By H Dominic W Stiles, on 20 December 2013
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By H Dominic W Stiles, on 20 December 2013
On November 3rd 1880 a notice appeared in the Times stating that in a response to the Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf (also called the Milan Congress), they had “decided to give a specific trial to the pure oral system for educating the deaf” (see Time Digital Archive).
Eager to pounce on this opportunity to inveigle themselves into involvement with the school, the Society for Training Teachers of the Deaf and for the Diffusion of the German System wrote to the school.
After inquiring as to whether the report was the case, they then said,
this Association will be happy to co-operate in any way in their power in carrying out the contemplated trial, and would willingly consider any proposals they might make both as to the supply of teachers already qualified, or as to the training of other teachers on the pure oral system, for the furtherance of the object above referred to. (see minute book & images one & two below)
The school secretary W.H. Warwick replies,
I have to inform you that your polite letter of the 3rd ins. was submitted to my committee on Saturday last, when I received instructions to beg your acceptance of their thanks for the same, and to inform you that their arrangements are such that it will not be necessary to consider any proposals for the supply of or training of teachers under the auspices of your Association.
The Society for Training Teachers of the Deaf (1875-1915) had been founded by Sir Benjamin Ackers, father of a Deaf daughter. The poor daughter was a guinea pig for his hobbyhorse, the oral system, but sadly was found years later by Gilby, living an isolated existence with very little ability to communicate in any way.
The recently appointed head of the London Asylum (1878) and long time teacher at the school before that, Richard Elliott, was clearly reluctant to lose control over education at the school, which we might divine was the intention of the Society.
There is much more along these lines to be found in the minute books.
To see the full sized pages click onto the images.
Minute books of the society
The Times, Wednesday, Nov 03, 1880; pg. 11; Issue 30029; col G
SOCIETY FOR TRAINING TEACHERS OF THE DEAF (1875-1915)
(Society for Training Teachers of the Deaf and for the Diffusion of the German System)
Also called the Ealing Society. Amalgamated with the Fitzroy Sq. Association for the Oral Instruction of the Deaf & dumb to form the National Association for the Oral Instruction of the Deaf & Dumb.
Joseph Hepworth, “I thought… that there were probably only about a dozen deaf men in the wide world”
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 December 2013
Born in Wakefield, Joseph Hepworth (1865-1921) was for a long time British Deaf Times proprietor and editor. He lost his hearing when he was eight, but retained his speech. One of a large family, Joseph’s father George had a business making boilers. His obituary says he ‘drifted’ into work as a missioner, having hardly thought of his deafness when younger – “I thought [...] that there were probably only about a dozen deaf men in the wide world.” (obituary p.73)
When he was 22 he met a deaf house-painter and knowing the manual alphabet, Hepworth conversed with him, which in turn led him to get more involved with his fellows in the deaf community. Moving to Leeds, his eyes were opened as to the educational needs of the deaf, and he began to work for the missioner Mr Moreton. In 1896 he was appointed as Missioner to the Glamorgan and Monmouth Mission, where he continued until his death.
His journalistic career ran alongside his mission work
- beginning on the Deaf Chronicle with colleagues A.M. Cuttell, Charles Gorham, H.B. Beale and E.A. Kirk
- then the British Deaf Mute
- which became the British Deaf Monthly
- and in 1902 the British Deaf Times
Looking back through files, I confess that I am amazed at the number of contributions from Mr. Hepworth’s own brain. In his Editorial article he continually pleaded for unity and co-operation amongst the various workers and associations concerned in the welfare of the deaf. He fought hard against opression, prejudice, bigotry and tyrannyin every shape and form; and ignorance had no doughtier opponent than he. (Obituary, p.74)
Joseph Hepworth, a memoir, British Deaf Times 1921, vol 18, p.72-4
Mr. Joseph Hepworth, Peeps into the Deaf World, p.343-5 (illus)
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 6 December 2013
As well as this well known or who were great teachers, doctors, philanthropists etc, we think it is important to remember or bring to light some of the more humble lives of ordinary people. Philip Charles Goodwin (1862-1934) was such a one. He was a well known Deaf man in his lifetime, being part of the deaf community in south London. Goodwin made a living of sorts on the streets of various towns and cities by cutting silhouettes. His father Thomas, a soldier who became a police constable, was born in London, while his mother must have died when he was young. The 1871 census says he was ‘Deaf by fit’. The family moved around a fair bit for his older brother Frederick was born in Norwich while Philip was born in a barracks in York. May Jemima, his older sister was born Surrey, and later lived in Balham.
