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The Rev. Charles Rhind, chaplain and teacher, and his brother James

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 2 December 2011

The Rev. C. Rhind (1813-88) Teacher of the Deaf

Born on 5th of October 1813, and privately educated, from an early age Rhind was engaged in teaching Deaf children, being at the age of 16 appointed as a teacher under Dr Watson at the Old Kent Road School.  After 11 years he then moved to Belfast where he was Head of the Deaf School, the Ulster Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, and Blind from July, 1840, until September 1846, when the Institution moved into new premises (Quarterly Review of Deaf-Mute Education).  His next move was to Aberystwyth where he founded the first Welsh Deaf School and was its first Principal.  The school later moved to Swansea as the Cambrian Institution.

Rev. C.Rhind

Rhind seems to have found it hard to settle for any length of time for he was soon off again, this time to the position of Principal of the Institute of the Deaf and Dumb, at Henderson Row in Edinburgh, and leaving there he began to work as missionary for the Royal Association for the Deaf and Dumb on 1st December 1860.  Rhind had a small salary as the organisation was poor, and he ministered in the south of London as a missionary.  At this time the church for the Deaf St. Saviour’s in Oxford St was newly completed, and when the chaplain Rev.Samuel Smith died in January 1883, Rhind, who had become a Deacon in 1878, being the only suitable candidate, took over the position which he maintained until retirement three months before he died.

His older brother James (b.1812), was also a Teacher of the Deaf, as was a sister.  James taught at the Old Kent Road School and was later Head of the Liverpool Deaf School (1836).  In the 1851 census he was living in Oxford Street (East), with private pupils Mary Riley aged 11, and Thomas Bennett aged 14.  After a few years he started a private school in the neighbourhood of Regents Park and Maida Vale, according to old index cards we have in the library.  By 1861 however, from the census returns we can see that he had become a civil servant and was a clerk in the India Office.  James died in 1895.

Gilby describes Rhind as

A venerable figure, short, stout, bald, with a bushy white beard and moustache, he was a jolly old soul indeed.  In spite of his great punctiliousness in the keeping of statistics and accounts and in the making of appointments and future arrangements, and a certain fussiness incidental to over-anxiety, the good man enjoyed his life and his family, I am sure.  He usually wore a skull-cap, was sensitive to draughts, and loved a needed snooze in his armchair after dinner.

When Rhind left London for Bromley he was already failing in health.

On July 4th I visited the Rev. C. Rhind at Bromley for the last time.  He was very near the end then.  I find I wrote in my diary “Mrs. Rhind will not long survive him”.  And so it happened.  He passed away in his sleep on Saturday, July 7th and his wife entered into her rest ten days later, on the 17th.  I interpreted to the deaf who were present at Mr. Rhind’s burial at Kilburn on July 12th, and attended Mrs. Rhind’s on 21st. (Gilby)

See also various school annual reports

Gilby’s memoirs

Appreciation. Deaf and Dumb Times, 1889, 1(1), 6. (illus)

The Ulster Institution for the Deaf Dumb and Blind, Quarterly Review of Deaf Mute Education, January 1891, 2, 262-69, 289-95.

[Updated 17/11/2015]


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