worked with his friend Robert Armour (1837-1913) to start the Liverpool Adult Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society in 1864 (ibid p.208).  He was the Hon. Secretary until 1895, then Vice-Chairman.

Healey worked hard to raise money for a new Liverpool Instiute building, and it was opened on May the 16th, 1887 by H.R.H. Princess Louise.  He was himself fortunate that his parents left him and his sister enough money to make them financially secure, but .

He gave evidence to the Royal Comission of 1881 regarding deaf education, being a firm advocate for the combined method.  “Mr. Healey has a horror of extremists, experience having convinced him that such people in any cause seldom do much good, but invariably accomplish a great deal of mischief.” (Oldham Deaf–Mute Gazette p.206).  Healey was also Hon. Treasurer to the BDDA, and one of its founders.  His influence was wide, and he travelled we are told, to most of the missions across the country, for example helping start the Cork mission in the 1880s (ibid p.2010).

George never married but lived for many years with his sister Florence.

Dear Friends of the Deaf No.2 Mr. George F. Healey , Oldham Deaf–Mute Gazette Jan-Feb 1906, p. 205-11

Mr. George F. Healey, Ephphatha No. 63, Autumn 1924, p.842-3

The Late Mr. George F. Healey, Deaf Quarterly News, No.92, p.1-3 Jan-Mar 1928 (includes photo)

Mr G.F. Healey, Liverpool, British Deaf Times 1928 Vol 25 p.12

Our Portrait Gallery No.3 Mr George F.Healey. Our Monthly Church Messenger to the Deaf p.29-30 1894 includes (photo)

W.R. Roe, Mr. George F. Healey, Peeps into the Deaf World 1917 p.61-3

Healey 2

The Oldham Deaf and Dumb Society

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 November 2015

HeseltineThe OLDHAM DEAF AND DUMB SOCIETY had its roots in 1851, when a Mr. William Bolton gathered all the local deaf people he could for a meeting in St. Peter’s Schoolroom, not far from Union Street where the society later found a home.  The only William Bolton I found in the 1851 census for Bolton, is not shown as ‘deaf’ on the census, but that does not mean he was not.  At any rate this did not get going as a regular service or mission at that time, we are told, until a Mr. John Street (hearing) became involved.  He got Andrew Patterson of Old Trafford involved (M’Cormick p.32, & Abraham p.163).   A free tea was then held for the ‘mutes’ (Abraham),  at ‘the Bent’, a place on the junction of West Street and Middleton Road, patterson being supported by two teachers, Hogg and Goodwin.   After this they announced that there would be a regular service at the Town Hall, conducted by the Manchester teachers.  Abraham says it was at some time in 1852 or 1853 that this commenced.  I suspect a search of local records might narrow this down.

Those who have followed this blog for a while may recall we have discussed Oldham and Ralph Clegg before.  The mission joined with that of Manchester in 1868/9, under the Rev. George A.W. Downing (ca. 1828-1880), but this did not please everyone and there was a break away group before the Oldham mission finally ‘officially’ split off in 1888.  Irish born Downing had worked as a teacher at the Claremont Institution for five years, then the Diocesan Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Strabane where he remained for twelve years.  From there he went to work in north east London in an area that included Holloway and Whitechapel (M’Cormick p.33).  He only left there, we are told, when the Rev. Stainer resigned his position.  Downing married Catherine Siddon, eleven years his senior, and they had a son George.  George senior died in 1880.Lecture room

A long standing member of the Institute was Richard Heseltine (ca. 1828-1907).  He was a machine joiner, ‘deaf from birth’ (1881 census), born at Masham in Yorkshire and married to a hearing lady.  In 1903 M’Cormick described him as ‘fairly robust, silver-haired, genial and reminiscent’ (p.34).

Archibald WelshThe articles I quote from have much more detail than I can put into a short post here, but after the various difficulties with the years when the mission was divided , it was taken on by Archibald Welsh (ca. 1859-1940?) of the Old Trafford School, “a man of strong nerve, and endowed with great powers of endurance” (ibid p.41).  He sorted out the split, and M’Cormick says,

There is a touch of grim humour in the following concise paragraph dealing with this period, which will appeal to all who follow the trend of this little sketch, viz. :- “Overtures made by the leader of the rival association for amalgamation are declined by the Committee, and shortly after it ceased to exist.” (ibid p.39)

Under Welsh they acquired new premises for £1,500 in 1890 (ibid p.40).  He stayed until 1899 when he moved to Dundee.

