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Archive for November, 2013

Henry Siddons – Practical Illustrations of Rhetorical Gesture and Action (1807)

H Dominic W Stiles29 November 2013

cover Siddons

This book is an adaptation of a work Ideer Zu Einer Mimik (1795) by Johann Jakob Engel, German philosopher and dramatist.  The illustrations were familiar to Charles Darwin from his research for the book The expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872), via Moreau’s edited edition of Lavater which used many of these images (see Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture by Jonathan Smith, 2009).  To my eyes they seem a little stiff – some work better than others.


Henry Siddons was part of a great acting family.  His mother Sarah was a notable actress, remembered today by the Sarah Siddons Society that gives an award to a female actor, while his aunts, uncles and cousins were all successful in the theatre.

We like the emotion ‘indifference’ here – however we are not sure that we would display it quite like that!

Siddons indifference


Peter Zwarts, former Institute of Laryngology and Otology Librarian

H Dominic W Stiles29 November 2013

Peter Zwarts (1933-2013) formerly the Institute of Laryngology and Otology Librarian, died in Petersfield on 12th of August 2013.

We are grateful to Ray Allen who worked here from 1991 – 2005 and knew Peter well, for most of the following information about his interesting life.  Ray says,

we breakfasted and often had supper together (when the canteen stayed open to provide hot dinners to 7.30pm!).  He always left Petersfield at about 5.50 am. to be in for breakfast at 7.20 am. departing home at close of play/canteen, sharp at 7.35 pm.  I had met him quite a few years before when I worked at a small ENT Research Institute at the Middlesex Hospital.  He had a tremendous reputation with most  ENT consultants and Researchers from the 60’s to 1990’s, not just at Grays Inn Road but from around the UK, who knew him and visited him at the Library whenever they were in London for courses or the RSM monthly meetings.  In a pre computer age it seemed as if  all published work on ENT both historic through  to current journals was stored in his head…..  he hated the computer!

Knowing so many people in ENT, the library became a clubbish place where smoking was allowed, filled with many of the late Professor Hinchcliffe‘s cohort of doctors.

He was born in Holland, to the north west of Amsterdam, and had, Ray says,

a very tough time during the occupation, talking movingly of the famine north of the Rhine in the last winter of the war, when they were reduced to trying to survive on tulip bulbs dug from the fields.  The Germans and particularly the Dutch Nazis, worried no doubt about the retribution to come,  were at their most brutish  with the civil population and  I believe a number of his family paid a very high price.

I think he did his Librarianship training in Holland and England.  He went to America in the early 1950’s working at The New York Public Library.  There he was able to indulge in his great passion, Jazz.  Completely oblivious to the dangers he walked everywhere, and his thick Dutch/ English accent, unusual to the American ear,  allowed him to stroll nightly into Harlem and into black only venues where he was accepted (and walked out again unharmed, in the early hours).  The Dutch  being the original New York colonists (Harlem/Yonkers etc..),  perhaps he just felt at home.

Peter 1

Night after night he listened to and chatted with, some of the most famous jazz musicians and bands of the period. His jazz knowledge was  encyclopaedic and he had a vast collection of music at home.  His other great passion was cigars, the only man I know to own a humidor, to keep his collection in prime condition.  […] A real ‘Character’ with an unexpected hinterland.

There was some sadness in his life, his wife dying quite young I understand.
Peter  2

Goodbye Peter.

“Religious instruction counts first last and in-between” – a Deaf Anarchist

H Dominic W Stiles22 November 2013

  1. Leonard Motler, Deaf freethinker and anarchist (1888-1967)

Occasionally you come across someone who stands out from the crowd.  Leonard Augustine Motler was one of those people.  Born in Eccles in 1888, Motler was the son of Joseph & Bertha Motler, a pattern card maker and a tobacconist.*  At the age of five he lost his hearing in an accident (see comment below).  He was sent to the Roman Catholic St. John’s Institution for Deaf and Dumb at Boston Spa.  In 1911 he was still in Lancashire working as a printer, but he must have gravitated to London shortly after.

He was an important, if forgotten, figure in the early labour then anarchist movements of the early 20th century, and it is possible that introduced Sylvia Pankhurst to her partner Silvo Corio.

A review of John Quail’s The Slow Burning Fuse (1978), […] identifies the long-forgotten Leonard Motler (a deaf mute who had abandoned the pro-war socialist movement for anarchism in 1914) as being among the first to condemn the Bolshevik coup in Russia. In December 1917 Motler wrote in his self-published journal, Satire, that ‘The Russian Revolution is running ugly. These little things happen when the people permit new rulers to pose as their saviours, instead of saving themselves by running the country on their own’ (p.205). (Hodgson 2009, quoting work of Nicolas Walter, p.126)

Perhaps the type of education he got at Boston Spa gave him a good grounding in written English, but it seems that the  ‘Christian Doctrine’ that the school imposed on it pupils (for which see various school annual reports) must have caused him to ‘kick against the pricks’ (Acts 9:5-6).

