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Archive for the 'Deaf History' Category

Oralist Arthur Alfred Kinsey of the Ealing Training College, “most uncompromising champion of the system to which he was devoted”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 1 December 2017

Arthur A. Kinsey,  (1850–1888) was the Principal of the Ealing Training College, and an oralist teacher of the deaf.  He was born the son of an Arthur Kinsey, ‘gentleman’.  From his evidence to the Royal Commission we know that part of his education was in Germany. It may be that explains why I have been unable to find him in 1861 or 1871 or 1881 census returns.  He was the leading instrument for oralism in the period from 1877 to his death on Christmas Day, 1888.

When the Ealing Society was founded, he was introduced to Benjamin Ackers, presumably on account of his knowledge of German.  He was to be trained in the ‘German’ system, as oralism was also known.  From his testimony to the Royal Commission on the Blind, the Deaf and Dumb (pages 245-55) that would have been circa 1875.  He was to become the Principal of the academy when it opened in 1878, and to that end he travelled extensively in Europe, and was educated in Germany on the ‘oral’ system.  He remained for some time at Osnabrück, where he studied and then taught under  Rössler, who had been a pupil of Professor Moritz Hill of the Weissenfels school.  He also attended the school in Riehen, and visited schools in the U.S.A., where he studied under Bell (1876).  In 1877 he was one of those who led the oralists at the Conference of Head masters of Institutions and of other workers for the Education of the Deaf.

the rival systems were there brought face to face, and the great controversy between them began in England.  Mr. Kinsey entered upon the contest with all the fiery zeal of a combatant, and was, from first to last, a fearless and most uncompromising champion of the system to which he was devoted; ready to do battle in its defence at all times, in all places, and against all comers; giving no quarter, expecting none, accepting none.  Opinions will, of course, always be divided as to whether this is the best way in which to advance a new cause, but into such a question as this, beside a grave so prematurely opened and so newly closed, we do not enter here.  […] we cannot be surprised that in taking up a cause which at once came into conflict with that which so long had held the ground, opposition waxed warm in an ardent, able advocate like Mr. Kinsey.  Rightly or wrongly, this was his way: and no one will deny that he did possess in the fullest degree the courage of his convictions. (Obituary, p.60)

He was the secretary for the English-speaking section at the Milan Congress in 1880, and in Brussels in 1883, and the volume of proceedings in English was compiled from his official minutes as Secretary (ibid).

In 1882 Kinsey married Margaret Eveline Isabella Underwood, and after his death she continued at Ealing as Principal.  On his marriage certificate he described himself as ‘Professor’.  They had a son, Arthur Francis St John Kinsey (1883–1936).

His funeral was at Highgate cemetery.

Below, a page of his testimony from the Royal Commission report1889, vol.3.

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 1190; Folio: 124; Page: 18

Obituary. Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education, 1889, 2, 59-61.

Royal Commisssion on the Blind, the Deaf and Dumb

The Morning Post (London, England), Thursday, December 27, 1888; pg. [1]; Issue 36358.

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/6936422/person/6957008876/facts?ssrc=

Earnest Elmo Calkins, Deaf Pioneer of Modern Advertising

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 24 November 2017

Calkins signatureCHEarnest Elmo Calkins (1868-1964) was a pioneer of modern advertising.  Born in

In Design Observer, Steven Heller says of him, that he is “recognized as the founder of “styling the goods,” otherwise known as “consumer engineering” or even better known as “forced obsolescence”—he is considered in the pantheon of twentieth century Modernists.”

Calkins wrote a volume of memoirs, “Louder Please,” in 1924, & then in 1946 produced an extended version, “and hearing not-“; Annals of an Adman.  Writing in the third person, here as ‘the Boy,’ he describes here his loss of hearing in a chapter that appears in both volumes, ‘The ears begin to close’ :

nothing stands out with any sharpness, either teachers or lessons.  A sort of mist seems to veil the next three or four years.

The reason for the mist was that the Boy was growing deafer.  School seemed more futile the less he heard of it.  The world-old conflict between heredity and environment was henceforth to be influenced by a new element whose effect could not be foreseen.  Deafness introduced complications that required new adjustments, like deuces wild in a poker game.  The cause, it seems, was measles experienced at the age of six, at length bearing its evil fruit, but the predisposition was probably a part of his inheritance.  He was at least ten years old before his condition was realized, even by himself.  His fits of abstraction and oblivion were laid to inattention by the higher powers, both at home and abroad. (and hearing not, p.p.67-8)

He went on eventiually to college, and got good marks in mathematics, but otherwise, “For four years he sat in various classrooms, hearing almost nothing, content or at least resigned to make out a passable performance” (p.100).  He got into advertising aged 23, when he won a competition for an advertisement for a Bissell carpet sweeper.  Later on his advertising company was behind ‘Lucky Jim’ of the breakfast cereal Force, and he introduced modern art into American advertising in the 1920s.

