Louisa Allchin & Harry Collcutt, Margate & Old Kent Road pupils
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 22 November 2019
Harry Edgar Collcutt was born in Oxford in 1861, and lost his hearing aged two according to the 1911 census. His father Henry was then a college servant, later a butler. The family clearly fell on hard times, as we see in the short card pictured and transcribed here –
Harry E. Collcutt, Aged nine years,
Resident at Henley-on-Thames, is a Candidate for Admission into the above Asylum. His mother is paralysed; his father is broken in health; four young children are dependent upon these afflicted parents. The Votes and active interest of Subscribers are most earnestly requested in aid of this pressing case of urgent need, for the January, 1870, and subsequent Elections, by the following :—
Rev. Dr. PLUMPTRE, Master of University College, Oxford.
Rev. Dr. SYMONDS, Warden of Wadham College, Oxford.
Rev. Dr. OGILVIE, Canon of Christ Church, Oxford.
Dr. ACLAND, Regius Professor of Medicine, Oxford.
Professor WALL, Balliol College, Oxford.
Professor JOWETT, Balliol College, Oxford.
Rev. A. M. W. CHRISTOPHER, Rector of St. Aldate’s, Oxford.
Rev. T. A. NASH, Rector of St. Philip’s, Heigham, Norwich.
Rev. B. S. FYNCH, Rector of St. Paul’s, Deptford.
T. COMBE, Esq., M.A., University. Press, Oxford.
Alderman T. RANDALL, Oxford. (uncle of the above?)
G. C. HITCHINGS, Surgeon, Oxford.
Proxies will be received by the Rev. A. M. W. CHRISTOPHER, Park Town ; and Mr. J. T. K. CASTELL, 4, St. John’s Terrace, St. Giles’, Oxford. (uncle of the above?)
I suppose these are all people who would have known his father.
Harry was indeed a successful candidate, and we see that he was at the Old Kent Road Asylum in the 1871 census. I am not clear what happened to his father, but he was living as a lodger with various people, being a gamekeeper at Caversham in 1881, and ended up in 1891 as a gardener, not with the family. Harry trained as a cabinet maker. He died in 1927.
In 1893 Harry married London-born Louisa Charlotte Catherine Allchin (1866-1933). Louisa was Deaf from about 5 years old, according to the 1911 census. Her father was a rent collector. She attended the Margate School, and you can see her there on the 1881 census.
In 1903, a party of Deaf from Reading visited Oxford, and Harry was mentioned –
OXFORD DIOCESAN CHURCH MISSION THE DEAF AND DUMB.
The combined excursion of the Reading and Oxford members in connection with the above mission took place on Saturday, the 8th inst,, and was fortunately favoured with fine weather. About fifty from Reading arrived in Oxford at 8.35 a.m., and were conducted to Christ Church College, where they ware received by Mrs. Spooner (secretary) and Mrs. Biggs, the latter of whom explained that Dr. Biggs would have been present had he not been called upon to deliver a lecture at the University Extension Summer Meeting now being held. The party were shown over the chief features of the College—the kitchen, the dining-hall, the Cathedral, etc.—by Mr. Francis, the head verger, his explanatory remarks being interpreted by Mrs. Spooner. Next they walked through Christ Church Meadows and Botanic Gardens to Magdalen College, where Mr. Francis again acted cicerone, and caused the chapel opened specially for them to see. Later, they proceeded up the famous High-street to the Sheldonian Theatre, where they were joined by some fifty more members from Oxford and vicinity. The whole party then drove off in five brakes, accompanied the Missioner (Mr. George Mackenzie) for the old-world village of Woodstock. After luncheon they went into the fine demesne of Blenheim, and were shown many objects of interest in the park and gardens the Secretary to the Duke of Marlborough. A return drive by a different route brought the people to New College in Oxford, where they ware photographed and then entertained totea by the Warden and Mrs. Spooner. There were numerous friends the Mission present, the Rev. A. Negus, Miss A. Randall, Miss Miss Barnby, Miss Steedman, and others. The Warden (Canon Spooner) spoke few words of welcome, which were interpreted the deaf and dumb language by Mrs. Spooner. A vote of thanks to the Warden and Mrs. Spooner was moved by Mr. G. Mackenzie (the Missioner), who said this was the most successful ex- cursion ever held in connection with the Mission. Mr. Radbone seconded, and asked Mrs. Spooner to accept a framed photograph of this gathering, subscribed for the majority of the people, as a memento and a slight mark of their appreciation. Mr. H. Collcutt supported, remarking that the sea of happy and smiling faces he saw in front of him testified to the all-round enjoyment. He also took the opportunity, being Oxonian, add a word of welcome to the Reading friends. The vote was carried by acclamation. The Warden and Mis. Spooner briefly responded, expressing the pleasure it had given them to entertain the visitors. Mr. C. Leavey (Reading) also spoke a few grateful words on behalf of the Reading visitors. Before dispering homewards the party were taken over New College. It may be mentioned that the deaf and dumb in Reading are increasing numbers, and that consequently they feel the want of a small and central institute where they can hold meetings of various kinds, and where the work of the Mission can carried on. (Reading Mercury – Saturday 22nd August, 1903)
The Rev. and Mrs Spooner, are the famous Oxford Spooners. Mrs Frances Spooner was the founder of the Oxford Diocesan Council for the Deaf. After her, her daughter Rosemary was deeply involved in the mission, and also learnt sign language.
I wonder if that photograph is still to be found somewhere?
This photograph shows the Oxford Mission in 1902, from the British Deaf Monthly –
1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 754; Folio: 64; Page: 10; GSU roll: 824725
1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 986; Folio: 132; Page: 3; GSU roll: 1341234
1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1055; Folio: 14; Page: 22
1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 601; Folio: 113; Page: 8; GSU roll: 818907
1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 1502; Folio: 80; Page: 13; GSU roll: 1341363
1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1168; Folio: 27; Page: 19
1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 1384; Folio: 134; Page: 2
1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 8132; Schedule Number: 270
2 Responses to “Louisa Allchin & Harry Collcutt, Margate & Old Kent Road pupils”
Harry was the son of Henry Alfred and Elizabeth nee Randall. Henry himself was the son of William Collcutt, an initially well-to-do freight waggon businessman and carnation-fancier of St. Aldate’s, Oxford. As William aged, Henry (giving up his post as Butler of Balliol College) tried to keep the family business going against the growing competition of the canals and the railway, an effort which inevitably failed; he was also greatly affected by Elizabeth’s illness. Henry managed to hold on until after his parent’s deaths but then went spectacularly bankrupt, was separated from most of his family (although he did spend some time with Harry), eventually dying in the Union Workhouse in Reading.
It is also worth noting that one of the daughters of Harry and Louisa, Dorothy Marguerite, became the welfare officer for the Oxford Diocesan Council Deaf Centre (1956-62): “Miss Collcutt was a devoted Lady Worker, pastoral visitor, secretary involved with both the development of the original Oxford Deaf Centre in Banbury Road and the New Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She retired officially in 1961 but continued her involvement until her death in 1977” [The Link – Oxford Diocesan Deaf Churches Issue 40, Christmas 2015].