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



George Hartnoll Hogg, human calculator

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 21 August 2015

George Hartnoll Hogg was a pupil of the celebrated teacher of the deaf, Henry Brothers Bingham.  Born in Bideford, Devon, on the 13th of February 1819, George was the son of John Hogg, a chemist and druggist (British Deaf Monthly).calculations  His father had been offered a living by the Rector, but his mother, a non-conformist, made him turn it down.  George was sent to Exeter to be educated by Bingham when he was eight, staying there for seven years, then moving to Manchester shortly after Bingham went there. 

He seems to have had a remarkable talent for mental calculations, particularly division and multiplication.  In the book illustrated here, A Selection from a Series of Mental Calculations Made by George Hartnoll Hogg, a Deaf and Dumb Pupil of Mr. H.B. Bingham, Master of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Manchester (1841), Bingham, a writer of prodigiously long sentences, introduces the idea of the education of the deaf in dedicatory remarks addressed to the Queen, then in the main body of text launches into his ideas of education;

Every human being, and probably every animal, educates itself, that is to say, they are provided by nature with certain instincts and faculties which being most powerful in early life stimulate and urge them to acquirements, and accordingly in the first four or five years they acquire more than they do in all the after years of their life, however long that may be; they learn to stand, to walk, to use  their hands, they acquire the faculty of speech, the application of thought, a knowledge of distances and resemblances between different objects in nature; they become acquainted with most of the passions and their expressions; in fine, the germs also of all virtues and vices, are implanted in their minds during that period; and all the rest of their lives only suffice to give precision to some of the original ideas which they have attained while the mind was fresh from the Creator’s hands.(p.i)

Bingham, who believed in what we might call whole body education, was clearly fond of a long sentence.  Further on he says,

To lead into the fields, to point out and explain the visible operations of nature, to teach them by conversation, with the natural objects before their eyes, to encourage them to work in gardens, to teach them gymnastics, and to explain the true principles of what they see and do, at the very time of seeing and doing, , reserving the teaching by books until a later age, when their own thirst for further knowledge will inevitably lead them to such study, seems to me the true mode of education.  It is nature’s mode, and it is in strict accord with the Baconian or inductive system of Philosophy, namely, to provide by observation a sufficient number of facts before reasoning to a conclusion; whereas the present system of commencing with books, besides the injury it does to the physical constitution, is the forming system a priori, to be verified by the scholar by observation afterwards.(p.iv-v)

That last sentence could have described the scientific method of his contemporary, Charles Darwin.  He continues,

if the principles of education laid down above be, as I believe, sound and true, the Deaf and Dumb are especially susceptible to being taught to good purpose.  For first, the deprivation of hearing renders their other senses peculiarly sensitive and vigorous; and imitation, nature’s great educational lever, is more powerfully exerted through the eyes than through the ears.(p.vi)

Pupils 1

In the 1851 census, George was a master’s assistant at the Old Trafford School under the then headmaster Andrew Patterson.  Sometime between the 1871 census and the 1881 census, he lost his job.  The BDM article says he taught there for 43 years, which would mean 1875.  Could he have been one of the victims of the move towards oral teaching that was coming into vogue at that time, or did he just retire?  At any rate by 1881 he was described as a ‘retired school teacher’, ‘deaf and dumb from birth’, and was living at Sale in Cheshire with William and Sarah Cordingly, a Deaf farm labourer and his Deaf wife .  William and his brother James were former pupils at the Old Trafford School as we see from the 1859 student list, so were William was taking in his old teacher as a lodger.Pupils 2  (Click twice on the pupil lists for a readable size.)

In 1891 George was living in Withington, Stretford, with another deaf couple, Ann and William Morton.  A year later on 16th of May 1892, aged 73, he married Louise Williams, a 45 year old Deaf dressmaker, born in Shropshire.  Her brother James Taylor, a printer-compositor, was also a former Old Trafford pupil.  The couple were living with him and his family (who were hearing) in Macclesfield in 1901.  I wonder if she too was a former pupil of his.  George Hogg died in Leicestershire in 1906 (see the Free BMD).Hogg

We are grateful to Norma McGilp for pointing out the article in BDM, from whence the portrait comes.