CalkinsIn the chapter, ‘Social life of a deaf man,’ Calkins describes how so many famous people he met he was “unable to use, other than to satisfy my curiosity as to how they looked.”   He relied on his wife in many of these situations (p.180).  He says that “Deafness was the ever present influence.  It made or marred my attempts to earn a living, it selected my friends for me, and determined what I was to enjoy of social life, what my amusements were to be.” (p.181)

“A partially deaf man is like Aesop’s bat, neither animal nor bird, but having the disabilities of both, belonging neither to the hearing world  nor that of the totally deaf.” (p.188)

“Lip reading is like handwriting in that it is sometimes as clear as print and again as illegible as Horace Greeley‘s famous chirography.” (p.189)  He had lessons in lip reading with Edward B. Nitchie, who was deaf and whose books we have.

We have the two volumes of memoir mentioned above.  One is signed by Calkins, dedicated to Madeleine de Soyres.  They are well worth investigating, and he seems to me an engaging writer.

Calkins, Earnest Elmo, “Louder Please,” 1924

Calkins, Earnest Elmo, “and hearing not-“; Annals of an Adman.  New York, 1946

“the other children are not kind to them” – School for the Deaf, Surrey Lane, Battersea

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 17 November 2017

One of the London Board Schools, Surrey Lane School in Battersea was opened in 1899 according to the N.I.D.’s Handbook for 1913, the headmaster is listed as Mr. M. Campbell.  It accommodated forty pupils, who were “admitted as early as possible” and were taught with the oral method.  The Handbook tells us that,

deaf children within the area of the London County Council attend a day school to the age of 13, when they are drafted to one of the residential schools – boys to Anerley and girls to Oak Lodge.  The council defrays all necessary travelling expenses and provides guides.

The Council sends Roman Catholic children to Boston Spa, Jewish children to the Jews’ Home, and where necessary on health grounds children are sent to seaside or provincial Institutions.

All children before entering school are certified by the Medical Officer and the Superintendent of the Deaf Schools.

The Council boards out children whose homes are not suitable to the best interests of the child.

Superintendent and Organizer of the Deaf Schools: Mr. B.P. Jones, 15, Denmark Avenue, Wimbledon, S.W.

A class of hard-of-hearing children was formed in 1911 at the Ackmar Road School, Fulham.  It will be shortly held in a separate school.

However, The Royal Commission on the Blind, the Deaf and the Dumb of the U.K. (1889, p.295-99) took evidence from the Head Teacher, Mrs. Dancy, in 1886, but at that time a deaf class was integrated in the ordinary school, so perhaps the school was refounded in 1899 for Deaf only pupils.

This website has a photo showing the entrance of the school.   Mrs Dancy had been there only a year and a half in 1886, and had trained at Fitzroy Square under van Praagh, working there for five and a half to six years.  At that time, on leaving school children would then go to work – or not – but education ended.  The average attendance was 12, and her experience was with totally deaf children.  She would teach them for 5 hours a day, with the oral method.  The children were from a distance of two to three miles.  She was confident she had all the deaf children in her district.  She was paid £150 per year, and we learn that her class was the first established under the board, under the Oral Association.

When asked if the hearing pupils played with the deaf children, she said, “Not very freely; the other children are not kind to them, as a rule.” (p.200)

It seems that the school did not last long, as it was mentioned in the 1924 Handbook, but  not that of 1929I suspect that a few of the schools were closed and consolidated in that period.  The London Metropolitan Archives have admission registers from 1904-1914.  Perhaps the pupils were sent to Ackmar Road School in Fulham, which was near, if north of the river.  I will update this if I discover more.

Surrey Lane SchoolHere the Surrey pupils are having a dancing class.  Circa 1920 I would suppose.