The article below appeared in September 1920, though I am not sure where it was published.  In it Leonard Motler points out what will be obvious to anyone who studies the history of Deaf people over the 19th century, how education was promoted and controlled by the religious institutions.

There is perhaps hardly a school for the deaf in the British Isles not controlled to some extent by the clergy. The only Roman Catholic school of the kind in England is controlled by nuns of St. Vincent de Paul. Having been educated there myself, I can vouch for the fact that religious instruction counts first and last and in-between. The pupils rise before 7 a.m., when there is a mass said practically every day of the year, at which, of course, they all attend. The first thing in the morning lessons is inevitably catechism, and on Sundays this is made a special subject for the elder pupils.

Motler seems to be a fascinating character.  It is interesting to see that he ended up living in South Africain 1921, following his sister Bertha  (see article by Heath below), as the Rev. Fred Gilby (see earlier posts) went out there in the late 1920s on mission work.

The French speaker he mentions at the end of this article should be identifiable with a little work.

If anyone has more information about Motler, please do comment.  Perhaps there are people in South Africa who recall him?

Click onto the image for a readable size.

The Priest Ridden Deaf

Nick Heath, Motler, Leonard Augustine, 1888-1967

Hodgson, Keith, The Anarchist Past and Other Essays.  Anarchist Studies; London17.2 (2009): 125-126.

Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb (scrapbook one)

*See census returns from www.ancestry.co.uk 

Official recognition of British Sign Language 1987-2003 – suggested reading

H Dominic W Stiles13 November 2013

This is intended to suggest some reading about how BSL came to be recognised by the British Government.  Feel free to suggest other source material. 

  • In 1987/88 the British Deaf Association mounted a campaign calling for the official recognition of BSL. The campaign report (see below) included the text of the EC regulation for official recognition of sign languages, which was successfully debated at Strasbourg in June 1988.

BRITISH DEAF ASSOCIATION. BSL – Britain’s fourth language: the case for official recognition for British Sign Language. BDA, 1987.

The European Parliament gave its total support for the recognition of Sign Languages.  British Deaf News, 1988, Jul, 1.

  • At the 3rd European Congress on Sign Language Research held in Hamburg in July 1989, delegates agreed a statement which lists the political action needed to alter the current situation.

Statement on the recognition of the national sign languages of the deaf. Prillwitz, S. and Vollhaber, T. Current trends in European sign language research. Signum Press, 1990. pp. 404-06.

  • A written question on official recognition of BSL was put to the Prime Minister by Jack Ashley, MP and answered by the PM (John Major) on Tuesday 18 June 1991. The extract from Hansard is as follows:

“MR JACK ASHLEY: To ask the Prime Minister, what is Her Majesty’s Government’s policy towards the recommendation of the EEC resolution of June 1988; and if he will give official recognition to British Sign for the Deaf.

THE PRIME MINISTER: The Government has noted the terms of the resolution on sign languages for deaf people adopted by the European Parliament in June 1988. We fully recognise the right of deaf people to use their preferred method of communication, including British Sign Language, and have grant aided a variety of organisations concerned with the promotion and development of sign languages and other communication techniques.”

  • Jack Ashley also tabled an Early Day Motion calling upon the Government to give official recognition to BSL and to remedy the current shortage of fully trained interpreters (EDM 943).

Sign Language. British Deaf News. 1991, Sep, 5.

  • A motion for the recognition of BSL as an official UK language failed to be accepted at the Labour Party Conference in 1997 because of the complications of the voting system.

Labour fails to recognise Sign Language.  British Deaf News, 1998, Jan, 3.

  • The European Parliament reiterated its support for the rights of deaf people to use sign language as their preferred language with a second resolution on sign languages.  Richard Howitt, MEP, announced the intention of asking the European Commission what had been done to implement the resolution.

Resolution on sign languages voted in European Parliament 10 years ago. EUD Update, 1998, May, 1.

  • The CACDP and BDA asked the Government why BSL is not included in the European Charter for Minority Languages.

European recognition for Gaelic – what about BSL?  British Deaf News, 1998, Aug, 1.

No recognition for BSL in Euro Charter. CACDP Standard, 1998, 33, 1.