Blog updated 24/8/2015.

An Old Deaf Teacher, British Deaf Monthly, 1901, Vol. 10, p. 204

A Selection from a Series of Mental Calculations Made by George Hartnoll Hogg, a Deaf and Dumb Pupil of Mr. H.B. Bingham, Master of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Manchester (1841)

Manchester School annual reports

1851 Census Class: HO107; Piece: 2218; Folio: 537; Page: 20; GSU roll: 87228

1871 Census Class: RG10; Piece: 3971; Folio: 125; Page: 6; GSU roll: 841958

1881 Census Class: RG11; Piece: 3507; Folio: 49; Page: 17; GSU roll: 1341840

1891 Census Class: RG12; Piece: 3162; Folio: 85; Page: 26; GSU roll: 6098272

1901 Census Class: RG13; Piece: 3313; Folio: 78; Page: 4

“Such is the calamity of Mortals in this state of misery” – Sibiscota’s Deaf and Dumb Man’s Discourse

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 7 August 2015

Such is the calamity of Mortals in this state of misery, that they are invaded on all sides not only when they are born, by a vast army of Diseases, but are also troubled with many distempers whilst the Womb is their Lodging; there we meet with the precursory messengers of Death even in the very beginning of Life; and whilst the formative faculty is framing this machin of our immortal souls, some deformity, some irregularity in the structure, or other preternatural disposition obstructing the exercise of the parts immediately intermixeth it self with our birth.  Which enormity of the the parts, or constitution repugnant to the Lawes of Nature, prejudicing the operations, and contracted at our Birth, some have been so scrupulous as to think that it ought not to be calculated by the name of a Disease, but of a Defect, reserving the name of Disease for the defects of that which was once perfect.

1670This is the opening page of The Deaf and Dumb Man’s Discourse or A Treatise concerning those that are born deaf and Dumb, containing a Discovery of their Knowledge or Understanding; as also the Method they use, to manifest the sentiments of their Mind (1670).   It was supposedly written by George Sibscota, but was a loosely translated version of Anthony Deusingen’s “Dissertatio de surdis,” an essay in Fasciculus dissertationum selectarum (Gröningen, 1660) (see here).  Sibscota is probably a pseudonym.

The writer is of course depicting deafness as a defect.  The usual problem to many in the pre-modern age, and was how these who were deaf could achieve religious salvation:

And as Faith comes by Hearing, [*] according to the Apostle, where this is wanting, it may possibly seem very agreeable to truth, that there can be no Faith, and therefor no saving knowledge; and the consequence is undeniable, since no man can be saved without faith.

Oh this is indeed a very hard saying, which shipwracks the Soul!  Truly since those that are born Deaf are no more guilty of neglecting the means of their Salvation , than Infants (concerning whom however the Sacred Pages advise us to be more charitable) what reason I wonder can there be, why we should think God less merciful to them, who are also born of faithful Parents, than to Infants!  We will leave the disquisition of their Faith, or the manner thereof to Divines.  Hath God therefor, who according to his Will hath elected some out of Mankind corrupted by the fall, to be Vessels of mercy, and others Vessels of wrath?  Yet God’s Promise and Covenant belongs to these, as much as to the children of the faithful.

[…] Yet God is not wholly tied up to this one way of operation.  He hath extraordinary ways which we are ignorant of […]

They therefore that are born Deaf may by writing inform their minds with knowledge of those things, which must be obtained by hearing in others […] (ibid p.36-7 and 39)

The author does however note that “experience teacheth us, […] that those that are originally Dumb, and Deaf do by certain gestures, and various motions of the body as readily and clearly declare their mind, to those with whom they have been often conversant, as if they could speak, and likewise by such gestures of other Persons, they do absolutely understand the intentions of their mind also.”turk

* Romans 10:17

Branson, Jan, and Miller, Don,  Damned for Their Difference: The Cultural Construction of Deaf People as Disabled, 2002

Cocayne, Emily, EXPERIENCES OF THE DEAF IN EARLY MODERN ENGLAND, The Historical Journal, 46, 3 (2003), pp. 493–510

Woodward, James, How You Gonna Get to Heaven If You Can’t Talk With Jesus: On Depathologizing Deafness, 1989