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/c/F111566

William Moody of Manchester, “an idiot boy” (1849)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 10 November 2017

William Moody was a deaf boy, and the son of Joseph Moody.  Joseph was born circa 1816 in Willoughbridge, Staffordshire.  His father, William senior, was at various times a gamekeeper or a butcher.  The name sometimes appears as Moodey.  He married Phebe or Phoebe Large in 1840, and they had two sons, William born in 1841 and Thomas born in 1843.  Sadly she died in 1845.  The eldest son, William, was either born deaf or lost his hearing in childhood.  Losing his mother when he was four must have been critical in his development.  I suspect that his father did not have any idea as to how he should deal with his son’s hearing loss.  In June 1846 he married for a second time to Louise or Louisa Thorman, also the daughter of a gamekeeper (see online records at www.ancestry.co.uk).  In 1863 Joseph was in prison for three months, according to research by a descendant (ibid), and in 1871 he was in the workhouse.  He died in an asylum in Prestwich, Scotland, in 1885.

My eye was drawn to this article from 1849 about the son, William Moody.  The same article, or versions thereof, appeared in several newspapers that week.  The story is interesting for many reasons.  It shows how young Deaf people in the 19th century, even living in central Manchester, where there was a very good deaf school, fell through the gaps in the system, such as it was, and how difficult it was for a parent to know what to do with such a child.  It also illustrates the importance of education, and supporting parents and children who have physical or emotional problems, to prevent them becoming a problem and a burden to society.  The story comes from the heart of Manchester;

Extensive Destruction of Property by an Idiot Boy
On Friday morning, William Moody, an idiot boy, apparently about seven or eight years old, and who is both deaf and dumb, was brought before the magistrates at the Borough Court, in order that some arrangements might be made for his future safe keeping.

Mr Superintendent Sawley stated that on the previous day the boy had contrived to get into the premises of Mr. John Barber, engraver to calico printers, Back Water-street, and, the men being absent, he had by means of a hammer almost wholly destroyed three or four engraved copper rollers, of the value of about £40; he had also broken and damaged a number of the punches and other tools, used fin engraving the rollers.  The boy’s father was a cab proprietor, living in Atherton’s Court, Young-street.

The father, who was present, said he had four children; he had made application to the relieving officers to take some steps to confine the boy, and he was willing to pay whatever might be necessary for his support in an asylum.

Mr. Sawley said he had several times sent for the father with regard to the boy, who appeared to be allowed to run about the streets uncared for.  When he was brought to the office on the previous day, he was as black as a sweep, and had no other covering but a sort of gown made of calico.  He had kept him in the office during the night; but the father had on one or two previous occasions told him (Mr. Sawley) that he was unable to take care of the boy.

Mr Brownsworth, one of the relieving officers, was in court; and after some conversation, Mr. Maude directed the at the boy should be at once taken to the office of the guardians, and some arrangements made for his being taken care of in future. (Hull Packet and East Riding Times)

The Manchester Times version of the story, see below, adds Mr. Brownsworth had pulled the boy out of the canal on one occasion.  What became of William, for whom we can only feel sympathy, I am not sure.  I could not find him in our – incomplete – annual reports of the Old Trafford school, where pupils are listed by name.  In 1851, it would appear that he was in the workhouse in Manchester, New Bridge Street (though he is not marked as ‘deaf’ there, I am confidant it is this William Moody).  Perhaps he died young, perhaps he got some help, but I rather suspect not.  He would have been very difficult to take in hand by the time he was eight, having been allowed to become a ‘feral’ child.

If you can track William after that, please leave a comment below.

Above, the story as it appeared in The Manchester Times.Idiot Boy

Manchester Times (Manchester, England), Wednesday, June 6, 1849; Issue 62.

The Morning Post (London, England), Thursday, June 07, 1849; pg. 8; Issue 23557

The Blackburn Standard (Blackburn, England), Wednesday, June 13, 1849; Issue 752

The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull, England), Friday, June 8, 1849

1841 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 573; Book: 7; Civil Parish: Manchester; County: Lancashire; Enumeration District: 14; Folio: 25; Page: 3; Line: 9; GSU roll: 438725

1851 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 2227; Folio: 205; Page: 4

1851 Census – William junior – Class: HO107; Piece: 2229; Folio: 834; Page: 14

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 2892; Folio: 26; Page: 46; GSU roll: 543046

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 3974; Folio: 130; Page: 22; GSU roll: 846087

Manchester marriages Reference Number GB127.M403/6/3/19

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Lunacy Patients Admission Registers; Class: MH 94; Piece: 27

UPDATED: Apologies for my atrocious typing – I managed 6 typos in the above blog, now corrected I hope!?

