A Deaf suffragist – Kate Harvey 1862-1946

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 16 March 2018

Born Felicia Catherine Glanvill, but also known as ‘Glanville’ and as ‘Kate,’ little is known about the youth of this deaf suffragist.  Her father’s familiy was from East Surrey, her grandfather being a ‘philosophical instrument maker.’  She was born in Peckham in 1862, and named after her mother, Felicia Catherine La Thangue, whose father was a mariner.  Her mother died when she was young, in 1870, and her father Frederick then died when she was about sixteen, in 1879.  Grandmother Felicia, her mother’s mother, was described as a Professor of Music on the 1871 census, and I wonder if she took over care of her three grand daughters.  At any rate I was unable to find the three sisters on the 1881 census, so all we can say about her is that she lost her hearing at some point after 1871, probably as a result of illness but after acquiring speech.  She was certainly not noted as ‘deaf’ on the 1901 census, but, as said on many occasions in these pages, that does not always reflect the reality of a person’s hearing loss.

At some point in her 20s, where and when I cannot say, she met met Frank Harvey, a cotton merchant, and they married in India at Cuddapah, Madras, on the 12th of November, 1890.  Perhaps the family have records, perhaps not, but there may be more to discover.  Her youngest sister Edith married first, in the Cambridge registration district in 1889, while Florence married a Joseph Hopley in 1900 , who was five years younger than her.  The reason I have looked at the family, is that sometimes it allows a glimpse of the reasons why people made choices, such as whether to marry or not.  Perhaps Kate, as we will now refer to her (perhaps she preferred to use her second name), felt forced into marriage, and the Women’s Suffrage movement helped her assert herself.

After her marriage Kate had three daughters (and it seems the third Rita had a male twin Rex, who died in 1906, but that needs confirmation), but then her husband Frank died in 1905.  Her marriage left her with money, a governess for her daughters, and four servants, in stark contrast with her sisters whose husbands were skilled manual workers.

Kate was involved in early meetings of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage (NSPU) (Woodford, p.7, quoting a thesis by Gillian Rutter).  After her husband’s death it seems she became  a physiotherapist, albeit untrained, and was heavily involved in voluntary work with East London poor (ibid p.9).  At some point she met Charlotte Despard, through whose diaries we get a much better picture of Kate Harvey. They lived together, & protested together, forming a close bond.  I will not repeat the full story here as others have already covered it in greater depth, but after a siege of her home, bailiffs eventually broke in, and The Times tells us,

Mrs Catherine Harvey, of Bromley, a member of the Women’s Freedom League, has been conveyed to Holloway Prison to undergo two month’s imprisonment. At Bromley Police Court some five weeks ago Mrs. Harvey was ordered to pay fines amounting to over £16 under an Insurance Act application and over £5 under the Kent County Council prosecution. She declined to pay, and her presentimprisonment is the outcome of her refusal. (The Times, 1913)

After the war she took up work with children again, running some form of school at Hartfield in Sussex. Her close relationship with Despard weakened. Running of that school was taken over by The Invalid Children’s Aid Association from 1924 to 1927, but then she took up running the school again.  You can read more about Kate Harvey in the article by Doreen Woodford, who investigated to what extent she signed.  After conversation with a witness, it seems that Harvey used finger-spelling rather than sign language.

She died at her house of Wroth Tyes, Hartfield, in 1946.

I could not find her in the 1911 census.  Perhaps I did not look hard enough, but I suppose it is possible she refused to fill in the form.
Article from The Vote, June the 17th, 1911

The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Sep 03, 1913; pg. 4; Issue 40307

Woodford, Doreen A. ‘A Deaf Fighter for the Rights of Women.’ Deaf History Journal, 1999, Vol.2 (3) p.7-21


A Deaf Women from the Suffrage Movement, Helen Kirkpatrick Watts (1881-1972)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 March 2018

There at least are two women from the suffrage movement who are of interest to the history of d/Deaf people.

This week, Helen Kirkpatrick Watts, was born on the 13th of July 1881, in Bishop Wearmouth, Sunderland.  Her grandfather Henry, was classics teacher in Sussex, and father, Alan Hunter Watts, was a Church of England clergyman, who was for many years Vicar at Lenton, Nottinghamshire.  Her mother, Ethelinda, was born to British parents in Oporto.  Helen was one of nine children.  One of her father’s brothers was John Hunter Watts, a life-long socialist who was a friend of William Morris.  I wonder whether he had any influence on her becoming politically active as a suffragette?