Winzer, Margret A.,  The History of Special Education: From Isolation to Integration, 1993

Francis Maginn and the BDA 125th Anniversay

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 24 July 2015

The British Deaf Association is 125 years old, having had its inaugural meeting as the British Deaf and Dumb Association, in Leeds on the 24th of July, 1890.  Here is the Deaf and Dumb Times Supplement with the programme – BDDA Inaugural Conference 1890 (British Deaf and Dumb Times, Volume 2, No. 2, July 1890).  Here is the notice of the congress in the July issue:

DDT 1890 JulyMany of the founders have been mentioned in this blog over the past few years, for example Sleight and PaulMaginn photo 2but one motivating spirit we have not mentioned but who is deserving of recall, is Francis Maginn (1861-1918).  According to his obituary in Deaf Quarterly News, he was a descendant of ‘the Poet Spenser’.  Maginn, who lost his hearing due to scarlet fever aged four, became a pupil, then later teacher, at the Old Kent Road Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb Poor, London.  He was the fourth son of the Rev. C.A. Maginn of Castletowneroche, County Cork, and his uncle William Maginn was a successful journalist.  He spent some years at Gallaudet College in the U.S.A., leaving when his father was ill, then became a missioner in Cork in 1885, moving to Belfast in 1888 ‘when the mission Hall was opened in College Square North’ (ibid). He remain the missioner there for the remainder of his life.

Because of the way in which membership of the Association was allowed to include hearing people, Maginn did not get the leading position in the organisation that some consider he deserved, but became Vice-President.

He married a hearing lady, Agnes Maclean, in 1898, but they had no children.  He had a weak heart, and died on the 16th of December, 1918, aged only 57.

Certainly no man is perfect, all are human and liable to err, but it may be truly said that if Mr. Maginn erred it was on the side of humanity. Few, if any, of his colleagues would deny that his life was entirely given up to the welfare of his people, and that his own wellbeing was but a secondary consideration.

As an example of his forbearance it may be noted that in striving to settle a dispute he received a blow on the chest, from which it appears he never really rallied. Did he complain? Not a bit. Even his own wife was not aware of his having received such a blow, and it was only when he was taken seriously ill that the facts came out.

Appreciation. Deaf and Dumb Times, 1890, 1, 140. (illus)

G.E.S., Francis Maginn, An Appreciation, British Deaf Times, Vol. 16, 1919, p.27

GRANT, B. Francis Maginn (1861-1918). In Fischer, R. and Lane, H. Looking back. Signum, 1993. pp. 97-108. (portrait)

History of our Deaf and Dumb Societies: The Missions to the Adult Deaf and Dumb of Ireland, Vol.2, No.15, p.33-5 (illus)

Mr Francis Maginn,  Ephphatha, March 1896, p.44-5

Photo The Deaf and Dumb Times No.9 Vol 2, February 1891, p.115

The late Mr Francis Maginn,  Ephphatha, Spring 1919, p.542-3

The late Mr Francis Maginn, Deaf Quarterly News, no. 56, p.15-16, 1919

“he boldly invents signs for himself” – Frank Hodgkins, Deaf Amateur Actor (1859-1914)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 17 July 2015

Frank Hodgkins (1859-1914) was very precise when he related  the age when he had lost his hearing – 15 1/2 (see census for 1911 and BDM).  Frank was born in Westminster in the summer of 1859 so that would have been in the winter of 1864/5.

His father Walter, from Bristol originally, worked as a ‘gilder and carver’ and it seems his children were all employed in skilled trades of a similar type.

Hodgkins as Poor JoIn the 1881 census Frank is not described as deaf, but as we have noted before, that is not unusual and there could be a number of reasons for it.

Hodgkins as QuilpWe are told in the BDM article by ‘Philo’, which is based on an interview, that Frank was artistic, with a love of poetry, music and art.  He was a “delicate boy, and had much trouble with his throat when young, which interfered sadly with his schooling; but he was fond of reading, and picked up writing unassisted.”  He learned his trade as an illuminator when he lost his hearing, but we are told that his heart was not in it.  In the 1911 census Frank was living in 3 Stalbridge Buildings, Lumley St, Grosvenor Square, and described himself as an “illuminator on stationary”.