His earnings from the silhouette cutting, at one time a penny (see below) and later tuppence, were carefully saved in the National Penny Bank. This bank was set up by Sir George Christopher Trout Bartley but it failed disastrously for all the small savers who used it , in August 1914 at the start of the Great War. He moved around the country, and his obituarist W.R., recalls seeing him plying his art in both York and Northallerton. At Great Yarmouth “a mischievous person once fired a shot out of an airgun at his box on the tripod, and there was a police court sequel.” (W.R. 1934)
He did not marry but lived as a lodger, at one time with a friend, a deaf man called Mr. Brown, who exhibited on the streets a model he had made. Goodwin had to enter Lambeth Hospital due to ill health, and sadly was removed to Tooting Bec Mental Hospital where he died in 1934. (A good many poor Deaf people were sent to mental hospitals over the years, probably because they had communication difficulties, though it may be that is was just a convenient place to send someone before modern care homes and hospices existed.)
W.R. (possibly W. Carey Roe?) says,
He was the first deaf and dumb Londoner that I met on taking up work there in July, 1892. He was standing on the corner of Manor Street, Clapham, following his occupation, and was one of the first members of Miss Mangham’s Bible Class at Old St. Saviour’s, Oxford Street.
Perhaps someone will remember the name of the cartoonist who drew the picture below. I am pretty sure this would have appeared in the British Deaf Times or a related title in the early years of the 20th Century – a judicious search would no doubt turn up the original, but this comes from our photograph postcard collection.
Most of this is based on -
W.R., Obituary, Late Mr. P. C. Goodwin, British Deaf Times, Vol. 31, November-December 1934, p.125
1871 census Class: RG10; Piece: 655; Folio: 40; Page: 33; GSU roll: 818941.
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 November 2013
This book is an adaptation of a work Ideer Zu Einer Mimik (1795) by Johann Jakob Engel, German philosopher and dramatist. The illustrations were familiar to Charles Darwin from his research for the book The expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872), via Moreau’s edited edition of Lavater which used many of these images (see Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture by Jonathan Smith, 2009). To my eyes they seem a little stiff – some work better than others.
Henry Siddons was part of a great acting family. His mother Sarah was a notable actress, remembered today by the Sarah Siddons Society that gives an award to a female actor, while his aunts, uncles and cousins were all successful in the theatre.
We like the emotion ‘indifference’ here – however we are not sure that we would display it quite like that!
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 November 2013
Peter Zwarts (1933-2013) formerly the Institute of Laryngology and Otology Librarian, died in Petersfield on 12th of August 2013.
We are grateful to Ray Allen who worked here from 1991 – 2005 and knew Peter well, for most of the following information about his interesting life. Ray says,
we breakfasted and often had supper together (when the canteen stayed open to provide hot dinners to 7.30pm!). He always left Petersfield at about 5.50 am. to be in for breakfast at 7.20 am. departing home at close of play/canteen, sharp at 7.35 pm. I had met him quite a few years before when I worked at a small ENT Research Institute at the Middlesex Hospital. He had a tremendous reputation with most ENT consultants and Researchers from the 60′s to 1990′s, not just at Grays Inn Road but from around the UK, who knew him and visited him at the Library whenever they were in London for courses or the RSM monthly meetings. In a pre computer age it seemed as if all published work on ENT both historic through to current journals was stored in his head….. he hated the computer!
Knowing so many people in ENT, the library became a clubbish place where smoking was allowed, filled with many of the late Professor Hinchcliffe‘s cohort of doctors.
He was born in Holland, to the north west of Amsterdam, and had, Ray says,
a very tough time during the occupation, talking movingly of the famine north of the Rhine in the last winter of the war, when they were reduced to trying to survive on tulip bulbs dug from the fields. The Germans and particularly the Dutch Nazis, worried no doubt about the retribution to come, were at their most brutish with the civil population and I believe a number of his family paid a very high price.
I think he did his Librarianship training in Holland and England. He went to America in the early 1950′s working at The New York Public Library. There he was able to indulge in his great passion, Jazz. Completely oblivious to the dangers he walked everywhere, and his thick Dutch/ English accent, unusual to the American ear, allowed him to stroll nightly into Harlem and into black only venues where he was accepted (and walked out again unharmed, in the early hours). The Dutch being the original New York colonists (Harlem/Yonkers etc..), perhaps he just felt at home.