His successor, William John M’Cormick (or McCormick) (ca. 1862-1919), who lost his hearing as an adult, while preparing for a musical degree.  He later told his missionary friend Bodvan Anwyl, that when he moved from Cork to Oldham, he had to abandon one set of signs for another (Anwyl, p.42).  M’Cormick was still able to play the organ, despite having also lost a finger.  He was succeeded as missioner to the deaf by his wife, Bessie.mRS mCCORMICK

In 1906 Gilby tells us that Mrs. (Bessie) M’Cormick took a party to London-

It was a hectic time, the very next morning I had to meet Mrs. McCormick a Missionary’s wife, with a party of deaf from Oldham. After breakfast they had to be taken to see the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral, plus some of the sights in Westminster. A Committee in the afternoon over a concert to be held at Lord Meath’s house on behalf of the National Physical Society. Then the Oldhamites had to be seen off. (Gilby memoirs p.192-3)

mCCORMICK M’Cormick revived the Oldham Deaf Mute Gazette in 1902, and we have an incomplete set of possibly unique copies through to 1918, and we may guess that when he became ill the Gazette ended.

M’Cormick, Brief sketch of the history of our society, Annual Report 1903, p.32-46

Historical summary showing the progress of the Oldham Deaf and Dumb Society, Report (1910), p.34-40

Abraham, Ernest J.D., History. British Deaf-Mute and Deaf Chronicle, 1894, 3(35), 163-64.

Anwyl, Bodvan, The late Mr. W.J. McCormick, The British Deaf Times, 1919 p.42-3

1891 Census – Richard Heseltine, Class: RG12; Piece: 3312; Folio: 51; Page: 17; GSU roll: 6098422

Trip to London, Oldham Deaf Mute Gazette, June-July 1906, p.16-19

“so moved by these unhappy souls” – Tommaso Pendola, Italian Teacher of the Deaf

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 6 November 2015

This article was written by our colleague Debora Marletta, with some additions.

Born in Genoa on the 22nd of June 1800, Tommaso Pendola (1800-83) joined the order of the ‘Scolopi’, the Piarists (Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools) at the age of 16.  In 1821 he began to teach at the Collegio Tolomei in Sienna. The following quotation is phrased in a way that will sound familiar to regular readers –

Having found several deaf-mutes in Sienna, his city of adoption, he was so moved by these unhappy souls, shut out from the consolation of speech, and so desirous of relieving them from their melancholy condition, that, in 1825, he went to Genoa and placed himself, for nearly a year, as a youthful scholar under Padre Ottavio Assarotti, of the Scolopian Order, who, like De l’Epée in France, was another father to the deaf in Italy. Having learned the method well, Padre Pendola spent all his means in providing a refuge for these unfortunate ones and instructing them. (Matson, p.214-5)

L’Abate Ottavio Giovan Battista Assarotti (1753-1859) had founded the first deaf school in Italy, at Genoa, in 1801.

In 1831, under the auspices of the Grand Duke Leopoldo, Pendola founded and directed in Sienna an institute dedicated to the education of poor deaf people, later known as the Istituto Tommaso Pendola and now part of Asp (Azienda Pubblica dei Servizi alla Persona) ‘Città di Siena’.  In 1844 it was united with the school at Pisa.

Exulting in his heart, happy in relieving misery, he was the first among us to give a gentle and pious mother to these afflicted ones, calling to his Institution “The Daughters of Charity,” and when, in 1848, the members of this order were driven from Sienna as by a whirlwind, those of them that were with him remained peacefully under the protection of his uncontested authority. (Matson, p.215)

As Director at the Istituto, Pendola wrote a number of treatises on deafness and founded, in 1872, the quarterly journal titled L’Educazione dei Sordomuti (now L’educazione dei Sordi [The Education of the Deaf]).  Pendola had been a manual teacher, using sign language, influenced by Sicard, but he modified this teaching method under the influence of his friend Assarotti.

sordomutiThe aim of his new journal was pedagogical, its content directed primarily at teachers of the deaf:

‘The publication was aimed at the analysis of the didactical and pedagogical methods recommended to the teachers of the deaf’ [Esame critico dei mezzi pedagogici e didattici che vengono eventualmente raccomandati o proposti alla scuola dei sordomuti’] (L’Educazione dei Sordomuti, Anno I Serie III, vol. 26, 1903, p. 3).  The journal was also aimed at the promotion of the ‘metodo orale’ [‘the oral method’] or oralism, which had been popular in the United States since the 1860s, and had become known to Pendola via the priest Serafino Balestra, who had introduced into Italy the method known as ‘lip reading’.

Oralism – which opposed the use of sign language whilst advocating the use of speech and lip reading in the teaching of the deaf – was now deemed to be the most natural, appropriate and apt method for the social regeneration of the deaf: ‘il metodo orale è, senza contrasto, il più naturale, il più conveniente e il più opportuno per la rigenerazione sociale dei sordomuti’ (Ibid. p.2).