Living for much of his life in Soho (the family lived at 54 Greek street for many years), it is no surprise that he was involved with St. Anne’s Church, and later with .

In the hope that the dry climate might improve his hearing, Frank went to Australia, spending time at the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind , at Sydney, and later at the Victorian Institution.  He was back in England by 1885, and a visit to the rehearsals of Abraham’s production of Hamlet at Horn’s Assembly Rooms sparked off a role stage managing.  He became secretary of the Deaf and Dumb Cricket Club, and reorganised the St. Saviour’s Social Club, and gave elocution lessons to deaf people.

As a signer, Mr. Hodgkins is a brilliant innovator.  Rejecting all signs that do not reach his fastidious standard, he boldly invents signs for himself, which are so clear and expressive, as well as graceful, that his congregations instantly appreciate them, though they never saw them before.

Mr. Hodgkins’s grand pleasure and hobby is acting.  It is quite possible that, but for his deafness, the subject of our sketch would have been a bright ornament to the British stage.

Interviewing him on the subject, we asked him where he learned to act.
“Nowhere!” was the reply.  “Acting is as natural to me as eating and breathing.”
“Then who taught you?”
“Nobody! I have taught many, however.  Today there is travelling with his company an actor who first learned from my tuition in the lecture hall of St. Saviour’s, and played in some of my pieces.”
Many notices of Mr. Hodgkins’s performances have appeared in the London press, including The Stage, Era, Daily News, &c.  One truly says that his impersonation of “Nan” is as clever as it is amusing; another that the conception of the parts of “Quilp” and “The Marchioness” is perfect; another that his “doubling” these parts was no easy task; another that the task was one that the finest comedian would have shrank from attempting.  These are the only characters played by Mr. Hodgkins in a public hall, such as Park Hall, in Camden Town.  One paper said that were he not deaf, he would make one of the finest actors living. (BDM, 1898)

Ephphathaa for April-September 1914 says Hodgkins was gravely ill at “Friedenheim, Swiss Cottage.”  He was one of our helpers twenty-one years ago, and for many years – whether by entertaining us or by preaching – he was always forward in good works, and only failing health has caused his gradual retirement.”  The following issue has a brief notice that he died on May 9th 1914 and was buried in Highgate cemetery.

In his memoirs Gilby mentions him, rather laconically – “Mr. Frank Hodgkins would from time to time present Rough Diamond, or Good for Nothing, or some other farce, laboriously rehearsed by him with Timothy McCarthy, George Andrews, and other less distinguished performers.”

HodgkinsPhilo, A deaf Actor, Mr. Frank H. Hodgkins, British Deaf Monthly,Volume 8, No. 81, 1898, p.177-9

Ephphatha, [Our Notice Board, no.42,] no.21, 1914 p.3

Ephphatha, no.22, 1914, inside back cover

1911 Census, Class: RG14; Piece: 419

1901 Census, Class: RG13; Piece: 101; Folio: 16; Page: 24

1881 Census,  Class: RG11; Piece: 129; Folio: 15; Page: 22

Deaths Jun 1914 Hodgkins Frank 54 Hampstead 1a 673

Abdulla Iddleby/Ydlibi and the Cairo Deaf School

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 10 July 2015

Born in Manchester in 1871, Abdullah J. Iddleby was the son of an Irish mother and a Syrian father.  Because his surname was sometimes transliterated in different ways, it is not easy to track him in online records, and I have not with certainty worked out his parents’ names, but it is possible that they were an Ali Ydlibi and Rebecca Hinchey his wife, as they married in Salford registration district in 1870, the year before Abdulla[h] was born.  It is possible that Abdullah’s is the death recorded as Ali A. J. B. Ydlibi in Stockport in 1952, aged 81.  If his father was Ali Ydlibi (Ydilbi) senior, he was a British subject, born in Syria which was then a part of the Turkish Empire, and I imagine may have been involved in the Lancashire cloth trade in some way.