“several times the light flickered and went out” – John Thorpe and the Huddersfield Deaf Mission

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 3 November 2017

Unlike some of his comtemporaries in the Deaf community, John Thorpe (1843-99) does not appear to have led a particularly interesting or spectacular life, rather one of diligent work and cheerful friendliness, as we see in his brief obituary in the British Deaf Monthly.  Having lost his hearing aged fifteen or sixteen, young John Thorpe soon became well known in the local deaf community, helping the Leeds missioner Mr. Foulstone when he visited Huddersfield, introducing him to local Deaf people.  He lost his regular warehouseman job as a consequence of his hearing loss, but did manage to get work still with for example Schwann, Kell & Co., and later George Brook & Co. (Hudderfield Daily Chronicle).

He was also, we are told, in at the start of the local Huddersfield Mission.  “The new mission had a fluctuating existence in the early days; several times the light flickered and went out.”  Eventually a meeting in the Queen Street Assembly Rooms  got the mission going on a regular basis, with a home taken in the Wellington Buildings, with fifteen to twenty regulars (British Deaf Monthly and Hudderfield Daily Chronicle).  Thorpe was at the heart of this work, spending his own money “without thought of recompense” (British Deaf Monthly).  He helped send local children to the Doncaster School, while others he educated himself locally.  “[H]e has with the devoted help of one of the best of wives, entirely spent his time, heart and soul, night and day, to teaching and preaching and visiting” (Hudderfield Daily Chronicle).

At some point the mission separated from Leeds, I am not sure exactly when.  When Thorpe lost his job as a warehouseman through a strike, he became a paid missionary in Huddersfield, until his death after a long illness in 1899.  In his last years he was also beset by failing eyesight.  His wife took over the mission work.

At his funeral in Huddersfield cemetery, the “sorrow of the deaf, for whom there was no interpreter of the Rev. A.W. Keely’s funeral discourse, was expressed for them by one of themselves, Mr. Crowther; and each, as a last tribute, dropped a bouquet of homely flowers on the coffin of their departed friend” (British Deaf Monthly).

john thorpe

1851 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 2319; Folio: 38; Page: 27; GSU roll: 87542-87544 [Possibly him]

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 4369; Folio: 89; Page: 45; GSU roll: 848086

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 4382; Folio: 78; Page: 20; GSU roll: 1342046

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 3566; Folio: 62; Page: 7; GSU roll: 6098676

The Late Mr John Thorpe. British Deaf Monthly, 1899 vol. 9, p.7

Hudderfield Daily Chronicle 30/08/1899 p.3 – this seems to be the source for the BDM article.

 

“A small token of affection for kindness” – A Deaf Family from Devon & the gift of a book

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 27 October 2017

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction PrinterRosina Fanny Oliver Hinckley was the daughter of a pesioned navy sailor, George Hinckley of Liverpool, and his Cornish wife, Jane.  At some point after the 1871 census when she was three and her brother George was 2, it must have been discovered that they were both deaf.  They were both educated at the Exeter Institution, as we can see from the census for 1881.  after school, George became a tailor and Rosina a milliner.

John Lethbridge was born in Tavistock, Devon in 1871, son of George Lethbridge, a painter and paper hanger in 1881, and his wife Margaret (née Stevens).  He is not described as deaf in the census returns until the 1891 census when he was twenty. He became a boot finisher.

Rosina married John Lethbridge in 1893.  Presumably they were acquainted through the local Deaf community in Plymouth, although there was no formal deaf mission there until 1897.  They had nine children, two of them dying in childhood.  At least four of the surviving children were deaf, Percy and Willie, and Olive and Elsie.  What set me onto this family, was the dedication in a book which we have.  The book, by ‘C. J. L.’ (Caroline J. Ladd) is Deaf, Dumb and Blind – True stories of child life (1902).  As you see here, the inscription reads,

WoodfordTo George Woodford

With Christian love

A small token of

affection for kindness

to Percy and Willie Lethbridge

While school mates at

Margate

Isaiah 23-V-VI*

The book is rather twee for modern taste.  Chapter five, ‘What could Susie do for Jesus?’ tells us about a Deaf girl who,

‘was a first class girl, now “quite an old scholar,” as she often told those who understood her silent language.’ (p.40) […]

Susie was much interested in being told about the poor children of India by a teacher who was leaving B. to take charge of a mission school in that far-off land.  She seemed much troubled on hearing that great mumbers of Hindoo children did not know anything about the true God, but prayed to idols, saying, on her fingers, “Oh do tell about the Lord Jesus Christ, and I will pray to Him for you and for all the girls who attend your school.”  And on being told it was very likely, as the number of deaf mutes in India is very large, asked if she might send her favourite doll to some Indian girl afflicted in the same way as herself, and was quite delightedwhen told it should be packed with some books, toys, and other things friends were sending for the mission school, and given with Susie’s love to a deaf and dumb child. (ibid, p.45-6)

Note the language  the writer uses, deafness and blindness as ‘affliction.’  I think this may be a true story, or based on one, and that Susie was probably at school in Birmingham.  It might be possible to investigate further to see if we could identify that teacher.  I have not been able to narrow down Caroline Ladd, so please comment if you have come across her somewhere.