Night after night he listened to and chatted with, some of the most famous jazz musicians and bands of the period. His jazz knowledge was encyclopaedic and he had a vast collection of music at home. His other great passion was cigars, the only man I know to own a humidor, to keep his collection in prime condition. [...] A real ‘Character’ with an unexpected hinterland.
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 22 November 2013
Leonard Motler, Deaf freethinker and anarchist (1888-1967)
Occasionally you come across someone who stands out from the crowd. Leonard Augustine Motler was one of those people. Born in Eccles in 1888, Motler was the son of Joseph & Bertha Motler, a pattern card maker and a tobacconist. At the age of five he lost his hearing, we can presume from a contagious illness such as scarlet fever or measles. He was sent to the Roman Catholic St. John’s Institution for Deaf and Dumb at Boston Spa. In 1911 he was still in Lancashire working as a printer, but he must have gravitated to London shortly after.
He was an important, if forgotten, figure in the early labour then anarchist movements of the early 20th century, and possible introduced Sylvia Pankhurst to her partner Silvo Corio.
A review of John Quail’s The Slow Burning Fuse (1978), [...] identifies the long-forgotten Leonard Motler (a deaf mute who had abandoned the pro-war socialist movement for anarchism in 1914) as being among the first to condemn the Bolshevik coup in Russia. In December 1917 Motler wrote in his self-published journal, Satire, that ‘The Russian Revolution is running agley. These little things happen when the people permit new rulers to pose as their saviours, instead of saving themselves by running the country on their own’ (p.205). (Hodgson 2009, quoting work of Nicholas Walter, p.126)
Perhaps the type of education he got at Boston Spa gave him a good grounding in written English, but it seems that the ‘Christian Doctrine’ that the school imposed on it pupils (for which see various school annual reports) must have caused him to ‘kick against the pricks’ (Acts 9:5-6).
The article below appeared in September 1920, though I am not sure where it was published. In it Leonard Motler points out what will be obvious to anyone who studies the history of Deaf people over the 19th century, how education was promoted and controlled by the religious institutions.
There is perhaps hardly a school for the deaf in the British Isles not controlled to some extent by the clergy. The only Roman Catholic school of the kind in England is controlled by nuns of St. Vincent de Paul. Having been educated there myself, I can vouch for the fact that religious instruction counts first and last and in-between. The pupils rise before 7 a.m., when there is a mass said practically every day of the year, at which, of course, they all attend. The first thing in the morning lessons is inevitably catechism, and on Sundays this is made a special subject for the elder pupils.
Motler seems to be a fascinating character. It is interesting to see that he ended up living in South Africain 1921, following his sister Bertha (see article by Heath below), as the Rev. Fred Gilby (see earlier posts) went out there in the late 1920s on mission work.
The French speaker he mentions at the end of this article should be identifiable with a little work.
If anyone has more information about Motler, please do comment. Perhaps there are people in South Africa who recall him?
Click onto the image for a readable size.
Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb (scrapbook one)
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 November 2013
This is intended to suggest some reading about how BSL came to be recognised by the British Government. Feel free to suggest other source material.
- In 1987/88 the British Deaf Association mounted a campaign calling for the official recognition of BSL. The campaign report (see below) included the text of the EC regulation for official recognition of sign languages, which was successfully debated at Strasbourg in June 1988.
BRITISH DEAF ASSOCIATION. BSL – Britain’s fourth language: the case for official recognition for British Sign Language. BDA, 1987.
The European Parliament gave its total support for the recognition of Sign Languages. British Deaf News, 1988, Jul, 1.
- At the 3rd European Congress on Sign Language Research held in Hamburg in July 1989, delegates agreed a statement which lists the political action needed to alter the current situation.
Statement on the recognition of the national sign languages of the deaf. Prillwitz, S. and Vollhaber, T. Current trends in European sign language research. Signum Press, 1990. pp. 404-06.
- A written question on official recognition of BSL was put to the Prime Minister by Jack Ashley, MP and answered by the PM (John Major) on Tuesday 18 June 1991. The extract from Hansard is as follows:
“MR JACK ASHLEY: To ask the Prime Minister, what is Her Majesty’s Government’s policy towards the recommendation of the EEC resolution of June 1988; and if he will give official recognition to British Sign for the Deaf.
THE PRIME MINISTER: The Government has noted the terms of the resolution on sign languages for deaf people adopted by the European Parliament in June 1988. We fully recognise the right of deaf people to use their preferred method of communication, including British Sign Language, and have grant aided a variety of organisations concerned with the promotion and development of sign languages and other communication techniques.”