When he was two his parents went to Egypt, and later on he was educated at a or the British Syrian School in Beirut, where he learnt Arabic (Bayrout as the article in British Deaf-Mute (1895 has it).  It was while he was there that he lost his hearing, although he did retain some.  Later on the article, which is by one ‘Agnes’, it says that he was taught by Alexander Melville, “for the past two years” as a private pupil.  He must have been a student/teacher as he is described as having taught at Llandaff.  Our records of Llandaff are not complete and a quick look did not show his name, perhaps as it was for a period when we have no annual reports.  The peculiar thing is that Melville died in 1891, so someone is confused here.

IddlebyAbdullah, who would seem to have been from a Christian family, kept up a correspondence with missionaries in Egypt, who had said there were many Deaf people who were not being educated.  Arthur Upson from a previous blog entry, is not mentioned, but must have known Abdullah later on.School Cairo

The Nile Mission Press for 1906, Blessed be Egypt, says this –

The Class for Deaf and Dumb Boys, which we opened about two years ago, under Mr. Abdullah Iddleby, has been remarkably successful in the matter of general instruction, and the progress of the boys has been extraordinary. But the number of pupils has always been small ; the parents will not send their boys, as they do not believe until they see for themselves that such instruction is possible, and so we recently came to an arrangement with a leading Copt at Zagazig, Paris Effendi Yusef, who will provide a house, etc., and give the opportunity of trying it as a Boys School. Any friends who know of deaf and dumb boys will do well to communicate with Mr. Iddleby, c/o Paris Effendi Yusef, Zagazig.

I suspect that he taught with the combined method, which was used at Llandaff.

He worked with the Church Missionary Society, who proveded a room in in Sharia Muhamed Ali for a year and a half, with Iddleby having five pupils.  The work was supported by Lord Cromer, but when he left Egypt it ended.  He started up again with support of the Pasha (Idris Ragheb) and Egyptian authorities, in the same street, later having 13 pupils.  “His Excellency Idris Pasha is indeed a shelter in a weary land, as far as the deaf and dumb are concerned” says “Pharos” in The British Deaf Times (1909).  Clearly there was an underlying proselytizing element to these early schools, but perhaps the children were from coptic families.

There were other earlier attempts to start education for Deaf children in Egypt.  Miles (2005, see link below) says,

Volta Bureau records (1896; 1900, 1901) noted that “Schools are also reported to exist in Algiers and Syonfieh, Egypt”, and listed three teachers and 37 pupils at Algiers in 1900, 2 teachers and 6 pupils in Egypt in 1901. A Cairo source had a school for “Blind and Dumb” [= Deaf] opening in 1874 and reporting annual data for some years (Heyworth-Dunne, 1968, p. 390).

A footnote adds the following  –

Knowledge of this 19th century work now seems absent from the deaf education world in Egypt, where it is believed that the first school for the deaf was started in 1936. However, a news item “In Cairo” (1909) noted “the establishment of a school for the deaf in Cairo, where it has for three years had a prosperous existence.” A Volta Review article tells of Mme. Sémély Tsotsou founding “L’Ecole L’Espoir” (The Hope School) for 30 deaf children at Alexandria in 1934 (“A School for the Deaf in Egypt”, 1941), with photograph and details of one deaf pupil, nine-year-old Andrée, who had made good progress in speaking French. Another item in 1947 noted that Egypt had then a school for about twenty children at Cairo, a government school “being launched at Alexandria”, and a private school run by “a Greek lady, Madame Semely Tsotsou”, who was also responsible for training 15 Egyptian teachers (“The Deaf in Egypt”, 1947). One small deaf girl, Athanassia Boubouly, is pictured there with her teacher. Lababidi & El-Arabi (2002, pp. 9, 38-43, 101-103, 146-48, 176) collate useful evidence for current activities by and for deaf Egyptians, including interviews with two deaf mothers (the artist and actress Hanan Marzouk, and the Sign specialist Hanan Mohsen), some Deaf organisations, and a Deaf Theatre director. Early information on the school at Algiers has also not been readily available. A brief note in 1927 reported the installation of M. Ayrole in place of the retiring principal M. Rolland (Lamarque, 1927).

Cairo deaf schoolHow long Iddleby stayed in Egypt, I have no idea.  If anyone comes comes across him in any records, please update us below.

Abdulla[h] married Edith E Keay in Stockport in 1915, and she died in 1943.