She does not appear on census returns a ‘deaf’ but we know that it those forms do not always reflect the reality, as the informant might not be aware of the hearing loss or might wish to ignore it.  However, from corroborating evidence we know that Helen had hearing loss, though how bad we cannot be sure.  Her friend Helen Blaythwayt said “She is a nice girl, but difficult to talk with because besides being very deaf herself she speaks so that it is very difficult to understand her.” (p.702, Crawford, 2001)

Crawford quotes Watts as saying,

“Votes for Women” will not be won by drawing room chatter. It has got to be fought for in the market-places, and if we don’t fight for it, no-one else will… The open-air meeting is a symbol of the principles, the method, and the spirit of the most vigorous movement towards Woman Suffrage in England today. The Suffragettes have come out of the drawing room, the study and the debating hall, and the committee rooms of Members of Parliament, to appeal to the real sovereign power of the country – THE PEOPLE.

Helen was imprisoned in Holloway gaol in 1909, and she spoke at many public meetings on socialist and feminist topics.  After she left the Women’s Suffrage Political Union Helen joined the Women’s Freedom League. During the war she nursed at the Mineral Water Hospital, Bath and later worked at the war office and Ministry of Labour before she emigrated to Canada for a while, perhaps intending to stay with her sister Ethelinda.  For some reason she returned to Britain, leaving a trunk of posessions and papers in Avonmouth Docks for many years.  She died in Somerset in August, 1972.

Read more about her on Elizabeth Crawford’s web pages.  I think much more could be put together about her life from all these disparate sources.

Crawford, Elizabeth, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928, 2001.


Suffrage Stories: Helen Watts And The Mystery Of The Unclaimed Trunk

The Times (London, England), Friday, Feb 26, 1909; pg. 7; Issue 38893

Census 1911 Class: RG14; Piece: 14657; Schedule Number: 101

Census 1901 Class: RG13; Piece: 3164; Folio: 129; Page: 18

Census 1891 Class: RG12; Piece: 639; Folio: 7; Page: 8


Four Deaf Brothers of Bristol, and various Deaf spouses…

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 2 March 2018

In the late 19th Ccentury, the Williams family of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, was large – ten children in all, including four deaf brothers, Henry (1850-192?), George (1852-193?), Frederick (1861-193?), and Joshua (1868-1954).  Henry was the first child, son of a Westbury labourer, Henry Williams (1820-86) and his Hull born wife, Matilda Ingram (1826-1912).  Henry was born in Hull, so he might be claimed by the Yorkshire Deaf community as one of their own, while the other brothers were all born in Gloucestershire, where the family moved in the 1850s.

The boys all attended the Park Row School, according to the British Deaf Times (1930 p.79).  Henry, or Harry, was there in the 1861 census, along with George, living in we must suppose.  The school was then under the headmaster John Clyne, who was Scottish born, and whose wife Caroline was the matron.   In the 1891 census Harry is shown as a blacksmith, a trade also followed by George.  The article from 1930 says Harry ‘died a few years ago, in London’ though I am not ot sure when, as Henry Williams is not going to be a rare name!  George was at school with Henry, and their names are next to each other on the census record.  George left Bristol and moved to Cardiff in 1887, retiring circa 1928 (ibid).  He had married a Deaf Bristolian lady in 1881, Mary Ann Burston (1856-19??).  Mary was a pupil at Park Row in 1871, when it was under the headship of the Yorkshire born teacher, Robert James Jackson, with his wife Thirza, who was matron.  George made a mess of the 1911 census form, but it looks as if they had no children, or maybe one.

Fred was Mary Ann’s contemporary at the same school, and so was her younger brother, Henry Burston (b.1861).  The 1861 census shows us that Mary Ann’s older sister, Maria Burston (b.1845) was also deaf, but she never married, working in Bristol as a laundress.

The next three boys, John, Frank and James, were all hearing.

Joshua, the youngest of the deaf boys, became a ‘boot clicker,’ and married a deaf lady, Mabel Florence Hurley (1869-1848), whose name appears just before his on the 1881 census record for the Bristol Institution.  At that time they were at Tyndalls Park School, and under the headship of William B. Smith.  Mabel, who was born in Weston-Super-Mare, daughter of Thomas Hurley a railway policeman and his wife Martha, was ‘deaf from childhood’ according to the 1881 census, and I think we might hazard a guess that it was due to illness.