In 1873, a year after the journal was founded, Pendola organised the Congresso internazionale sull’educazione dei sordomuti di Siena [The International Conference for the Education of the Deaf Mutes of Siena].  As with the journal, the conference provided a platform to discuss the advantages of oralism vs manualism, also setting the theoretical basis for the Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf, held in Milan in 1880.  The ‘Milan Conference’, as it became known, formally established that oral education was superior to manual education, passing a resolution that banned the use of sign language in schools.  As readers of this website and those familiar with sign language will know, it caused much dissent, and is now seen by many as very harmful to the deaf community.  Pendola himself was not present, being old and frail, but was proclaimed honorary president (Matson, p.215).  Enthused by Oralism in the 1870s, Pendola was was appointed by the government as president of a commission to draw up plans for compulsory education of deaf children (ibid, p.216).

Volume 26 of L’Educazione dei Sordomuti, offers a large number of contributions for those interested in the history of the education of the deaf, including that of a teacher, who, in his article entitled ‘Il vocabolario dei nostri allievi’ [‘the Vocabulary of Our Students’] writes that repetition is fundamental in the teaching of a language, even in the case of deaf people. It also includes a review to Dr. Bezold’s book, published in 1902, on the aetiology of deaf-muteness, and a bibliography of studies on deafness within the context of education.

Pendola would seem to have been highly thought of by those who knew him.  He was a professor at the Uninersity of Sienna for thirty years, where, we are told, he fought against the influence of the “popular sensualist school of French materialism” (Matson, p.214).  His funeral on the 14th of February, 1883, seemingly held with greater pomp than he might have wished, was attended by much of the populace, and as he had wished, he was buried ‘with the poor, and in the midst of the deaf and dumb, my pupils’ (ibid p.217-8).

Pendola 001This is one of our copies of Pendola’s book, L’Educazione dei Sordo-muti in Italia, 1855.  It appears to be an inscription by the author.  His journal, L’Educazione dei Sordi, now available online, continues its publication of research articles, bibliographies and individual experiences in keeping with its pedagogical and didactical purposes.

We have a long run in the library from the third series, from 1903 to 1925, then picking up again in 1948.

Portrait of Tommaso.

Matson, Mrs. Kate L., Padre Tommaso Pendola, American Annals of the Deaf, 1883, Vol.28 p.213-9 (Matson’s article is mainly the words of Pendola’s friend, Padre Alessandro Toti.

“Truly, he was a good man” – The Rev. Charles Orpen, Founder of the Claremont Institution

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 30 October 2015

Orpen 001Born in Cork in 1791, Charles Edward Herbert Orpen founded the first Institution for the Deaf in Ireland.  According to his biographer, Emma Lucretia le Fanu, mother of Sheridan Le Fanu, he was supposed to become a doctor, proceeded to do an apprenticeship and then discovered his teacher was not a licentiate of the Dublin College of Surgeons, so he had to embark on a new apprenticeship.  When Charles finally qualified, he toured in England, visiting ‘hospitals, prisons, manufactories &c.’ (Orpen 1836, p.ix).  According to his book ‘Anecdotes’, one of the people he visited was Dr. De Lys in Birmingham, who gave him a report on the newly established Birmingham institution.Orpen Anecdotes

While resident in Edinburgh and London, I had never even heard of the existence of such Asylums in these capitals; and in such ignorance then was I as to the wretched state of the Deaf-mute when uneducated, and the importance and interesting nature of their instruction, that I took so little interest about them, as not even to visit the school in Birmingham at that time.  On looking into the Report, however, I found that it originated from a few lectures on the subject, and the exhibition of a little girl, whom Dr. De Lys and his friend Alexander Blair, Esq. had partially educated for that purpose.  I knew that no such school had ever existed in Ireland; and it occurred to me, that perhaps I might at some future time be able to apply the same means to the same end, for the good of my own country. (ibid, p.ix-x)

Dedication OrpenWe have a copy of Orpen’s concisely titled book, The Contrast between Atheism, Paganism and Christianity, Illustrated; or, the Uneducated Deaf and Dumb, as Heathens, Compared with those who have been Instructed in Language and Revelation, and Taught by the Holy Spirit, as Christians (1828).  It is dedicated by Orpen to Edmond Nugent, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1827-8.  It appeared in a second edition, as Anecdotes and Annals of the Deaf and Dumb (1836). In it, Orpen tells us how he took a neglected orphaned child called Thomas Collins from a Dublin institution where Orpen had served his apprenticeship under Surgeon Todd, the House of Industry.  Fumbling his way along, being ignorant of teaching, he eventually got the child to acquire some vocabulary and ability to pronounce words and letters (Quarterly Review of Deaf Mute Education, p.365, Anecdotes p.x).  Collins became an appentice printer and printed Orpen’s Anecdotes (p.xi).  The idea of taking an ‘exibition pupil’ like this to demonstrate to the public what might be achieved in the education of a deaf child, was not unique of course.