Both those articles are based on British Deaf Mute and British Deaf Times articles.

Marriages Dec 1915  Keay Edith E and Iddleby Abdulla J S, Stockport 8a 82

Deaths Jun 1943, IDDLEBY Edith E 71 Hyde 8a 118 (for both see the Free BMD)

Deaf People Living and Communicating in African Histories, c. 960s – 1960s


The Deaf of Egypt, British Deaf Mute, 1895, p.39, vol 5 no.50

Pharos, The Deaf and Dumb of Egypt, The British Deaf Times, 1909, Vol. 6 no.65, p.97-99

Roe, WR., The deaf and dumb in Egypt, in Peeps into the Deaf World, 1917, p.204-6



“the doyen of deaf artists”, Charles Webb Moore 1848-1933

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 3 July 2015

Charles Webb Moore (1848-1933) was the son of a deaf lithographer, Isaac Moore.  His mother and all his siblings were deaf.  In fact, there were I understand, five generations of the Moore family who were Deaf.  Many of them were skilled artisans like Charles and his father.CW Moore

According to his obituary (Ephphatha, 1933) Charles was born on the 7th of April 1848, in Camden Town, and was educated at the Old Kent Road Asylum.  After training as a wood engraver, he worked for, among other periodicals, The Graphic, and the Illustrated London News, and won a silver medal at ‘the Deaf Mutes Exhibition held in London in 1885’ (I have been unable to discover more about that – if you know leave a comment below).  It seems that he painted portraits of many people associated with St. Saviour’s Church, including the Rev. Samuel Smith, Dr. Stainer, Dr. Elliott, Mr. Sleight, and Sir Arthur Fairbairn. We wonder whether these paintings survive, and if so, where they are now?

Charles married a Deaf lady, Emily Eliza Kemrik (sometimes written as Kamerick). They were married in St. May’s Paddington by the Rev. Mr. Churchill, and the service was interpreted in sign language by the Rev. Samuel Smith.Moore's marriage 001

In 1924, A.J. Wilson, himself a skilled engraver (I have come across at least one engraving by him of a Thomas Davidson picture), called Moore, “the doyen of deaf artists”.

Wilson explains how it was the technical advances in printing, which made the job of the woodcut artist “more precarious”.

“Curiosity” is reproduced by photo-process from a large woodcut which he both drew and engraved. “The Mermaid” is processed from one of Mr. Moore’s oil paintings. These two printing blocks illustrate the advance that has been made in the art of process engraving, because one – “Curiosity” – was reproduced from a line engraving on wood, and when we came to reproduce it by half-tone process the lines were broken up into dots. The other – “The Mermaid” – was photographed direct from the oil painting, yet the various colours of the original have been transformed into black and white by means of an “orthochromatic” plate so that the values are preserved.

curiosity 001The description under “Curiosity” says it was drawn for The Boy’s Own Paper.

Emily and Charles had four sons and one daughter. The middle son, William Webb Moore, was a recipient of the Belgian Order of Chevalier de la Couronne and the French Croix de Guerre, and sadly died in the Great War on the 12th of June 1918.

If we discover any more about Charles Moore and his family we will update this page!

Very acute readers of this blog will know that Moore has already had a picture featured on this site – he was the artist who depicted his friend Thomas Davidson.

There is a woodcut by Moore here.

The Mermaid 001Charles Webb Moore, Ephphatha 1933, p.

A Magazine Intended Chiefly for the Deaf and Dumb, 1875, No. 69, Vol. 6, p. 144

Deaf Artists, The Silent World, A Little Magazine Written by the Deaf for the Deaf, New Series, November 1924, No. 2 p.34-5

Adrien Célestin Soret, radiologist, meteorologist and inventor of the first binaural hearing aid in 1915

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 26 June 2015

Since his death, Adrien Célestin Marie Soret, (7th July 1854- 1931), Chevalier Légion d’honneur (1924), has fallen into obscurity, yet from what little I have discovered, he deserves to be much better known.  He was the son of a lemonade maker and was educated at Tonnerre, Beauvais, Orléans and Havre.  A commemorative plaque at his birthplace tells us “Driven by a concern for popularizing science, in 1886 he organized municipal courses which dealt with current scientific issues such as the effects of electricity and the discovery of X -rays.”  He then turned to photography, creating the Le Havre Society of Photography.

