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Archive for February, 2015

Mumu, aka Annie Jane, a deaf slave from Sierra Leone (ca. 1838-66)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 February 2015

In the Quarterly Review of Deaf Mute Education for October 1892, there is an item on the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, Bath, (an institution connected with the ‘Industrial Home’ that we examined in a previous item).

In 1853, a fifteen year old ‘deaf and dumb’ girl from Sierra Leone called Mumu entered the Bath Institution.  I will let the original article tell the story –

In 1846 she had been rescued by a British Cruiser from a slave ship and placed, with her liberated companions, in the school at Charlotte, established by Government for the purpose of receiving and educating liberated slave girls, and now under the charge of the Church Missionary Society.   On hearing of the case, the committee of the Bath Deaf and Dumb Institution offered to receive this girl free of expense.  Mumu was accordingly sent to England, and very soon made rapid progress in her lessons.  She was of a very amiable, teachable, and affectionate disposition, and her health, too, was remarkably good.  The instruction she gained in a period of about five years was attended with the happiest results.  After due preparation, and at her own earnest desire, she was admitted by Baptism into the Christian Church and received the christian names of Annie Jane.  She then became deeply anxious that her mother should learn the truths of the Gospel and constantly prayed for her.  Her father, who was captured, had been cruelly put to death before his child.  She was afterwards, for a short time, in service of the Church Missionary College at Islington, but, subsequently, she returned to Bath, and remained in the Institution until her death, which occurred, after a short illness, in May, 1866.  She died beloved and regretted by her friends, teachers, and companions.  Her love of the word of God, her simple reliance on her Saviour, and her conscientious endeavours to discharge faithfully the humble duties of her station, evinced that this once heathen girl had become a Christian not only by profession, but also in deed and in truth.  Certain marks on her forehead proved on inquiry that she was a princess in her own country.

The ship that rescued her would have been part of the West Africa Squadron.

In limited time I could not find further mention of her.  It would make a very interesting dissertation for someone to research this more thoroughly – subaltern history.  If you can add anything let us know!

The charity Sound Seekers that lives next door to us in the UCL Ear Institute, has been doing work in Sierra Leone, unfortunately on hold at the time of writing due to Ebola.

UPDATE 16/2/15: Our friend @DeafHeritageUK has pointed out that Mumu appears in the 1861 census as a servant, under her adopted name & having taken the surname of Jane Elwin (see previous post) – living in Suffolk.  I am hoping to follow this up further, and will of course add any new information I discover.

Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, Bath.  Quarterly Review of Deaf Mute Education October 1892 p.1

Mary Hare and the Dene Hollow Oral School, Burgess Hill, Sussex

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 6 February 2015

Dene Hollow Oral School for the Deaf was a private school established by Mary Adelaide Hare (1865-1945) at Burgess Hill, Sussex, 1916.  After her death on November the 5th 1945, in accordance with her wishes, it ceased to be a private school for children of all ages, and became instead a voluntary special school for boys and girls aged 11 plus, under the control of a board of managers nominated by her.  This was approved by the Ministry of Education and the school was named after her in 1946.  The new head of the school was Edgar L. Mundin, who had taught at the oralist Northampton Private Deaf School (mentioned in earlier posts).  Mary’s sister Ethel Madelaine Hare (1874-1951) was also a teacher of the deaf, and after retirement she “became the spirit behind the work of her sister Mary at Dene Hollow, Burgess Hill”.

Dene HollowThe school moved to Arlington Manor, Newbury, Berkshire, in 1949.

In the 1891 census Mary was living in Croydon with her mother and sister, and an assistant teacher from Ireland whose name is hard to read.  They had six pupils, Ada Harvey from New Zealand, aged (34? or more likely) 14, Mary Ramson from Hastings, aged 12, Jane Avery from Kent, aged 12, Coralie Wilson from Battle, aged 11, Henrietta Foss from Kent, aged 11, and Ethel McMahon from London, aged 8.

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 596; Folio: 42; Page: 9; GSU roll: 6095706

MAGAZINE – Dene Hollow Club/Association – Dene Hollow School Old Pupils’ Association, 1927-46 [journals, under ‘Dene Hollow’]

Silent World, 1946, 1, 16-18.

Silent World, 1954, May. (Front cover photo of pupils and teacher in classroom)

TREASURE, A.R. The Mary Hare Grammar School for the Deaf: a brief history. Mary Hare Grammar School, 1990.

50 and still going strong. British Deaf News, 1996, Apr, 8-12.

REDWOOD, F. Value added facts. Special Children, 1999, 119, 20-21.

Listen and learn. Special Children, 2002, 151, 33-35.

HARE, Ethel Madelaine

Obituary. Bluebird, 1951, 7, 2.

Obituary. Teacher of the Deaf, 1951, 49, 80.

Mary HareHARE, Mary Adelaide

BOYCE, A.J. and LAVERY, E. The lady in green: biography of Miss Mary Hare 1865-1945. British Deaf History Society, 1999.

BROWN, I. Rare portraits and some memories of a great woman. Silent World, 1952, Oct, 142-43. (photos)

Miss Mary Hare. Deaf History Journal, 1997, 1(2), 10-17. (Includes text of Mary Hare’s will)

Obituary. Teacher of the Deaf, 1945, 43, 132.

Report of the NCTD Conference, Brighton, 1929. (photo – frontispiece)

RIDDELL, F. Silent world. Geoffrey Bles,  1934. (The character and appearance of Ann Deering, headmistress of Heathside School for Deaf Children “some twenty miles south of London” is based on Mary Hare, to whom the novel is dedicated – see pp. 35-36 for description of Miss Deering.)