  • BDA gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Disablement, as a first step in the BDA campaign to get BSL recognised as a minority language under the European Minority Languages Charter which the UK signed.

BDA takes campaign to Parliament. British Deaf News, 1999, Jun, 1.

  • Federation of Deaf People organised a march to present a petition calling for official recognition of British Sign Language at No. 10, Downing Street, June 1999.

4,000 march for British Sign Language. British Deaf News, 1999, Aug, 1, 6-7.

It’s our right to choose. Disability Times. 1999, Aug/Sep, 5.

RNID News Review, 1999, 28 Aug-10 Sep, 36.

Sign of the times. Disability Now, 1999, Aug, 1. (photo only)

  • UNISON (the UK’s largest trade union) supported a campaign for official recognition of BSL.

Unison joins campaign for BSL to be recognised. British Deaf News, 1999, Nov, 3.

  • British Deaf Association sent a delegation to meet MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) with the aim of getting legislation through the Scottish Parliament in its next session.

British Deaf Association calls on Scottish Parliament to recognise sign language. British Deaf News, 1999, Dec, 7.

  • On 16th of February 2000, the Scottish Parliament debated the official recognition of BSL.

Scots leading way on BSL. Disability Now, 2000, Mar, 1.

Historic Scottish Parliament BSL debate. Disability View, 2000, May/Jun, 37.
RNID News Review, 2000, 12-26 May, 21.

  • BDA published its sign language policy, to form the basis of a campaign to raise the status of BSL.

BDA sign language policy: summary of feedback from consultants. British Deaf News, 2000, Apr, 14-15.

  • Federation of Deaf People organises further marches in support of official recognition of BSL, summer 2000.

DAY, L. BSL recognition for Bristol! British Deaf news, 2000, Dec, 20.

My experience at the BSL Rally.  Deaf Arts UK, 2000, 13, 12-13 (Deaf children talk about their performances in Trafalgar Square.)

  • British Deaf Association launched a poster campaign calling for the official recognition of BSL, Autumn 2000.

The BDA shows the finger to the Government. British Deaf News, 2000, Nov, 16.

Poster hands out strong message. Disability Now, 2000, Nov, 4.

  • The London Borough of Barnet recognised BSL as an official Community Language.

Barnet recognises BSL. CACDP Standard, 2000, 42, 9.

  • The UK Council on Deafness organised a submission to the Disability Rights Commission calling for the official recognition of BSL: 25 out of 37 members signed the submission; 3 members specifically said they were unable to sign the submission – DELTA, the Ewing Foundation, and the RNID.

Deaf organisations join forces for official recognition. British Deaf News, 2000, Dec, 14.

BSL submission. Bulletin (UKCOD), 2001, Spring, 1.

  • The Disability Rights Commission published its advice to the Government on recognition of BSL.

See DRC website at: www.drc-gb.org

Sign language campaigners step up pressure on the Government. British Deaf News, 2001, Feb, 15.

  • BDA leaders met Margaret Hodge, Minister for Disabled people, to press for immediate action on BSL recognition.

BDA update: BSL recognition. British Deaf News, 2001, May, 21.

  • Police arrested protestors as a splinter group at a Wolverhampton rally in support of BSL recognition blocked city centre traffic.

Six arrested in Wolverhampton protest. British Deaf News, 2001, May, 6-7.

Delegation of representatives from deaf organisations meets Maria Eagle, Minister for Disabled people, on 31 January 2002.  Magazine (BATOD), 2002, Apr, 46.

  • Letter to Maria Eagle, drawing parallels with the Cornish language, September 2002.

BSL rec update. Information Bulletin (FDP), 2002, 6(2), 3.

  • Malcolm Bruce took up ‘recognition of sign languages’ challenge

British Deaf News, 2003, Jan, 13.

  • On 19 December 2002, MEPs voted in support of a Conservative proposal, which gave sign language its first recognition as a minority language.

British Deaf News, 2003, Feb, 13.

  • On 18 March 2003 the Government made a formal statement that it recognised that BSL is a language in its own right (quoting an estimated 70,000 people whose preferred language it is), and promising to invest £1 million in a programme of initiatives to support this statement.

British Deaf News, 2003, Apr, 5-7. (with text of statement); May, 26.

CACDP Standard, 2003, 52, 1-2.

WFD News. 2003, 16(2), 38. (with text of statement)

  • British Deaf News published results of its survey of city councils’ recognition of BSL

BSL recognition: city councils. British Deaf news, 2003, Jun, 12-13.


ATHERTON, M. Welsh today, B.S.L. tomorrow? Deaf Worlds, 1999, 15(1), 11-15.