- Jack Ashley also tabled an Early Day Motion calling upon the Government to give official recognition to BSL and to remedy the current shortage of fully trained interpreters (EDM 943).
Sign Language. British Deaf News. 1991, Sep, 5.
- A motion for the recognition of BSL as an official UK language failed to be accepted at the Labour Party Conference in 1997 because of the complications of the voting system.
Labour fails to recognise Sign Language. British Deaf News, 1998, Jan, 3.
- The European Parliament reiterated its support for the rights of deaf people to use sign language as their preferred language with a second resolution on sign languages. Richard Howitt, MEP, announced the intention of asking the European Commission what had been done to implement the resolution.
Resolution on sign languages voted in European Parliament 10 years ago. EUD Update, 1998, May, 1.
- The CACDP and BDA asked the Government why BSL is not included in the European Charter for Minority Languages.
European recognition for Gaelic – what about BSL? British Deaf News, 1998, Aug, 1.
No recognition for BSL in Euro Charter. CACDP Standard, 1998, 33, 1.
- BDA gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Disablement, as a first step in the BDA campaign to get BSL recognised as a minority language under the European Minority Languages Charter which the UK signed.
BDA takes campaign to Parliament. British Deaf News, 1999, Jun, 1.
- Federation of Deaf People organised a march to present a petition calling for official recognition of British Sign Language at No. 10, Downing Street, June 1999.
4,000 march for British Sign Language. British Deaf News, 1999, Aug, 1, 6-7.
It’s our right to choose. Disability Times. 1999, Aug/Sep, 5.
RNID News Review, 1999, 28 Aug-10 Sep, 36.
Sign of the times. Disability Now, 1999, Aug, 1. (photo only)
- UNISON (the UK’s largest trade union) supported a campaign for official recognition of BSL.
Unison joins campaign for BSL to be recognised. British Deaf News, 1999, Nov, 3.
- British Deaf Association sent a delegation to meet MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) with the aim of getting legislation through the Scottish Parliament in its next session.
British Deaf Association calls on Scottish Parliament to recognise sign language. British Deaf News, 1999, Dec, 7.
- On 16th of February 2000, the Scottish Parliament debated the official recognition of BSL.
Scots leading way on BSL. Disability Now, 2000, Mar, 1.
Historic Scottish Parliament BSL debate. Disability View, 2000, May/Jun, 37.
RNID News Review, 2000, 12-26 May, 21.
- BDA published its sign language policy, to form the basis of a campaign to raise the status of BSL.
BDA sign language policy: summary of feedback from consultants. British Deaf News, 2000, Apr, 14-15.
- Federation of Deaf People organises further marches in support of official recognition of BSL, summer 2000.
DAY, L. BSL recognition for Bristol! British Deaf news, 2000, Dec, 20.
My experience at the BSL Rally. Deaf Arts UK, 2000, 13, 12-13 (Deaf children talk about their performances in Trafalgar Square.)
- British Deaf Association launched a poster campaign calling for the official recognition of BSL, Autumn 2000.
The BDA shows the finger to the Government. British Deaf News, 2000, Nov, 16.
Poster hands out strong message. Disability Now, 2000, Nov, 4.
- The London Borough of Barnet recognised BSL as an official Community Language.
Barnet recognises BSL. CACDP Standard, 2000, 42, 9.
- The UK Council on Deafness organised a submission to the Disability Rights Commission calling for the official recognition of BSL: 25 out of 37 members signed the submission; 3 members specifically said they were unable to sign the submission – DELTA, the Ewing Foundation, and the RNID.
Deaf organisations join forces for official recognition. British Deaf News, 2000, Dec, 14.
BSL submission. Bulletin (UKCOD), 2001, Spring, 1.
- The Disability Rights Commission published its advice to the Government on recognition of BSL.
See DRC website at: www.drc-gb.org
Sign language campaigners step up pressure on the Government. British Deaf News, 2001, Feb, 15.
- BDA leaders met Margaret Hodge, Minister for Disabled people, to press for immediate action on BSL recognition.
BDA update: BSL recognition. British Deaf News, 2001, May, 21.
- Police arrested protestors as a splinter group at a Wolverhampton rally in support of BSL recognition blocked city centre traffic.
Six arrested in Wolverhampton protest. British Deaf News, 2001, May, 6-7.