Fred also worked in the shoe trade.  Fred’s wife, Mary Emery, was hearing, and they had eight children.

Here we see Fred, then 69, George, then 77, and Joshua, then 62.

I am sure that there are many interesting things to be discovered about these people and their relationships.

British Deaf Times 1930 p.79

see also Census returns. 

[Usually I give the full reference but today there were too many to do that easily in the time available.  The details should be comparatively easy to find using a family history database, although the common name makes finding death records a lot more difficult.

For those of you with an www.ancestry.co.uk account, begin here where someone has put together records for Joshua and Mabel https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/42185401/person/19995316700/facts]


Hearing Awareness Day – Patient Information

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 27 February 2018

By Abir Mukherjee @ClinicalLibUCLH

This second post of this series highlights a small selection of reliable patient information resources for hearing loss in general. Once again, these sources either meet the NHS Information Standard or are produced by reputable organisations.

Action on Hearing Loss (formerly the Royal National Institute for Deaf People – RNID) estimates that one in six people in the UK has hearing loss or is deaf, and increasingly people are accessing help to hear better. Their website discusses in clear terms, the different types and causes of hearing loss and deafness, as well as what people can do if they are worried about hearing loss – from seeing a GP to getting hearing aids or a cochlear implant. They also have a very useful glossary for hearing disorders and symptoms. NHS CHOICES also provides a relevant overview of hearing loss including symptoms and treatment options. In line with this year’s World Hearing Day theme of ‘Hear the Future’ they also discuss some simple but common sense ways of reducing the risk of damage to hearing such as:

· not having the television, radio or music on too loud

· using headphones that block out more outside noise, instead of turning up the volume

· wearing ear protection (such as ear defenders) in a noisy environments

· using ear protection at loud concerts and other events where there are high noise levels

· not inserting objects ears – this includes fingers, cotton buds, cotton wool and tissues

· Get a hearing test as soon as possible if worried about hearing loss -the earlier hearing loss is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it.

ENT UK, produced by the Royal College of Surgeons also has easy to understand information on ear anatomy and how the ear works to explain hearing disorders and common causes. Patient Info also has a range of pertinent information on hearing disorders and downloadable leaflets.

Background for World Hearing Day

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 26 February 2018

By Abir Mukherjee

World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year in order to raise awareness and understanding of deafness and hearing loss, and to promote ear health and the care provided by audiologists across the world.

This year’s theme is “Hear the future”, and World Hearing Day 2018 hopes to draw attention to the anticipated rise in people with hearing loss around the world in the coming decades.

The WHO’s figures estimate 466 million people worldwide live with disabling hearing loss. Unless action is taken, by 2030 the number will rise to nearly 630 million.

Key initiatives for #WorldHearingDay2018 include preventative strategies to stem the rise in hearing loss and steps to ensure access to the necessary rehabilitation services; communication tools and products for people with hearing loss.

All of these are important areas of research for Action on Hearing Loss, the UCL Ear Institute, the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, and many other colleagues and organisations in the UK and further afield.

Throughout the week we will be writing blogs highlighting evidence and information in support of “Hear the future”, and World Hearing Day.

References: World Health Organization. (2018). 3 March 2018: World Hearing Day. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/deafness/world-hearing-day/whd-2018/en/ [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018].

Silent Drill by Signs – a Scout Sign System from 1934

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 16 February 2018

Written in 1934 or 1935 by Martin Baker, who was Assistant County Commissioner for the Training of Scouters in Birminmgham, Silent Drill by Signs tells us that,

There is a fascination in Drill by Signs, a sense of good-will, cheeriness and scout atmosphere which is not to be found in Sergeant-Major’s methods.

Those participating experience an increased alertness, and can attain by the Sign method a smartness hitherto impossible, and this without domineering or bullying.

The idea of using Signs for drill is not new- some of the signs are as old as the hills; it is in the method of use that the new feature lies, and it will be found to make all the difference between perfect performance and chaos.

Although Drill by Signs has been taught on the Wood Badge Courses sincve the very beginning of Training, it has not become the onl;y scouty way of moving scouts, because the method lacked one essential of any good drill, an adequate warning.