Inevitably for the period, Orpen was religiously motivated, and the passages he writes in the Anecdotes  demonstrate this.  He is at pains to say that Thomas Collins “knows himself as a sinner, and the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour” (p.xi).

There never was but one missionary to the Deaf and Dumb; that missionary was a Jew ; that Jew was Jesus. Shall we be innocent, if we do not teach them to read his history? (p.384)

Orpen was also supportive of the use of sign lanuage, and in the Anecdotes, where each chapter is supported by extended quotes from various sources, for example p.474-6 qoutes Mr. Lewis Weld of the Pennsylvanian Institute, “it is is capable of expressing the nicest shades of thought, and of application to all the concerns of life.”

As well as supporting the education of Deaf people in sign language, he supported the use of Irish Gaelic, and the Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1823 he married Alicia Sirr, and had a large family (Le Fanu, Chapter 11).  In 1826 when Thomas Collins had a pocket watch, the gift of the Doctor’s brother, stolen, at the trial orpen interpreted for the court (p.106-7).  This shows us that he must have been an able signer.  In 1833 Orpen left Dublin, hoping to open a school in Birkenhead, but it fell through (Le Fanu p.124, p.128-9).  “Schemes at variance with long-established systems and confirmed habits seldom meet with success till after a great length of time has elapsed” (ibid).

When two of his sons went to sea, and were so taken with the beauties of the Cape that they decided to stay there, Orpen determined to follow them, arriving in 1848 (ibid p.137).  Orpen, who was ordained in South Africa, opposed slavery and the exclusion of black people from the Dutch churches (p.210-2).  Le Fanu says of slavery, “Those who have had opportunities of seeing it best know how it brutalizes those who are bent on perpetuating it for their own sordid objects” (ibid p.217).  Orpen died on the 20th of April, 1856 (ibid p.237).  Le Fanu ends her biography, “Truly, he was a good man” (ibid p.243).

Wikipedia entry on Orpen

Charles Edward Herbert Orpen, Anecdotes and Annals of the Deaf and Dumb, 1836 [library historical books]

Claremont 1A Magazine Intended chiefly for the Deaf and Dumb, Vol.3, No. 30, p.86-7

Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education, 1888, 1, 364-374.

British Deaf-Mute and Deaf Chronicle, 1895, 4, 145-146. (illus)

Educating the deaf of Ireland. III. The work at Claremont. British Deaf Times, 1904, 1(10), 217-19. (photos)

POLLARD, R. The Avenue: the history of the Claremont Institution (1816-1978). The author, 2001. (illus)

UPDATE: 3/11/2015

Rachel Pollard produced another more extensive book on the Claremont Institution, under the same title in 2006 –
The Avenue: A History of the Claremont Institution, Denzille Press ISBN-10: 0955323908

“we often took sweet counsel together” -Simeon Kutner, Headmaster of the Jewish Deaf School

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 16 October 2015

Simeon Kutner,  (1861-1916) was an oralist teacher of the deaf, who became Head Master of the Jews’ Deaf and Dumb Home, Wandsworth.  In 1894 he took over at the school from Mr. Simon Schöntheil of the Vienna Deaf School.  Schöntheil had replaced van Praagh in 1872.  There is a close link therefore between this school and the origins of the oral system in Germany.

Kutner was born in Poland, or rather Polish Russia.  When he was approximately six years old the family emigrated to Great Britain, settling in London, in Southwark (see census 1871).  His father was a hair dresser.  From 1867 to 1874 he was the Borough Jewish Schools in south-east London (BDM 1897).  He attended the Jews’ College, Finsbury Square intending to study theology, but after two years became instead a teacher under Schöntheil.  He remained there until 1882, having quite a wide number of duties in addition to being a teacher.  He also studied drawing at Birkbeck, we are told by the BDM article (p.252).

The school was visited in June 1877 by a delegation from the first Conference of Headmasters (see extract in last blog), which included Andrew and Colville Patterson, Dr. Buxton, and the Rev. Stainer.  The visit convinced Andrew Patterson to try oralism at the Old Trafford Institute.  It seems that this was a way into Manchester for Kutner, as he was appointed to teach there with the oral method in 1882.  He remained at the school there until July 1894, taking on additional teaching duties and becoming head master of the Evening Continuation Schools for the Deaf and Dumb in 1891.  That same year he married Blema Wood and had four children (ibid).

He went on several holidays with his good friend Fred Gilby.