SusieIt was relatively easy to find the Lethbridge brothers in the 1911 census, then discover that they were from what we might call a culturally Deaf family.  In their recent book, People of the Eye (OUP, 2011), Harlan Lane, Richard Pillard and Ulf Hedberg describe the American ASL Deaf community as a type of ethnicity, where the primary language is signs, as distinguished from the deaf who are not .  We can, perhaps, extend that idea to B.S.L. users in the U.K.  It would be interesting to know if that were the case for the extended Lethbridge family.

In 1901, the Lethbridge family had a lodger, James John Weeble, who was also Deaf, and, as a ‘boot riveter’ was presumably a friend and colleague of John Lethbridge.

Rosina died in Plymouth in 1960, aged 92.  Her husband John ahad died in 1912 – so she was a widow for 48 years, with a large family.  Percy died in 1962, but I am not sure when Willie died.  If you use the www.ancestry.co.uk you will see relatives and descendants have produced a detailed Lethbridge and Hinckley family tree, with photos.

The person I have not mentioned is George Woodford, to whom the book was given.  He was the father of Doreen Woodford (a person whose name will be familiar to anyone in the British Deaf community) and was some years older than the Lethbridge boys, being born in 1893, so would have been fourteen at the time of the gift.

*Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

‘C. J. L.’ (Caroline J. Ladd) Deaf, Dumb and Blind – True stories of child life (1902)

Woodford, Doreen E., Who’s interpreting on Sunday morning? (2010)

1871 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG10; Piece: 2139; Folio: 115; Page: 59; GSU roll: 832034

1871 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG10; Piece: 2147; Folio: 60; Page: 52; GSU roll: 832037

1881 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG11; Piece: 2197; Folio: 16; Page: 25; GSU roll: 1341529

1881 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG11; Piece: 2152; Folio: 123; Page: 43; GSU roll: 1341519

1891 Census – Hinckley – Class: RG12; Piece: 1741; Folio: 46; Page: 48; GSU roll: 6096851

1891 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG12; Piece: 1725; Folio: 24; Page: 42; GSU roll: 6096835

1901 Census – Lethbridge – Class: RG13; Piece: 2110; Folio: 36; Page: 64

1911 Census – Margate School – Class: RG14; Piece: 4501

1911 Census – John and Rosina Lethbridge – Class: RG14; Piece: 13020; Schedule Number: 127

 

A Deaf tailor to King Edward VII – George Arnold of Windsor (1855-1922)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 October 2017

George Arnold  (1855-1922) was born in Wimborne, Dorset.  He lost his hearing at the age of eight, being described in the 1901 census as ‘stone deaf,’ and was then educated at the Old Kent Road and St John’s College, Margate, under the personal tuition of G. Banton and the headmaster, Richard Elliott.  The 1881 census says he was ‘Deaf after birth, not dumb’ so he had spoken language.  On leaving school, he trained as a tailor with Mr W. Fletcher, tailor to King Edward VII.  In 1880 he married Amelia Bartlett, of Preston, Dorset then aged 18.  According to the 1901 census, she was partly deaf.

The article about Arnold in The Messenger says that “on leaving school he chose the trade of a tailor and has been with with Mr. Fletcher, tailor to H.M. the King, H.R.H. Prince Christian, &c., for over twenty years.  Besides making various clothes for the King, he made clothes for the late Emperor Frederick of Germany, while the latter was staying at Windsor Castle, as well as for other Royalties.

In the 1891 census he was being visited by Henry S. Gander, a fellow Deaf tailor.   I wonder if Gander was looking for work, or perhaps he was just a friend from the same trade with a similar background?  Had he been staying with the Arnolds on a longer basis it would probably have said he was a ‘boarder.’  Thanks to information provided by Deaf historians Norma McGilp and Geoff Eagling, we can say something more about Gander.