The Sign given not only showed the Scouts what was required, but it was also the signal to do it!  Hence the brightest moved first, and there was no unanimity of movement, which is the soul of smart drill.

The method here described was first used as a camp-fire item at Oslo, during the “Calgaric Cruise” in the Baltic.  A team of twelve Scouters volunyteered to be drilled by this method, and the success of the attempt prompted others to take it up.  I therefore offer it to Scouters and Guuiders generally as a new and successful method which I believe will prove worth trying.

The Signs I have suggested are a mixture of those taught at Gilwell, American Indian Sign Language, and some made up on the spur of the moment, usually good common sense, descriptive of the required action where possible.

Other Signs may be invented as desired, but keep them simple, and if possible descriptive.

It is interesting to compare the sign used for ‘form line,’ with the Indian sign for ‘soldiers’ in Ernest Thomas Seton‘s 1918 book, Sign Talk.  In the scout version, Baker has the hands held high to be seen more clearly.  Seton was a pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America.  That book was in turn heavily influenced by the U.S. general, Hugh L. Scott, who had learnt Indian signs from a Kiowa, I-See-O.  Click on the images for a larger size.
We have a copy of Seton’s book that is heavily annotated by Paget.

I think our copy of Silent Drill is pretty rare.

Tinnitus in the media…

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 February 2018

Tinnitus frequently appears in newspapers and online news sources. Because anyone who suffers from a chronic condition can get frustrated, despressed and angry at the inabilty of medical science to cure the condition, that makes people ready to grasp at anything that could give them hope, offering to alleviate or cure the condition. Tinnitus is no exception, and below are a few recent stories that cover it, all in this case from the Daily Mail, though other papers and websites could equally have been included.

It pays to be a little sceptical with health stories.  Always ask yourself the questions –

  • who produced the study or studies behind the story?
  • are they reputable researchers, or are they selling something?
  • has the article given the original source where the study is published?
  • is the newspaper story written by someone who knows what they are writing about, or is it a staff writer who is regurgitating a press release which has a positive spin?
  • If the study is based on a group of patients, was it a small number or a large number?

I am not saying these stories are invalid, but the headlines are never written by the author, and they often disguise the facts.  People come away remembering the headlines, not the complete story.  Read these stories, but with caution.

Do YOU suffer from tinnitus? Study reveals ‘resetting’ brain cells using electric currents can alleviate the misery of phantom sounds
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5232433/Study-reveals-resetting-brain-cells-cure-tinnitus.html#ixzz56cL3gYau

Google alert helps to end a former Royal Marine’s 10-year tinnitus hell: Notification highlighted pioneering IPOD-based therapy that has allowed veteran to ‘function again as a human being’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5030949/Royal-Marine-tinnitus-finds-relief-IPOD-therapy.html#ixzz56cMfslW7

Fed up with the noise of modern life? FEMAIL reveals how at home EAR YOGA can help
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5337717/Fed-noise-modern-life.html#ixzz56cV58VzY

Tinnitus Awareness Week 2018 – Suggested reading

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 February 2018

Tinnitus is an active area for research, because it bothers so many people.  Even if you do not have it, there is a good chance you know someone who has it in some form, ranging from a minor irritation to a serious frustration.  People are looking for cures, but management of the condition seems the most realistic solution for most people.  Here are a few suggested books that might help those who have tinnitus.

For non-experts –

Living with tinnitus and hyperacusis, by Laurence Mckenna, David Baguley and Don McFerran, 2010.

This book has 4 or 5 stars in 75% of the Amazon.co.uk public reviews.

Tinnitus: Questions and Answers, by Jack Vernon and Barbara Sanders, 2001. ISBN-13 978-0205326853

“The questions in this book are from patients. The answers are written for patients and for interested health care providers too. The book covers causes, treatments, and other topics with a format similar to the column written by the author in “Tinnitus Today” magazine.”

For Experts –

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy: Implementing the Neurophysiological Model, by Pawel Jastreboff and Jonathan Hazell, 2004.  ISBN 0521592569

‘One of the nice things about being asked to review a book is that you get to keep a copy if it – and this is certainly a book well worth keeping. This is a thought-provoking and stimulating book for dipping into, for referring to, for speed-reading and for reading thoroughly from cover to cover. It will be a useful addition to the shelves of professionals who work with people with tinnitus.’ Tinnitus Focus

Tinnitus, by by David Baguley, Gerhard Andersson,‎ Don McFerran,‎ Laurence McKenna, 2nd edition 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1405199896

‘The 2nd edition has been thoroughly updated and revised in line with the very latest developments in the field. The book contains 40% new material including two brand new chapters on neurophysiological models of tinnitus and emerging treatments.’

