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“Some men drink so much beer that …… …… ……” – Mid 19th c. Lesson Books for Deaf Pupils

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 January 2016

Charles Rhind is a name that may be familiar to regular readers of these pages.  He was a teacher of the Deaf who became a deacon and then vicar at St. Saviour’s church for the Deaf  in Oxford Street.  You can read the previous entry on Rhind here.  Rhind moved about quite a lot and as usual the census returns can help us flesh out informaion from obituaries and brief biographical mentions.  In the 1861 census, Rhind was living in 23 Windsor Road, Islington, which is just off Holloway Road.  With him was his wife Sophia, his daughter Sophia (born in Belfast ca. 1844), and his sons William (born in London ca. 1848), Charles (born in Wales ca. 1850), then Henry, Edward and Frederick all born in Scotland from ca. 1855 to 1859.  He moved back to London in 1860.  By the time of the 1871 census he was living in Brixton,

We have two books by Charles Rhind, and one at least owned by him and possibly written by him.  His Vocabulary of Verbs with their Meanings and a List of Irregular Verbs, was published in Edinburgh in 1854.  Our copy was owned by Alexander Pender.  A second book that may be by Rhind is rather peculiar.  It is bound with card covered in blue textured cloth, with no publisher or title page, except having “Lessons for the Deaf and Dumb” inscribed on the outer & inner covers.  Indeed the pages in both copies we have are empty of print up until page 25, which is a part of Section 15.  It has sentences with blank spaces as exercises, e.g.

  • “John is …… passionate …… sullen” (p.107)
  • “The man …… God struck dead for telling a lie was ……” (p.47)
  • “Some men drink so much beer that …… …… ……” (p.62)

Pages 1 to 14 of one copy, owned by Charles Rhind himself when he lived in Brixton, are ciovered in beautifully hand written writing with exercises for sections 1 to 12.  It could be written by Rhind himself, or perhaps his daughter Sophia.  To show how sophisticated the pupils were supposed to be in learning vocabulary compared with modern pupils, we note that in section 6, the aresentences that are supposed to be filled in with “Quadruped, Biped, Domestic, Wild” –

  • “The cow is ……”
  • “The hen is a ……”
  • “The fox is not …… ……”
  • “Man is a ……” etc.

On page 113, “Of Future Time”, there is a sentence “1860 will be ……” which suggests that it must have been published in the late 1850s.

Lessons for the deaf rhindThe third book is exceedingly rare, possibly unique.  It is Illustrated Lessons for the Deaf and Dumb.  The book is full of small charming pictures.  It must date from shortly after 1852 as it shows the launch of HMS Wellington, a new screw-propelled battleship that served in the Crimean War. Wellington Click onto the image to the left.

There are so many great pictures in this book that it is hard to know what to include.  WonderingNote the man who is ‘wondering’, Maimed veterans‘shooting a frog’, the ‘maimed veterans’, the ‘oyster-woman’, ‘oppressed by the heat of the sun’, and the ‘Book read by a Dog’!

Passive ParticiplesCensus 1861 Class: RG 9; Piece: 151; Folio: 77; Page: 36; GSU roll: 542582h

Census 1871 Class: RG10; Piece: 687; Folio: 45; Page: 12; GSU roll: 823334

Census 1881 Class: RG11; Piece: 617; Folio: 109; Page: 15; GSU roll: 1341142

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