I had, however, one very understanding, close friend among the oralists in Simeon Kutner, the Principal of the Jews School for the deaf. Even from his Notting Hill days he had been a dear friend of mine, and we often took sweet counsel together. He attended more than one service or function at St. Saviour’s to see what we did – and approved. We once spent a fortnight together, cycling from Hammersmith to Camberley, going by train that evening to Southampton, crossing to Havre and bicycling onwards together through Normandy, sleeping at such places as Caudebec, Lisieux, Avreux, St. Lo, Coutances, Granville, and Jersey. At the last place he was with us at a little gathering of deaf people where I had been asked to preach. The pathos of the little scene overcame him, and he wept. For this I loved him all the more. His companionship was a privilege. Uplifting – educated – yes,it was even religious; he was full of sweet charity, good humour and refinement. We were able to kneel down at the same time at night and we both used the Lord’s Prayer with some depth of sympathy, yet he was a Jew. There are many Christians I know with whom I have not been able to converse as well as I could with him on matters spiritual.

Kutner was also on the Executive of the College for Teachers of the Deaf and Dumb, Paddington Green.

He had at least one serious breakdown in health, and recovered, but died in 1916 having undergone an operation.
KutnersThe Jews’ Deaf and Dumb Home and its Head Master. British Deaf Monthly, 1897, 6, 252-54. (photo)

Death of Mr. Kutner, Ephphatha 1916 no.31 p.445

1871 Census: Class: RG10; Piece: 595; Folio: 92; Page: 15; GSU roll: 818904

“By education he understood the development of all the best parts and powers of the creature” – Benjamin Hill Payne & the Cambrian School

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 October 2015

Cambrian SchoolBenjamin Hill Payne was born on the 23rd of January 1847.  He lost his hearing after an attack of scarlet fever aged 10 (Ephphatha 1896).  Payne attended the Ranelagh School in Athlone (since closed and sadly the buildings torn down as recently as 1991), then worked as a teacher at Dublin’s Claremont Institution for 16 years, before moving to Swansea.  At Swansea he became the principal after the resignation of Alexander Mollison in 1875 (ibid), or 1874 according to Raper’s obituary in BDT p.129.  He remained there for 40 years.  Benjamin Payne’s wife, Miss Passant (d.1921) was also Irish born, from Slane, and she worked at his side as a matron in these schools.

The 1896 article tells us that at the Cambrian school,

Good manners and the little amenities of life are well taught indeed, and there is a refreshing spirit of bon camaraderie apparent between the Principal, his staff, and the children – an air of genial homeliness that surely is of benefit to one and all. Mr. Payne is thoroughgoing. His word is law in the school and none can command more cheerful obedience. […]
That our friend is a past master in matters educational, goes without saying.  Both methods are used at his school.  He believes in adapting the method to the pupil rather than the pupil to the method. (ibid)

The Cambrian School was formed after a public meeting held by the Mayor in Aberystwyth on 1st of February 1847, and on July 24th the first class was held with two boys at a house in Pier Street under Charls Rhind (see Jones, 1985). The school took more pupils, between the ages of nine and thirteen, and in 1848 there were eight pupils. In 1850 the school moved to Swansea, firstly at Picton Place then later in a new building at Graig Field in 1857 (ibid).
In his memoir, F.W.G. Gilby calls the Paynes ‘dear old friends’, and comments on their value as educators:

The Sleights, father and sons, Edward Townsend of Birmingham, the Paynes of Swansea, Alexander Melville, with Samuel Smith of London, and his brother W.B. Smith of Bristol were the firm stalwarts for the finger alphabet plus signs, and it is not sufficiently known and appreciated how very many splendidly equipped deaf went forth into the world after having been educated by them. (p.145)

He told William Raper of the long hours he had spent with Blomefield Sleight and others drawing up the B.D.D.A. constitution (1926).  In retirement Payne helped out running the R.A.D.D. when the Rev. G.J. Chetwynd joined the Officer Corps.  Raper tells us, “He was an attractive and elegant signer, and liked plenty of space whenever addressing an audience.”

His sermons were well thought out and interesting, but of late were inclined to be somewhat too long. He would forget the time and apologize for this afterwards. (BDT obituary)

Raper says that Payne wrote,

“The B.D.D.A. is not a mission, nor is it concerned soley with after-care. Its concern is the whole class and all that concerns them. It promotes, and has founded, missions and helped them, and is especially interested in education. It did a good deal to enlighten the public years before the Bureau was founded, and its influence on the teachers and education, though unacknowledged, is apparent today … I have lived with and taught the Deaf in Institutions for 56 years. And I say there are evils – necessary evils at present, but evils – evils out of which it is possible good may come.” (ibid)

We can see Payne’s thinking as early as 1877, when he spoke at the 1877 Conference of Headmasters of Institutions at the Strand in London.  I will just quote a few lines, in his discussion of the new oralist versus traditional manualist schools:

By education he understood the development of all the best parts and powers of the creature; instruction was simply specific information.  Compare the title of the Association for the Oral Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb with that of the noble old Institution in which he qualified – the National Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb Poor.  In that they had all the difference. (ibid, p.106)

Payne died in 1926. His son, the Rev. Arnold Hill Payne, is worthy of his own post.
Payne family 1896Our Portrait Gallery 5. Mr. B.H. Payne, Ephphatha 1896, May p.78-9 (pic)

Mr & Mrs B.H. Payne, Ephphatha 1915, p.385-6 (pic)

Raper, William, Benjamin Hill Payne, Ephphatha 1926 Autumn, p.1025

Raper, William, Benjamin Hill Payne as I knew him, BDT 1926, vol. 22 p.129-30

Mr Benjamin Hill Payne, BDT 1926, vol 22 p.108

Gilby, Memoir



JONES, H. An outline of the historical development of the school for deaf children in Wales. Association Magazine (BATOD), 1985, May, 9-10.

Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education, 1893, 3, 193-198.

Photo. Wales Hi, 1996, 3(3), back cover.

Royal Commission on the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, 1889. Vol. 2, Appendix 28, 289.

Llandindrod Wells School. Silent World, 1959, 14, 148-51.

Llandindrod Wells Residential School for the Deaf. Wales Hi, 1996, 3(2), 6.

“Deaf and Dumb Land cannot hear its own voice, but it can speak”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 2 October 2015

Deaf and Dumb Land 1Deaf and Dumb Land is the catchy title of a short booklet by the author and journalist Joseph Hatton (1841-1907)*, formerly editor of The Sunday Times.   It describes Hatton’s visit to the Margate School, then under Richard Elliott and using the ‘oral’ method of education.  Published in 1896, the book is rather typically Victorian in its mawkish journalese –

A World of Silence. No sound, not a whisper.  Cut off from music, from the murmurings of the brook, the sighing of the sea, the song of birds, the swelling anthem, the loving tones of a mother’s voice, the pomp of martial strains, the “rustling of proud bannerfolds,” the “peal of stirring drums.”

Born into a world of stillness, and yet to learn that you are surrounded by the “harmonius discord” of busy multitudes, by the chiming of “sad church bells,” the clash of festal peals, the patter of summer rain, the roaring of the wind; the voice of God Himself, as even the savage hears it in the tempest and in the thunder.

To be born speechless too! (Hatton, 1896 p.1)

I will spare you more but I think you will get the idea of his ‘florid’ prose.
Deaf and dumb land speakingThere seems to be a definite ‘oralist’ agenda in the book.  Was his visit at the urging of an oralist, or out of his own interest?  I think it possible that a researcher might be able to uncover Hatton’s motives.  He says that “Into this universal stillness of Deaf-and-Dumb-Land has shone the light of a great hope […] Deaf-and-Dumb-Land cannot hear its own voice, but it can speak, and with no uncertain voice.” (p.6 and p.7)  All thanks to the teaching methods we see illustrated here, from the booklet.  Young girls who are probably about seven, the age of admission (p.15), are seen here with Richard Elliott, long time teacher and then head teacher at the school, and a convert to oralism.Deaf and dumb land dictation  “Five years of careful work has demonstrated the fact that a considerable percentage of the dumb can be made to speak. […] Hitherto he could only talk by signs.” (p.12)

This picture shows children ‘lip-reading for dictation’, and in true Victorian style, the teacher has a luxuriant moustache, which cannot have helped.  “There must be no slovenliness in his articulation.” (p.25)  The dictation was a poem, part of which goes as follows –

“Little drops of rain;

Where do you come from,

You little drops of rain?

Pitter, patter, pitter, patter,

On the window pane.”


The next picture by the author’s wife shows a ‘lesson in articulation’.  He says “The first efforts are directed to the teaching of articulation, the utterance of sounds, some of which have no meaning, and are only useful later on in the pronunciation words which have.” (p.18) “In the second class the words represented actions.” (p.19)  Hatton tells us that for teaching they used an illustrated volume produced by the Asylum “thirty years ago” (p.19-20).Deeaf and dumb land articulation 001

At the time of his visit, the school had still got a branch in Ramsgate, “shortly to be vacated” (p.17), in addition to the main part in Margate.  Of additional interest, Hatton mentions that the “offices of the Asylum for the support and education of Indigent Deaf and Dumb Children are at 93, Cannon Street, opposite the station of the South Eastern Railway Company.”(p.42)   Astute readers will recall that this has featured before in the blogg.

Deaf and dumb land bedHatton, Joseph, DeafandDumb Land, etc. [An account of the Ramsgate and Margate branches of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in the Old Kent Road.]
Joseph Hatton, 1841-1907, London : Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb, 1896

Andrew Sanders, ‘Hatton, Joseph Paul Christopher (1841–1907)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33758 accessed 2 Oct 2015]

*I follow the DNB dates rather than Wikipedia’s date of his birth as 1837.

“Mr. Greaterick stroked him again, rubbed his Body all over with Spittle” – An account of Mr. Greaterick and his Miraculous Cures.