He is here as he is the inventor of the first binaural hearing aid, a fact that seems to have been forgotten by many.  I came across this in the book Binaural Hearing Aids by Andreas Markides (1977), where Soret gets a very brief mention.  That was because of this U.S. patent for a binaural hearing device, in 1915.  However, it is hard to find out how widely it was used and I could not find his name in Berger’s The Hearing Aid: its Operation and Development (1984).

AudiphoneIn Learning to Hear (1970), Edith Whetnall & D.B. Fry of the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital’s Nuffield Centre, wrote

The man with the monacle excites immediate attention.  The ophthalmologist who prescribed only a monacle for a patient with defective vision in both eyes would be regarded as a little odd.  The situation is completely opposite with hearing aids.  Here the tradition has been to prescribe only one aid.  It is probable that the origin of this tradition lies in expense but it is now so hallowed by custom that advocates of binaural hearing aids are told that they must produce evidence that these have an advantage over monaural aids.  As the normal person is born with two ears the onus of proof would seem to lie in the other direction and the advocates of the monaural hearing aid should prove their case.(pp.131 & 134)

Perhaps those who have threatened to reduce NHS patients to one hearing aid might reflect on that.

Soret’s death made it into Arthur Mee’s The Children’s Newspaper on August the 15th 1931, as “A MAN’S SACRIFICE FOR THE WORLD – Another Great Hero of Peace – SCIENTIST’S LIFE GIVEN TO HUMANITY”

The sunny South of France has experienced a great shadow of grief in the death of an eminent scientist, Professor Celestin Soret, who died at 77.  His life was sacrificed to the, X-ray, for he associated himself whole-heartedly with Dr Röntgen in bringing this invention to the aid of the medical world. The doctors were very sceptical as to the help which they could get from this new invention, and Professor Soret diagnosed over forty thousand cases through the X-ray in his own house, besides the thousands that he was asked to help in the hospitals.  He began life as a schoolmaster in Havre, where he taught physics. Many thousands, not only in France but in other parts of the world, owe him a great debt of gratitude, for he was an international figure.  He was the inventor of apparatus by means of which the sufferers from partial deafness could listen to concerts and conversations with the help of earphones and other pocket instruments. He tried to imagine how much the deaf must miss in life, and he used his knowledge to help them in their difficulty.

Soret was also involved in work at the Hydrographic School of Havre, where he lectured on naval hygiene, and he established a meteorological  observatory on the coast. The article concludes, “Like many other great men of science this French professor died comparatively poor. He placed his knowledge at the disposal of the world to save lives and not to make profit out of it ; and he gave up more than wealth to the cause of knowledge : he sacrificed both his hands.”

In fact, the brief obituary in The British Journal of Radiology Vol.4, p.368, the only other obituary I have so far tracked down, says he died as a result of his early X-ray work, which caused radiodermatitis.  “Through various operations carried out since 1923, Dr. Soret had lost both his arms, which had to be amputated.”

The memorial plaque also says (with the help, I admit, of Google Translate),

A year after the discovery of X -rays (1895) , he set up at his home a ray generator and the first radiography experiments. Four years later he was head of the radiological service in the Hospital of Le Havre.  […] Appointed honorary professor in 1907 , he devoted himself entirely to research and practice of X-rays.  […] In 1928 he received the Medal of the Order of the Crown of Belgium in recognition of the care given to Belgian fighters during their stay in hospital of Le Havre.

It has proved difficult to find these few details of Soret’s life.  One problem is that he shares the same birth year and initial as Charles Soret, the Swiss mathematician and physicist, and some people seem to have confused the two of them.

There is a photograph of him here, and a more poignant photograph with one hand amputated here.

He was a remarkable man.  If you know anything more about him please add a note below.


Sorel et Soret, Un cas d’elephantiasis avec troubles nerveux, gueri par les rayon X. La Normandie medicale, 1″ mars, 1898, p.97.
[I have not seen this article]


Whetnall, E. and Fry, D.S., Learning to Hear (1970)

Hie is remembered as a pioneer of radiology on the Ehrenmal der Radiologie in Hamburg.