DARBY, A. and REDHEAD, C. Social work with deaf people. Deaf Worlds, 2000, 16(3), 69-73. (p. 73 refers to what recognition of BSL implies.)

BOWMAN, C. Official recognition of BSL: some insights from the Welsh Language Act 1993. Deaf Worlds, 2001, 17(1), 7-13.

KRAUSNEKER, V. Sign languages and the minority language policy of the European Union. In METZGER, M. Bilingualism and identity in deaf communities. 2000, Gallaudet University Press. pp. 142-158. (RNID Library location: UTB TNX)

KRAUSNEKER, V. Sign languages of Europe – future chances. In LEESON, L. Looking forward: EUD in the 3rd millenium…. 2001, Douglas McLean. pp. 64-73. (RNID Library location: Conf Coll/1998)

The status of sign languages in the European Union in 2001, and Overview of country-by-country analysis. EUD Update, 2001, 4(10), 1-30. (pp. 25-26 cover progress in the UK, including legislation to improve status of BSL).

AQUILINE C-A. Sign language recognition. WFD News, 2003, 1692), 7. (Lists countries that have recognised sign language with an indication of what ‘official recognition’ is in each country.)

TURNER, G. Government recognition and £1 million boost for British Sign Language. Deaf Worlds, 2003, 19(1), S74-S78.

Confusing two Beales – George Beale – Missioner, and Henry B.Beale – “Oralism… like a dog standing on its hind legs”

H Dominic W Stiles1 November 2013

BealeGeorge Beale was born on 1849 at Croxteth Path near Liverpool (British Deaf Mute 1894, p.116-7, from which much of this is culled).  His father worked for the Earl of Sefton .  George lost his hearing aged two “having caught fever” before he had acquired any spoken English .  At eight he attended the School for the Deaf  in Oxford Street Liverpool, and was we are told by the BDM taught by the ‘silent method’, as this would have been before the German or Oral method became established in Britain.  Feeling his education inadequate, he ‘cultivated the society of books’  (ibid).  Working at his self-education like this

he might, with perfect truth, be held up as a fine example of the successful pursuit of knowledge under greater difficulties to the rising generation of his own class. (ibid)

He became a lithographer after leaving school, his work preventing him from close involvement with the Liverpool Adult Deaf and Dumb Society until after he finished his apprenticeship and his father retired to Liverpool.  Once he had the time for it, he quickly became elected to the society’s committee, and became a lay helper when they opened missions in Widnes and Warrington.

He married in about 1891, to a lady called Emma who was also deaf (from the age of 6).  She was 22 years younger than him.  They had three children (all hearing) and George died in 1928.

Now originally I had linked George Beale with the quotation in the heading, but I now see (thanks to the person who contacted me) that this was an error, and to Rachel for the comment below.

Henry Blenkarne Beale was born in 1845 in London, the son of a doctor.  He was aged seven when he was sent to Merchant Taylor’s School, and there he caught scarlet fever which left him totally deaf (Ephphatha 1898) p.89.  He had a ‘desultory’ education then at home from an elder sister for about five years, but he educated himself in his father’s library we are told, reading Shakespeare and Milton.  Henry began engraving, was apperenticed to W.J. Linton, and eventually moved to Canada where he remained for twenty years in business at first with a brother, then with a Mr. F. Brigden.  He married a “deaf-mute lady”, Miss Susan Martin, and they had six (hearing) children.   He returned to England after twenty years (ibid).

In 1893 he was on the staff of The British Deaf Mute (see Volume 3 p.22).

HB BealeH.B. Beale tells us here about his feelings over using the term ‘Deaf and Dumb’.  He supports the use of the term ‘dumb’ in opposition to the Oralists;

I have nothing to say against Oralism in its proper place, i.e. amongst those who have once heard, or even for some phenomenally sharp born mutes who can master articulation in a fair degree; but, for the majority, it seems to me to be like a dog standing on its hind legs.  It is wonderful to see a dog doing it, but dogs only do it at the command of their masters, and when left free to choose, always prefer to walk on four legs. You would not call such a dog a biped because he walked on two legs occasionally; and if a man, deaf from birth, uses speech on compulsion to two or three persons, and uses manualism and signs to all the rest, why not call him dumb? (Beale 1897)

I attach the short item to the link in the reference below.

Henry Beale wrote a lot of poetry, some being published in the British Deaf Times.  He died in Gloucestershire in 1921.

Beale “Dumb” British Deaf Monthly, 1897, 6(70), 231-232.

Peeps into the Deaf World p.394-5

The Poetry of Mr. H.B. Beale, Ephphatha 1898 vol.3 p.89-90

[Post revised, 28/1/2016]