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Archive for November, 2011

The Reverend F.W.G. Gilby, O.B.E.

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 25 November 2011

GILBY, F.W.G. (1865-1949)

Son of “deaf-mute” parents and a missioner to the deaf, Frederick Gilby was born in North London on 3rd of July 1865. He was educated at Bishops Stortford and Shepton Mallet in Somerset. From the age of eleven he was interpreting for the Deaf in public. In 1883 the Royal Association for the Deaf and Dumb made him a student-missionary and he went on to study at King’s College London and Durham. Marrying in 1892, the same year he was ordained, Gilby moved back to London and on the death of the Rev. Rhind (see entry for the Jewish School) became minister for the Deaf church St.Saviour’s in Oxford St, which was demolished in 1923. After various moves he went to Bath in 1928 as a missioner to the Deaf, then was encouraged to carry on similar work in South Africa for 2 1/2 years. Although he returned to England to retire, the need for a Deaf school in the West Indies once more drew him abroad, and in both Jamaica and Trinidad he founded schools for Deaf children. When his wife died in British Guiana he returned to England at the age of 79, marrying his cousin Edith Gilby in 1945. He died in 1949 and is buried in Woking’s famous Brookwood cemetry.

The last page of Gilby’s Jamaica diary


Gilby signs ‘God’

British Deaf-Mute and Deaf Chronicle, 1892, 2, 1. (photo)

The Rev. F.W.G. Gilby as sign-maker.  British Deaf Times, 1904, 1(5), 97-101.

The Rev. F.W.G. Gilby, M.A. British Deaf Times, 1918, 15 (169-170), 1-3.

Resignation of the Rev.F.W.G.Gilby, British Deaf Times, 1932, 29 (341-2), 53-4.

(Includes photograph)

GILBY, F.W.G. Seventy two years among the deaf and dumb. The author, 1937?

(RNID Library class mark: YBX JAK 9)

Thumb-Nail Biography No.6, The Rev FWG Gilby, Silent World 1946 1(6), 171

An Old war Horse Looks Behind, Silent World, Aug 1947, 2(3), 80-83 & 95

Obituary.  Ephphatha, 1949, 1(7),  3-4.

Obituary. Somerset Diocesan Mission to the Deaf and Dumb 1949. p. 11.

The National Deaf Club

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 25 November 2011

NATIONAL DEAF CLUB (1906- ?2006 )

Founded as the Deaf Friends’ Association in 1906, by Mr Durlacher, the Deaf son of Queen Victoria’s chiropodist, who thought that the young Deaf of London wanted a better centre to meet in than cafes. This was the first club founded and run by deaf people, without assistance from a missioner; amalgamated with Richmond Deaf Club in 1955, keeping its original name. One of the founders was H.N.Lowry who later emigrated to the U.S.A. Other founders included M.S. Fry and A.J. Wilson. Below is a page from the British Deaf Times describing the foundation of the club. It was certainly still going in the 1980s, but I am not sure about what happened after that. Can anyone tell us?

FRY, M.S. The history of the National Deaf Club. British Deaf Times, 1914, 11, 31-35.

A.J.W., In Memorium: The Late H.Newton Lowry, British Deaf Times, 1932, 29 (345-6), 132

50 years of ups and downs of the National Deaf Club, 1906-1956. National Deaf Club, 1956? (RNID Library location: A64 (REF)

NAPIER, M. The National Deaf Club, 1906-1931. National Deaf Club, 1984.

(RNID Library location: C865 (REF)

NAPIER, M. The National Deaf Club, 1956-1981. National Deaf Club, 1986.

(RNID copy missing)


Deaf Magicians Festival

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 24 November 2011

From the 22nd to the 29th of April 2012, the Finnish Association for the Deaf is playng host to the 14th World Deaf Magicians Festival in Helsinki. It may sound curious but there are many deaf magicians, and the American Deaf Magician and academic Simon Carmel has written a book (forthcoming) with biographies of many of them.

Below is a picture of the British Deaf Magician J.J. Stockton, who was active in the Manchester Institute for the Deaf from the 1930s. There is also a photograph of him in a copy of their annual report for 1936. Stockton, who became deaf after contracting measles aged 13, was good enough to became a member of the prestigous Magic Circle.

The Deaf Magicians have a website here – http://www.deafmagicians.org/

Simon Carmel has written an article on the Society of World Deaf Magicians here – http://magicdanonline.com/docs/deaf.html

I Made a Career, in The Silent World, Vol 1, No.1, June 1946, pp. 6-7

Van Praagh & the rise of Oralism

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 18 November 2011

William VAN PRAAGH (1845-1907)

While other teachers such as Thomas Braidwood in Britain and the Abbé de l’Epeé had used some oral teaching in the 18th century, it was the German Samuel Heinicke who founded what became known as ‘Oralism’ or ‘the German method’ for teaching Deaf children.  In 1778 when Heinicke set up a school in Leipzig which he directed until his death in 1790 (see Wikipedia entry here – Heinicke).  He proved very influential and his followers took the Oral method to Holland.

Wolf  Saloman Van Praagh was born in Holland into a Dutch Jewish family.  He took the name William when he settled in England in 1866 (see interview in British Deaf Mute and Weinberg).  William had been sent to take charge of the Jewish Deaf School by the influential Dutch oralist David Hirsch, Director of the Rotterdam School (see McLoughlin).

In 1871 Van Praagh published a phamphlet (unfortunately not held by us) which moved for the establishment of Day Schools for Deaf children.  Possibly influenced by this and partly as a consequence of the success of the Jewish School, Baroness Mayer (see previous post) wished to start a non-sectarian school and spread the use of the Oral system.  The Association for the Oral Instruction the Deaf and Dumb was set up in 1871, and an associated training college the following year.  The Normal School and Training College was then established in June 1872 in Fitzroy Square, not far from Euston Station, with Van Praagh as the director.