His Legion d’honneur citation documents are here.

The Evil of Frankenstein… Portrayal of a Deaf person on film (1964)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 19 June 2015

One of our more unusual items in the collection that I recently came across is a Hammer Horror film script, The Evil of Frankenstein (1963).  film script The copy we have belonged to Katy Wild (b.1941) who played a ‘deaf and dumb beggar’ girl, which is presumably why it came to us, perhaps donated by her many years ago.  The film starred Hammer favourite, Peter Cushing.  Here is a page from the script where the beggar girl comes into the story.  I suppose one of the themes of the story would be how the girl and the ‘monster’ are both outcasts from society, and are linked together.  It was written by ‘John Elder’  which was the pen-name of Anthony Hinds, son of the Hammer Films founder William Hinds.  The back cover of the script has seven photos from the production enclosed.

There are interesting questions raised by this script, for example, the portrayal of Deaf People in the media, whether there were hearing actors in the roles of Deaf people, and to what extent things may have changed in the past century since we have had cinema and television.  The script will be of interest to anyone studying film.  We should all as consumers of media and entertainment, think critically about how media such as film and TV depict deafness.

Evil of Dr FrankensteinJohn Elder, The Evil of Frankenstein, 1963

John S. Schuchman, Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the entertainment industry (1988) RNID UTB TJY

Katherine A. Foss, Constructing Hearing Loss or “Deaf Gain?” Voice, Agency, and Identity in Television’s Representations of d/Deafness
Critical Studies in Media Communication Volume 31, Issue 5, 2014

Hamilton, Allyson P, A pedagogical content analysis of deaf culture in feature films Ed.d. dissertation, 2013

“And woven loops of silence circle you; Though none may know The secret of your devastating woe” – Deaf Poet Annie Charlotte Dalton O.B.E.

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 12 June 2015

A while ago I came across a book of poetry in our collection, and for a long time wondered why we have it.  It is from a small print run, numbered 220 on nice paper with black and white prints to illustrate it.  annie Dalton 001The author, Annie Dalton O.B.E. (1865-1938) was born Annie Charlotte Armitage in Birkby, Huddersfield.  Annie was brought up by her grandparents.  Her grandfather, James Stoney, was a cloth dresser.  Perhaps the family considered it a stigma that she was deaf – it would not be the first time,  but any rate, it is only in the 1901 census that she was first described as ‘Deaf from childhood’, a decade after she had married Willie Dalton (1891).  This shows that we should use the information on census returns with an element of caution.  In 1903 they emigrated with their daughter Edith Evelyn, to Vancouver.

It seems that Annie was privately educated, and lost her hearing through illness when aged seven, and this was her stimulus to begin writing poetry (Campbell).

Compared with great poets in her lifetime, she has not fared well since, being seemingly forgotten.  Simon Armitage, the modern poet and translator came across her while ‘ego surfing’.  He says “it might fairly be said that she is no undiscovered genius.”  Wanda Campbell writes that, “Though honoured in her own lifetime as a member of the Order of the British Empire, the only woman poet then included, Dalton has not fared well at the hands of critics, in part because they have tended to assess her poetic achievement in the light of her disability.”  She also says “Her work is uneven but she is nonetheless intriguing in her efforts to make science and anthropology acceptable themes in poetry, and in her efforts to voice the challenges faced by the deaf.” (ibid)

The quotation in the title comes from stanza III of The Silent Zone.

Neighing north 001

You can read more of her poetry here and decide for yourself – Canadian Poetry.

There is a photograph of her here – Photograph.

1871 census Class: RG10; Piece: 4371; Folio: 42; Page: 29; GSU roll: 848086

1881 census Class: RG11; Piece: 4385; Folio: 158; Page: 27; GSU roll: 1342047

1891 census Class: RG12; Piece: 3571; Folio: 110; Page: 18; GSU roll: 6098681

1901 census Class: RG13; Piece: 4105; Folio: 161; Page: 4

Annie Charlotte Dalton, by Wanda Campbell  [Accessed 12/6/2014]

Annie Charlotte Dalton, illustrated by J.W. Galloway MacDonald, The Neighing North (1935)