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 25 September 2015

Lincolnshire born Henry Stubbe or Stubbes (1632-76) grew up in Ireland after his ‘anabaptistically inclined’ father was expelled from his living as Rector of Partney.  His mother took him to London in 1641 after the rising, and he attended Westminster School where he excelled at languages.  The OED entry says “Stubbe’s sharp tongue and conceit often caused him to be ‘kick’d and beaten’ by his fellow students and, on one occasion at least, publicly whipped in the college’s refectory ” (ODNB).  After his BA and then serving in the Parliamentary army for two years, Stubbes returned to Oxford and was was appointed deputy keeper of the Bodleian Library (ibid).  Around this time he became friends with various luminaries of the time including Thomas Hobbes and Thomas Willis, a founder member of the Royal Society.  After studying medicine and writing The Indian Nectar, or, A Discourse Concerning Chocolata (1662), he eventually settled in Warwickshire.  It was there that he came across Valentine Greaterick or  Greatrakes and wrote a book about him.  The Miraculous Conformist, or An account or severall Marvailous Cures performed by the stroaking of the Hands of Mr. Valentine Greaterick, with a Physicall Discourse thereupon, in a Letter to the Honourable Robert Boyle Esq. (1666).  Greaterick 0 001

This book, which begins with an address to Willis, has really very little to do with deafness, apart from this short gem, which probably explains why Selwyn Oxley added it to the collection –

I saw him put his Finger into the Eares of a man who was very think of Hearing; and immediately he heard me when I asked him very softly severall questions. I saw another whom he had touched three Weeks agoe for a Deadnesse in one Eare, who I had known to be so many years: I stopped the other Eare very close, and I found him to hear very well, as we spoke in a tone no way raysed beyond our ordinary conversation.(p.6)

Greaterick was a ‘stroker’, using his hands to rub the body of the patient and effect a ‘cure’ by rubbing the sickness out, perhaps through the toes.  Stubbes was at pains to say that any cures were through God and not the devil, and that Greaterick prayed – “I observed that he used no manner of Charmes, or unlawful words; sometimes he Ejaculated a short prayer before he cured any, and always after he had done he bad them give God the Praise.” (p.8).  People noticed that he smelt fragrant, and “Dean Rust observed his Urine to smell like Violets, though he had eat nothing that might give it that scent.” (p.11).

the notion I have concerning Mr. Greatericks is the most facile, for I imagine no more to be in him, than a particular Temperament, or implanted Ferment, which upon his touching and stroking shall so farre invigorate the blood, spirits, and innate temperament of the part (Nature being only oppressed) that they performe their usuall duties: This being done, it is Nature Cures the Diseases and distempers and infirmities, it is Nature makes them fly up and down the Body so as they do: they avoyd not his Hand, but his Touch and stroke so invigorateth the parts that they reject the Heterogenous Ferment, ’till it be outed the Body at some of those parts he is thought to stroke it out at.

Considering that our life is but a Fermentation of the Blood, nervous Liquor, and innate constitution of the parts of our Body, I conceive I have represented those hints and proofs which may render it imaginable that Mr. Greatericks by his stroking may introduce an oppressed Fermentation into the Blood and Nerves, and resuscitate the oppressed Nature of the parts. (p.14)

It is easy to laugh now but these were days before modern medicine when any attention for a desperate person from someone who might effect a treatment would be welcome.  However I cannot resist a few more examples.  Greaterick is supposed to have cured, in the presence of Lord Conway, a boy of fourteen of leprosy.

Mr. Greaterick stroked him again, rubbed his Body all over with Spittle.  My Lord ordered the Boy to return, if he were not Cured: but he came no more (p.28).

We are not told whose saliva, but anyway the dice are loaded – he should have had the boy return if cured.

A woman of Worcester having a paine driven into those parts which modesty would not permit her to let Mr. Greaterick stroke: she went away as if she had been cured, but is since sick of an intolerable pain there.  Such consequences are usuall, when the Disease is not stroked out (p.29).

Stubbe later fell out with the nascent Royal Society – “Not only did Stubbe believe that the protagonists’ claims regarding the utility of science were vastly exaggerated, but he was convinced that their inflammatory rhetoric seriously threatened the humanist culture of the universities, the erudite foundations upon which protestantism rested, as well as the medical profession.” (ODNB)  Stubbes, who clearly had a talent for controversy, drowned in a shallow River near Bath, as his friend Anthony Wood wrote, “‘his head being then intoxicated with bibbing, but more with talking, and snuffing of powder’” (quoted in ODNB).

Below, Greaterick stokes Lord Arlington – click for a larger image.