Harry Stonestreet Gander, was baptized on the 17th of November, 1867, in Hove, Sussex. His parents John and Sarah Ann Gander.  At the time of the 1871 census he was living at  27 Osborne St, Hove, where he was a pupil at the Brighton “Deaf and Dumb Asylum.”  He had lost his hearing through from scarlet fever’, and his father was a gardener.  At the Brighton Institution, his Admission number was 438.  He was living at Cliftonville, Sussex at the time of his admission in 1877.  Geoff Eagling says, “Reverend Fully paid on his behalf £8-0s-0d per year, this is lower than the normal school fee of £10-0s-0d. Perhaps he was a day pupil. No date of leaving but would be around 1882-83 when he was around 14-15 years old. Private pupil at the time was £50-0s-0d, a lot in those days.”   I cannot be sure when Harry died.  There seem to be a fair number of Ganders in Sussex, but there is a death notice for Lewes in 1910, a Harry Gander aged 42, that could fit.  If you find out or know please make a note below.

Arnold was an amateur conjurer, and was in demand to provide entertainments.  In the Brighton Gazette for the 7th of January, 1904, Arnold performed at a New Year party held at the Brighton Institution, presided over by Sir Arthur Fairbairn, and William Sleight, who was headmaster.  I wonder if Arnold or Gander made clothes for them?  He also acted as a stand-in missioner to his local Deaf community, for example in the South Bucks Standard for the 24th of October 1912, we read that the Bishop appointed him to take Sunday services when the Rev. A.H. Payne moved to Liverpool.

As a young man, he had been a very good athlete.  Roe tells us he ran a mile in 4 mins 47 secs, at Fordingbridge, near Salisbury, and a half-mile in 2 mins 10 secs at Winton.

George Arnold died in 1922, at Clewer, near Windsor, aged only 67.  His wife Amelia had died His obituary in Ephphatha said “Mr. Arnold abounded in energy, good spirits and social magnetism; he was an optimist, a humorist, a man who relished life.”

I cannot say whether any of his clothes survive, but perhaps they do in some museum or in the Royal Collections.  It is also possible that there are surviving accounts and other correspondence that might be of interest to those wanting to research this subject.

George Arnold

MACKENZIE, G. King Edward’s deaf mute tailor. Messenger, 1902, 5(5), 83-84. (photo)

Obituary, Mr George Arnold, Ephphatha, 1922 p.701

Roe, W.R. Peeps into the Deaf World, 1917, p.2-3

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 1339; Folio: 40; Page: 15; GSU roll: 542798

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 1195; Folio: 94; Page: 13; GSU roll: 1341293

1881 Census (Henry S. Gander) – Class: RG11; Piece: 1077; Folio: 55; Page: 39; GSU roll: 1341254

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1013; Folio: 34; Page: 23; GSU roll: 6096123

1901 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1013; Folio: 34; Page: 23; GSU roll: 6096123

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 6718; Schedule Number: 175

 

First Deaf Person on TV in Britain – “Topsy,” or Eileen Guy, from Central Asia (ca.1914-1998)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 September 2017

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printer (00A)In the early part of the 20th century, three bold and independent women made a name for themselves as the ‘Trio’ of missionaries in the far east of China, in Gansu.  They were Mildred Cable (1878-1952), and the two sisters, Evangeline French (1869-1960) and Francesca French (1871-1960).  They travelled widely in the deserts and moutains of that region, attempting to convert local people.  One day they heard a ‘tap, tap tap’ at the door, and it was a young child of six or seven nicknamed ‘Gwa Gwa,’ that is ‘little lonely’ (Cable & French p. 9-14).  The girl was deaf, the daughter of a Tibetan mother and a Mongol chief.  She had been fostered, then the foster mother sold her when she discovered she was deaf.  She was then sent out to beg (ibid p.19-22).  The Trio bought her freedom, and changed her name to Ai Lien, meaning ‘Love Bond.’  The three missionary ladies called her Topsy for some reason.  After some difficulties with one of the warlords in the area, they eventually escaped to Urumchi, then Chuguchak.  Topsy mapTo get through Russia, they had to give Ai Lien a British name and passport, so they anglicized it to Eileen with the surname Guy as one of the three, the ‘Blue Lady’ as she is called in the book, had the Chinese surname Gai.  Eventually they had permission to cross Russia, and they arrived back in England, where they divided their time between living in Dorset and Watford.  Once in England she started to get an oral education (p.123-4)

The French sisters died within a short time of each other in 1960, leaving Eileen a comfortable inheritance.

According to one of our old library index cards from Selwyn and Kate Oxley, Topsy was the first Deaf person to be on television in Britain, with the Trio, at Alexandra Palace.  That would have been before the war.  It may be that the BBC archives could confirm that.