Van Praagh wanted Deaf children to mix with the non-deaf population, and was opposed to the combined lip-reading and manual method of education. The British Deaf Mute article from 1894 includes an interesting interview with Van Praagh in which the following is said –

“The Rev.T.Arnold recently made use of the remark that the combined method of instruction is ‘irrational and immature.’ Is that your opinion , also?”
“Yes. I prefer any system in its purity to any combined methods of instruction.”

Van Praagh died after his annual public demonstration in Fitzroy Square.  His last words were “Gentlemen, I have finished,” then he collapsed with an attack of ‘angina pectoris’.  Immediately after his obituary in the British Deaf Times for 1907, there is a short article on ‘The Shortcomings of the “Oral” Method’, which concludes “Every teacher of the deaf ought to master the sign language of his pupils.”  The spread of Oralism did, and continues to generate great anger in the Deaf community. In his 1910 book ‘The Deaf Child‘ (p.121), James Kerr Love said “Teachers have divided themselves into opposing camps of oralists and manualists, and until this opposition ceases, the deaf child must suffer.”

Andreas Markides, The speech of hearing-impaired children. 1983.

Appreciation. Teacher of the Deaf, 1907, 5, 178-81.

Association for the Oral Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb. British Deaf-Mute and Deaf Chronicle, 1894, 3(33), 113-15. (photo)

Love, James, 1858-1942.:  The deaf child : a manual for teachers and school doctors. Bristol, 1911

McLoughlin, M. G.:  A history of the education of the deaf in England. Liverpool :   [the author] ,   1987

Obituary. British Deaf Times, 1907, 4 (44), 185-86. (photo)

Obituary. American Annals of the Deaf, 1907, 52, 499.

Van Praagh, William,  Lessons for the instruction of deaf and dumb children in speaking, lip-reading, reading and writing… Illustrated. London, Trubner, 1884.

WEINBERG, J. The history of the Residential School for Jewish Deaf Children, 1865-1965.

The Jewish Deaf School in Balham

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 11 November 2011

JEWISH DEAF SCHOOL, Nightingale Lane, Balham, London (1865- 1965)

Henry A. Isaacs (1830-1909) later knighted after being Lord Mayor of London in 1889/90, had sent his two deaf daughters Louisa and Sarah to the Rotterdam deaf school where the Oral method was used.  He and two other members of the Jewish community decided to form a Jewish School for the deaf and managed to get the support of Baroness Mayer de Rothschild.  They bought a house for the school at 15 Mount St in Whitechapel in 1865.  The school was started with 3 or 4 pupils who were taken from the Old Kent Road school.  Initially they were taught by the Rev. C. Rhind using manualism, but the school committee was quickly persuaded by Isaacs that Oralism was better.  Shortly after, under the headship of the Rotterdam trained Jewish Teacher of the Deaf William van Praagh, the school became the first in the U.K. to introduced the Oral method of education.  Shortly after 1865 it seems Isaacs wrote a pamphlet on oral education, Sound versus Signs, which laid out his views on oral education, based on how his daughters were taught.  (We do not have a copy, and neuither does the British Library.  It would have been privately printed so if anyone has a copy, we would appreciate a scan of it.)

In its first few years the school moved several times.  In 1875 it went to Walmer House in Notting Hill the former episcopal palace of the Bishop of Norwich, before ending up in Nightingale Lane in 1899 (see Weinberg).

The school closed in 1965 due to a decline in the number of pupils.

Jewish School – view from the garden circa 1910-20

Annual Reports in the RNID Library – 1884, 1910-1912, 1914, 1915, 1921, 1928-1932, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1945, 1949/50, 1954/55, 1960/61

DENTON, E. The former Residential School for Jewish Deaf Children, Nightingale Lane, Balham, 1865-1965.  The author, 197-? (photos)

RNID Library location: B13977(REF)

RNID Library location: WTG BVF G(REF)

“Sir Henry Isaacs.” Times [London, England] 5 Aug. 1909: 9

The New “Jews Home”, British Deaf Monthly, 1899, Vol.8, no.93, p.174-8 (pictures)

WEINBERG, J. The history of the Residential School for Jewish Deaf Children, 1865-1965.



Anerley Deaf School

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 4 November 2011


Just a short picture entry today with Anerley School, which was at Versailles Rd, Anerley.  The Anerley Residential School for Deaf Boys closed 1956 on conversion to school for ‘maladjusted children’.

As a part of the education of Deaf children, it was considered important that they become productive members of society, so they were taught trades. This was emphasised by the Royal Commission Report on the Blind and Deaf of 1889, “so as to dry up the streams which ultimately swell the great torrent of pauperism” (quoted by Pritchard, p.97). In some school registers of pupils we are told to what trade or employment the children went on to when they left. Bootmaking was one such trade, and here we see the boys in the bootmaking class. I wonder who the gentlemen are in the left background – possibly the Reverend Raper with the beard? Click onto the photos for a clearer view.

Anerley School Jubilee, Silent World, Feb 1953, p.267

ALLERY, B. Anerley Deaf School, 1902-1956. The author, 1986.

The Anerley Deaf School Magazine, 1930-37 [journals room]

Re-union of old Anerleyians. Ephphatha, 1931, 90, 1467.

Pritchard, D.G., Education and the Handicapped, 1760-1960.

STANNARD, E.W. Anerley School – the end of the chapter. Ephphatha, 1956, 3(12), 14-16. (photo)

School news. Teacher of the Deaf, 1903, 1, 122;  1904, 2, 123; 1905, 3, 225.

Teaching trades to the deaf: the London School Board’s new departure. British Deaf Times, 1904, 1(3), 49-52.