Greaterick 1 001Mordechai Feingold, ‘Stubbe , Henry (1632–1676)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26734, accessed 25 Sept 2015]

Carl B. Estabrook, ‘Stubbes , Henry (1605/6–1678)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26735, accessed 25 Sept 2015]

Oliver Sacks and “Seeing Voices”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 18 September 2015

This week’s post is by Edmund Lyonseeing voices

Oliver Sacks, who died recently, was perhaps most familiar to the public as the author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. However, among his other books was Seeing Voices: A Journey Into The World Of The Deaf, a fact which was only mentioned in one or two of the obituaries which have appeared. Seeing Voices is a fascinating triptych, its three parts combining to give insights not only into deaf history and deaf communication – including the Oralist / signing controversy – but also into deaf culture and deaf activism: the book culminates in a description and analysis of the deaf students’ uprising at Gallaudet University in March 1988 (details of this appear on the Gallaudet website).

Sacks’ exploration of deafness is sensitive and revealing, making Seeing Voices a good starting point for any exploration of the world of the deaf. Although it focuses on deaf people in the United States, the themes Sacks teases out are relevant to the United Kingdom too – and can be pursued through the books we hold in the Action on Hearing Loss Library.

Seeing Voices was published 26 years ago this month, in September 1989, and remains in print. sacks


The Central London Ear Hospital in 1909

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 28 August 2015

This year the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital is celebrating 140 years in Gray’s Inn Road on this site.  The Central London Throat Nose and Ear Hospital first opened in 1874, in Manchester Street, now Argyle Street, Kings Cross.  It was an offshoot of Golden Square’s Hospital for Diseases of the Throat, which had been founded in 1862 by Sir Morell Mackenzie but had gone into a decline (Gould, 1998 p.10).  Some of the people behind the new hospital were the otolaryngologist Lennox Browne, his friend Captain Alfred Hutton, the physician Llewellyn Thomas who was also from Golden Square, and the dentist George Wallis.  Isaac Lennox Browne (1841-1902) was the son of the gynaecologist Isaac Baker Brown, who became unfortunately notorious.  His son had a far more distinguished career however.

After only a year the number of patients necessitated a move and the hospital laid a new foundation stone at its present site on Gray’s Inn Road.  The prominence of ‘throat’ in the title is indicative of Lennox Browne’s interest in the voice, and the foundation stone was laid by the famous opera singer Madame Patti and the building formally opened in 1876 (Yellon, p.38, as is the following). Even in those early days the hospital drew patients from across the country, a fact emphasized in the article from which these photographs came.  The article was by Evan Yellon, the fighter against quacks who often signed himself ‘Surdus’, and came into contact with Dr. Crippen.  Yellon tells us that in 1907, of 9,993 new patients admitted, no fewer than 1,860 from the country (ibid p.37).  The following year there were 10,481 out-patients and 707 in-patients.  I imagine that these figures come from annual reports.  We unfortunately have none of those, as they were all sent to the London Metropolitan Archives where they, and related materials, may be consulted.

In 1893 the hospital purchased additional land adjacent, and various parts if the building were rebuilt or enlarged.  a further expansion took place in 1906, when new wards were opened by Princess Louise.  Below is the out-patients department in 1909.NTNEH Outpatients

In 1909 the Chairman was still George Wallis, the Patron was the Duke of Connaught, and the Vice-President was Captain Hutton.  One of the surgeons at that time was James Dundas-Grant.  The service was free to those with no money, which perhaps explains the very high number of patients, however those with money were expected to contribute to the cost.  Yellon tells us that since the hospital was founded, it had treated 998,631 patients (ibid, p.40)! In 1909,

3,067 out-patients were sent by medical practitioners, and 392 in-patients.  The medical staff paid a total of 2,337 visits to the Hospital, involving 4,646 hours of their time.  681 operations were undertaken and performed in the out-patient department.  419 medical practitioners from all parts of the world visited the Hospital to witness the practice of the medical staff, while 41 ladies and gentlemen enrolled themselves as post-graduate students of the Hospital.  These figures should shew clearly the wide extent of the work being done.  The Hospital is entirely supported by voluntary contributions, and it (in common with other Ear Hospitals) has no grant from King Edward’s Hospital Fund; at the moment funds are very badly needed to enable the Committee to extend the work, and for the upkeep and necessary extension of the present buildings. (ibid, p.40)

Here we see the modern facilities as they were in 1909, complete with Edwardian nurses.NTNEH ward

NTNEH operating theatreNTNEH backView East from LibraryThe last view appears to be looking east.  Compare this shot taken from the library window – it is not easy to be sure as some buildings have of course gone and others have been built.  See the Lost Hospitals website for some of the older buildings  that were or are part of this hospital.  Click on images for larger size.

Gould, Glenice, A History of the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital 1874-1982, Journal of laryngology and Otology Supplement 22, April 1998

Yellon, Evan, Special Hospitals for the Deaf, The Central London Ear and Throat Hospital, The Albion Magazine, Vol.2 no.2 p.37-40, Aug-Sep 1909