Tinnitus Awareness Week – Patient Information

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 February 2018

By Abir Mukherjee @ClinicalLibUCLH

Tinnitus Week is an international event raising global awareness of this condition taking place from 5-11 February 2018. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the condition. This blog post gives a quick overview of some patient information sources, all of which meet NHS England’s patient information standard.

The Action on Hearing Loss website has a number of free factsheets on its website in addition to a tinnitus helpline number: https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/hearing-health/tinnitus/

The British Tinnitus Association believes the condition affects approximately 1 in 10 of the population in the UK. Other details about tinnitus awareness week, information sheets, and a helpline can be accessed at their website: https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/h-blog

The website also has a case study of living with tinnitus which is now on BBC news.

NHS Choices defines tinnitus as ‘hearing sounds that come from inside your body, rather than from an outside source’ with sufferers describing ‘ringing in the ears’ or ‘buzzing; humming; grinding; hissing or whistling.’ As a starting point for most patient information it can be accessed at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tinnitus/

An overview of symptoms and treatment options is also available from the Patient.co.uk website at: https://patient.info/health/tinnitus-leaflet

ENT UK, a professional membership body that represents Ear, Nose and Throat and its related specialities also has patient information on tinnitus that can be downloaded from: https://www.entuk.org/sites/default/files/files/ENT/About%20Tinnitus%206pp%20DL%20%2809028%29_7_16.pdf.

Tinnitus Awareness Week 2018 – recent research articles on Tinnitus

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 February 2018

By AbirMukherjee @ClinicalLibUCLH

This blog post examines a small selection of recent research articles on tinnitus in the journal literature following a search on MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycInfo databases, limited to the last two years.

Philips et al (2018) cautiously provide statistical evidence that tinnitus generally improves over time, albeit the effect is highly variable across individuals. Their systematic review and meta-analysis focusses on the natural history of the condition by evaluating long-term progression in participants in the no-intervention control arm of clinical trials.

Wang et al (2018) in another systematic review and meta-analysis focus on the effects of direct current stimulation (tDCS) on patients with tinnitus, as previous studies on tDCS have discussed a reduction in symptoms but demonstrated variable results. They conclude that the pooled results demonstrate a greater reduction in distress for groups treated with tDCS as compared with those administered a sham treatment.

A smaller recent RCT by McKenna et al (2017) investigated whether mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could offer an effective new therapy for tinnitus. The results showed that treatment was effective regardless of initial tinnitus severity, duration, or hearing loss. The authors concluded MBCT is effective in reducing tinnitus severity in chronic tinnitus patients compared to intensive relaxation therapy by reducing psychological distress and disability. As limitations, future studies need to look at the generalizability of this approach and how outcome relates to different aspects of the intervention.

A systematic review in 2017 on environmental noise and permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (Śliwińska-Kowalska et al 2017) found a positive correlation between noise level and hearing loss either at standard or extended high frequencies. However only a limited number of studies met their inclusion criteria and the authors acknowledge that all of the evidence was of low quality. They recommend future studies to provide actionable guidance for personal listening device users.

All of these articles are available at the UCL Ear Institute & Action on Hearing Loss Libraries – contact staff for help accessing full text.


McKenna, L., Marks, E.M., Hallsworth, C.A. and Schaette, R., 2017. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy as a Treatment for Chronic Tinnitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 86(6), pp.351-361.

Phillips, J.S., McFerran, D.J., Hall, D.A. and Hoare, D.J., 2018. The natural history of subjective tinnitus in adults: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of no‐intervention periods in controlled trials. The Laryngoscope, 128(1), pp.217-227.

Śliwińska-Kowalska, M. and Zaborowski, K., 2017. WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Permanent Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(10), p.1139. OPEN ACCESS

Wang, T.C., Tyler, R.S., Chang, T.Y., Chen, J.C., Lin, C.D., Chung, H.K. and Tsou, Y.A., 2018. Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Patients With Tinnitus: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 127(2), pp.79-88.