I have not discovered whether Eileen/Topsy had any contact with the Deaf community in Britain – I did not see an obituary in the British Deaf News.  She died in 1998 in Penge.  If anyone knew her, please do comment below.topsy 1

“Former Slave Girl Benefits In Wills.” Times [London, England] 27 Sept. 1960: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 29 Sept. 2017

Cable, M., and French, Fr., The Story of Topsy, (1937, reprinted 1957)

http://hucandgabetbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/women-of-gobi-journeys-on-silk-road.html

Ethel Mary Bullock, “Miss Boo” and her private Deaf School(s)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 15 September 2017

Ethel Mary Bullock was the daughter of a linen draper, Francis Bullock and his wife Annie.  She was born in Marylebone in 1870, probably in 72 Edgeware Road, where they were living in 1871 and in 1881.  By 1881 the family had grown quite large, with ten surviving children.  Ethel became a teacher of the deaf, training to use the oral oral method under van Praagh in Fitzroy Square Training College.  She qualified in 1890 (for this & what follows, see the obituary by Ross, 1962).*  In the 1901 census, when she was 31 and living with her older sister and widowed father at the same address, she was described as a ‘deaf mute teacher.’

Ethel attended the 1903 National Association of Teachers of the Deaf conference, and at that time she was living in Brook Green, near Hammersmith, but after a quick glance at the lists of delegates at later conferences through the next two decades, I did not spot her name again.

In 1903 she opened her own school in Chiswick, where the 1907 to 1909 phone books have her name in large print as a ‘Certified Teacher of Deaf (Oral System), Defects of Speech, Stammering &c., Lip-reading.’  The school in Chiswick was at 45 Fairlawn Avenue, which was and still is an ordinary suburban house.  I suppose she moved there from Brook Green.  From Chiswick, at some point the school moved on to Hampstead, in fact what we would now call Swiss Cottage, at 141 Fellows Road.  The 1911 census has her there but she made a mess of the form, putting herself as head of the household down the list of six inhabitants, and filling in the box which was left for the enumerator.  The teaching staff are described as ‘Educational’ in the occupation column, and there was only one pupil living in who was not described as deaf.  Perhaps she was just setting up the school again or was only taking day pupils.  She was still there in the 1919 phone book, but the following year finds her in Ashdown House, Rosslyn Hill, N.W.3. **

By 1923 the school had moved again, and the phone book for that year gives her address as Kingsfield House, Oxhey, near Bushey, Herts.  Oxhey is now a suburb of Watford.  Here was see the advertisement for the school in the front of the proceedings for the International Conference on the Education of the Deaf for 1925.  KingsfieldIt was there at least until 1927, but by the 1930s the same building had become a boys school and, yes, they had moved yet again, to Park Hill, Hemel Hempsted, where the school was definitely re-established by 1929.  The school looks superficially similar to the Kingsfield site, in park-like grounds, and it looks from the photos as if they even moved the ‘wigwam’ – their outdoor teaching hut (All About the Deaf p.xiv).  Park HillMiss Bullock must have only ever had short leases on these places, for yet again the school moved, to Folkestone at a date in the 1930s which I cannot pin down, then on to “Ingleside,” Tilehurst Road, Reading, where the school was in 1939 (All About the Deaf, p.66).  I cannot imagine it survived for long after the outbreak of war, and by the time we find Ethel next, in the 1947 telephone directory, she was living at 25 The Roystons, Surbiton.

It is very interesting that the school moved so often.  In her brief appreciation of Bullock, Miss J.P. Ross says,

Far from interfering with continuity of progress, these changes of environment proved helpful to the children’s interests and development.  This was largely due to the systematic language course , originally introduced by Miss Nevile, which was followed throughout the school, and which produced most gratifying results.
Miss Bullock, who was affectionately known as “Miss Bo,” had a genius for obtaining the best efforts from both pupils and staff, who were always willing to respond to her high ideals.

Ethel Bullock died aged 92 on the 25th of March, 1962, at a nursing home in Surrey.  She was an almost exact contemporary of Blanche Nevile, who also trained at the Fitzroy Square Training College, and who also died in 1962.  The big question for me, is why did she move premises so often?  It is hard to gauge how successful she was as a teacher, for we cannot know now how many pupils she had or who they were, unlike some of the earlier private schools where pupils are named in census returns.

*At the time of the 1891 census she was a visitor in Scotland, with no job description given.

**Incidentally, her younger brother Albert, who was an architect, also has his phone number in New Bond Street on the same pages as Ethel.