Delegation of representatives from deaf organisations meets Maria Eagle, Minister for Disabled people, on 31 January 2002. Magazine (BATOD), 2002, Apr, 46.
- Letter to Maria Eagle, drawing parallels with the Cornish language, September 2002.
BSL rec update. Information Bulletin (FDP), 2002, 6(2), 3.
- Malcolm Bruce took up ‘recognition of sign languages’ challenge
British Deaf News, 2003, Jan, 13.
- On 19 December 2002, MEPs voted in support of a Conservative proposal, which gave sign language its first recognition as a minority language.
British Deaf News, 2003, Feb, 13.
- On 18 March 2003 the Government made a formal statement that it recognised that BSL is a language in its own right (quoting an estimated 70,000 people whose preferred language it is), and promising to invest £1 million in a programme of initiatives to support this statement.
British Deaf News, 2003, Apr, 5-7. (with text of statement); May, 26.
CACDP Standard, 2003, 52, 1-2.
WFD News. 2003, 16(2), 38. (with text of statement)
- British Deaf News published results of its survey of city councils’ recognition of BSL
BSL recognition: city councils. British Deaf news, 2003, Jun, 12-13.
ATHERTON, M. Welsh today, B.S.L. tomorrow? Deaf Worlds, 1999, 15(1), 11-15.
DARBY, A. and REDHEAD, C. Social work with deaf people. Deaf Worlds, 2000, 16(3), 69-73. (p. 73 refers to what recognition of BSL implies.)
BOWMAN, C. Official recognition of BSL: some insights from the Welsh Language Act 1993. Deaf Worlds, 2001, 17(1), 7-13.
KRAUSNEKER, V. Sign languages and the minority language policy of the European Union. In METZGER, M. Bilingualism and identity in deaf communities. 2000, Gallaudet University Press. pp. 142-158. (RNID Library location: UTB TNX)
KRAUSNEKER, V. Sign languages of Europe – future chances. In LEESON, L. Looking forward: EUD in the 3rd millenium…. 2001, Douglas McLean. pp. 64-73. (RNID Library location: Conf Coll/1998)
The status of sign languages in the European Union in 2001, and Overview of country-by-country analysis. EUD Update, 2001, 4(10), 1-30. (pp. 25-26 cover progress in the UK, including legislation to improve status of BSL).
AQUILINE C-A. Sign language recognition. WFD News, 2003, 1692), 7. (Lists countries that have recognised sign language with an indication of what ‘official recognition’ is in each country.)
TURNER, G. Government recognition and £1 million boost for British Sign Language. Deaf Worlds, 2003, 19(1), S74-S78.
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 1 November 2013
George Beale was born on 1849 at Croxteth path near Liverpool (British Deaf Mute 1894, p.116-7, from which much of this is culled). His father worked for the Earl of Sefton . George lost his hearing aged two “having caught fever” before he had acquired any spoken English . At eight he attended the School for the Deaf in Oxford Street Liverpool, and was we are told by the BDM taught by the ‘silent method’, as this would have been before the German or Oral method became established in Britain. Feeling his education inadequate, he ‘cultivated the society of books’ (ibid). Working at his self-education like this
he might, with perfect truth, be held up as a fine example of the successful pursuit of knowledge under greater difficulties to the rising generation of his own class. (ibid)
He became a lithographer after leaving school, his work preventing him from close involvement with the Liverpool Adult Deaf and Dumb Society until after he finished his apprenticeship and his father retired to Liverpool. Once he had the time for it, he quickly became elected to the society’s committee, and became a lay helper when they opened missions in Widnes and Warrington.
More interesting to us now than his mission work is his feeling about the term ‘Deaf and Dumb’. He supports the use of the term ‘dumb’ in opposition to the Oralists.
I have nothing to say against Oralism in its proper place, i.e. amongst those who have once heard, or even for some phenomenally sharp born mutes who can master articulation in a fair degree; but, for the majority, it seems to me to be like a dog standing on its hind legs. It is wonderful to see a dog doing it, but dogs only do it at the command of their masters, and when left free to choose, always prefer to walk on four legs. You would not call such a dog a biped because he walked on two legs occasionally; and if a man, deaf from birth, uses speech on compulsion to two or three persons, and uses manualism and signs to all the rest, why not call him dumb? (Beale 1897)
I attach the short item to the link in the reference below.
Beale “Dumb” British Deaf Monthly, 1897, 6(70), 231-232.
Peeps into the Deaf World p.394-5
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 25 October 2013