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UCL Ear Institute & Action on Hearing Loss Libraries


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Two Lady Workers, Sophia Rhind & Rose Maugham

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 19 December 2014

Sophia Rhind (also called Sophie) was born in Belfast circa 1846 (she was 89 when she died in 1933), when her father Charles Rhind was teaching in that city.  They moved around a fair amount when she was young.  They lived in Aberystwyth for a while where her father founded the Cambrian Institution before it moved to Swansea, then on to Edinburgh, and the family ended up in London, with Charles Rhind becoming the Chaplain to the Deaf at St. Saviour’s Church after the Rev. Stainer.  She learnt teaching with the oral method from Simon Schoentheil or Schöntheil and became a teacher of the deaf, but only learnt finger-spelling properly Gilby says, when her father became the Chaplain.  Sophia taught the girls’ bible class, and the mothers’ Dorcas meetings.  After her parents died the R.A.D.D. appointed her ‘lady-visitor’ to the deaf until she retired from that work in 1916 (Ephphatha 1916).

Rose Maugham was born in Clerkenwell in 1849, losing her hearing we are told aged 10 due to scarlet fever.  The 1871 census, when she was living in Paradise Road, Lambeth with her father Alexander (a printer) and mother Ellen (a laundress) does not record her as deaf.  This shows that we should be cautious with census information because people often under-reported these things, did not know them, or made mistakes.  Additionally, the transcriptions I used have her surname as ‘Mangham’ – an easy error for someone unfamiliar with English names.*  In the 1891 census she was still living in Paradise Road, with her brother-in-law Edwin Penn who ran a laundry.  Interestingly a neighbour who was a dressmaker, Sarah Chandler (born in Effingham and aged 59), was also ‘deaf from childhood’.  There is much potential to use census returns and other records to fill out our understanding of the lives of ordinary people in the 19th century.

Lady workers 001Of the mission work that Miss Maugham and Miss Rhind did in the 1890s, Gilby says,

The poor women of the Mothers’ Meetings were given tea and a bun, and to see them bringing their children from even Fulham some miles away made one realise how precious to them was this hour or two of human fellowship, enjoyed fortnightly. Cricklewood and Kensal Green sent their poor and the good that Miss Rhind did at Oxford Street and Miss Maugham did at Deptford will only be known in that Great Day when the Master shall reward his faithful servants who toiled for love of His children, for whom He died.

Miss Rhind

The lady we see here, is Miss Rhind, at a flag day outside St. Saviour’s Oxford Street, circa 1920.

In 1911 Rose Maugham was living in Balham*, and she lived on until 1936, dying aged 87.

*Her name is consistently wrongly transcribed as ‘Mangham’ in the transcriptions of the censuses.

Miss Maugham died in 1936, aged eighty-seven (BDT).

Sophie Rhind

Miss Sophie Mary Rhind, and Miss R. Maugham.  Ephphatha, Vol. 1 1896, p.21-2

Miss Sophie Mary Rhind.  Ephphatha, 1916, no.29 p.422-3

Gilby Memoirs

1891 Census RG12; Piece: 401; Folio: 19; Page: 31; GSU roll: 6095511

Late Miss Rose Maugham, BDT p.84, 1936

Page updated 26/4/2019



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