Ross, J.P., Miss Bullock.  The Teacher of the Deaf 1962, vol. lx no. 357 p.279

Census 1871 – Class: RG10; Piece: 165; Folio: 63; Page: 6; GSU roll: 823301

Census 1881 – Class: RG11; Piece: 147; Folio: 17; Page: 27; GSU roll: 1341033

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 110; Folio: 72; Page: 31

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 615

International Conference on the Education of the Deaf, London and Margate, 1925.

National Bureau for Promoting the General Welfare of the Deaf, Handbook for 1913, also N.I.D. All About the Deaf handbooks for 1929, 1932 and 1939.

 

The application of Mao Tse-Tung thought to the treatment of Deaf Mutes

By Alex P Stagg, on 8 September 2017

We have among our collections a curious assortment of grey literature that we conservatively name the C collection, a collection of miscellaneous material. A few examples taken at random:

C439: Elizabeth Wootton & Cris Lewis, ‘A work preparation course for deaf young people’, in Careers Bulletin (Spring 1981)
C4406: Hugo Zuccarelli, ‘Ears hear by making sounds’, in New Scientist (10 November 1983)
C588: Anon, ‘The mutes regain their speech’, in China Reconstructs (February 1972)

This last is perhaps among the most curious items we possess. It details an episode from the Chinese Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in which a barely educated medical orderly – Chao Pu-yu – applied Mao Tsetung Thought to the treatment of deaf-mutes with, it seems, great success. (Deaf-mute is used throughout the article, and is used here without any desire to offend but to replicate the language used at the time.) On the surface it is a tale of the universal applicability of Mao’s thought, together with acupuncture, but beneath the surface can be discerned currents outside the realm of medicine as we read briefly of Chao’s objection to the counter-revolutionary line for medical and health work promoted by Liu Shao-chi. Liu Shao-chi, better known now as Liu Shaoqi, was until the late 1960s a very prominent member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Inspired by the criticism of Liu he heard, Chao learnt acupuncture, practicing on himself. His early successes included treating an old worker, Wang Kuei, who suffered from arthritis; and before long Chao was ready to treat more serious conditions. In 1967 Chao and comrades formed a Mao Tsetung Thought team, to spread the Great Helmsman’s ideas. But this was not an autonomous team: in March 1968 the ‘medical propaganda team’ was ordered to a school for deaf-mutes in the city of Liaoyuan. As soon as they arrived, a young girl – Wang Ya-chin – drew Chao’s attention to a picture of Mao. She wanted to say ‘Long live Chairman Mao’ but was only able to manage a strained ‘Ah…’. The entire episode is reminiscent of the worst excesses of a Stalinist personality cult, where the project seems less focussed on returning hearing and speech to deaf-mutes and rather more about giving a new voice to the choir of praise for Mao.

Inspired by Mao’s teachings – for example ‘The people with real personal knowledge are those engaged in practice the world over’ – Chao and his comrades determined that there were no incurable cases, simply cases refused treatment. As befits political revolutionaries, Chao and his team went beyond the boundaries of earlier acupuncture, thrusting the needles deeper than 5 fen, a measure in acupuncture treatment, the point acupuncturists felt would endanger the patient’s life. Previous generations, the article notes, had been limited by the level of scientific development of their time. It was with this as their guiding principle that they achieved the dramatic results of restoring speech and hearing to deaf-mutes. Chao declared: “We proletarian revolutionaries want to relieve our class brothers of their suffering. We must go forward. We must not be stopped by the belief that 5 fen is the ultimate limit’.

Chao tried the new, deeper, insertions on himself. He refused to feel fear, reminding himself his experiments were in the service of the people and he was carrying out Chairman Mao’s line for medical and health work. Pushing the needles deeper and deeper Chao gained the results he had been looking for and shared the news with his comrades. China Reconstructs reports that the application of the new treatment to Wang Ya-chin returned speech to her: after fifteen years of silence she could once again speak.

Although the article states that in the three years after Chao’s breakthrough deaf-mutes across China received treatment, it does not go into specifics about numbers or supply further information.

Sadly the trail goes cold. A 1972 pamphlet, Exploring the Secrets of Treating Deaf-Mutes, is available online at: https://archive.org/details/ExploringTheSecretsOfTreatingDeaf-mutes, and there’s a 1977 article, Andrew Sutton’s ‘Acupuncture and deaf-mutism’ (Educational Studies 3:1 (1977)) which examines the claims made. Chao Pu-yu’s fate is a mystery: but if any readers know what happened to him, please let us know.

Ed Lyon