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Gilby’s Ephphatha Newspaper & its iteratations

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 13 January 2020

Early newspapers and magazines for and by the Deaf were usually short-lived.  One problem was that Deaf people were spread out, but also magazines and papers were of varied quality, would not appeal to everyone, and were expensive to produce.  The Rev. F.W.G. Gilby’s earliest  attempt at religious ‘journalism’ was –

1885-87 THE HERALD This was written out by hand, and I think produced as a mimeograph process.  It is not particularly useful for Deaf history, as it is more interested in sermonising and religion than people.

It was followed after a few years by –

1892—93 OUR QUARTERLY PAPER Also produced by Gilby.

1894 OUR MONTHLY CHURCH MESSENGER TO THE DEAF  This was edited by Rev. F.W.G. Gilby, Mr A. Macdonald Cuttell and Mr W.W. Adamson.


1897 Mr A. Macdonald Cuttell became sole editor.

1899 It amalgamated with THE BRITISH DEAF MONTHLY

* * * *

1909 Rev. F.W.G. Gilby edited EPHPHATHA – This included the R.A.D.D. circular OUR NOTICE BOARD as an insert, or was itself inserted onto ONB, and became the R.A.D.D. magazine.  In turn, other missions would continue to use Ephphatha with their own local mission news as an insert or wrap-around.

1948 EPHPHATHA re-started in a new series, but in 1959 it ended.

“Oh – Ted – this seems like a beautiful dream!” she enunciated. “Hope – and Cheer! A friendly Magazine of Interest For The Deaf, And Conducted By The Deaf”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 June 2018

In an untidily amateurishly stitched together collection of programmes and oddments for the Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb in our collection*, there lies a curious mimeographed magazine, called – with the title in inverted commas – “Hope – and Cheer!”  It continues with the sub-heading, ‘A friendly Magazine of Interest For The Deaf, And Conducted By The Deaf.’  It was edited by Tom Kelsall and Alice Christina Burnett (1874-1961).  It assures us it was produced by Deaf people, so we must accept that Kelsall and Burnett were deaf, although Alice is not described as such in any census I could see.  As we have discussed before though, that could be for a number of reasons, for example because someone else (her husband or father) filled in the form, or because she did not think it was a disability, or perhaps she was not profoundly deaf.

Alice was born in Edinburgh, on the 19th of September, 1874, daughter of Alice Stuart and George Burnett, who was Lord Lyon King of Arms.  A living relative of his was also a Herald.  In 1881 they lived at 21 Walker Street, Edinburgh.  In 1902 she married Louis Holloway, and in 1911 they were living on a private income, in Oxford Villas, Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

As an aside, it is very curious that Louis, born in Southampton, was living on his own means in 1901, with his father who was a bricklayer’s labourer.  Louis was 26 – how did he make his money, and how did he meet and woo Alice?

I have not been able to pin down Alice’s fellow editor, Tom Kelsall, who had been seriously ill, delaying this second edition of “Hope – and Cheer!” that came out in June-July, whatever year.  Logic suggests they were quite familiar with each other from some social situation, and had had ample time to discuss this magazine before starting it.  The content suggests it was a wartime production.  I do not suppose it lasted very long.  There is a rather maudlin tale written by Alice, called The lonely man and the lonely girl, that tells us how a Deaf girl starts a correspondence with a soldier, and it all ends happily –

He held out his arms to her.
And she went to them.
“Oh – Ted – this seems like a beautiful dream!” she enunciated.
He seemed so strong, so kind, so good to trust in!
“It is – the dream of my life, but it’s quite real,” he answered on his fingers – “Before my leave is over, then?”
She nodded shyly.

There is a paragraph, with ‘Our Monthly Problem – Whether you would rather be Deaf, of Blind.’  I recall having seen this sort of item before, even in old copies of British Deaf Times.

Cutliffe Hyne dwells upon the doom of deafness.  Sir Arthur Pearson declares deafness to be worse than blindness, and Sir Ferederick Milner agrees with him.  Mr. Wilson of the National Hostels for Deafened Soldiers and Sailors, on the contrary , say, “I would rather be deaf, dumb, and have two wooden legs, and only one arm, than be blind.”  What is your opinion? and why?  We award a prize of 3/- for the best letter, of within 200 words, on this subject.

Alice also offers handwriting analysis under the name ‘Grapho.’

“Hope – and Cheer!” contains some adverts. One from a widow, Mrs Margaret Chubb (1854-1950), formerly Jenkins, was offering rooms to rent in Penzance.  She was Deaf from Smallpox, aged 3 according to the 1911 census, when she was living at the same address with her son.  Her husband, who she married in 1888, was Richard Chubb (1852-?), a tailor from Devonshire.  Richard had also been ‘deaf and dumb’ and attended the Institution for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb at Walcot, Bath, where we find him in 1861, aged nine.

Finally, there is an advert from Samuel Driver of Leeds for ‘agents’ to run ‘Chocolate Clubs’ which I assume were along the lines of Christmas clubs.  If I have identified the correct Samuel, born in Keighley in 1888, he was not deaf – but his mechanic father Thomas Driver (1859-?) was, as was also their lodger, Eliza Dunn (b.ca.1868), who worked as a ‘Worsted Rover’.  Thomas, son of a mechanic Wilkinson Driver, was deaf from childhood and had already been identified as such aged two.

How did these people find out about “Hope – and Cheer!”?  How did Alice Holloway/Burnett and Tom Kelsall meet, and how did they distribute the magazine?  How long did it survive?  Are other copies in existence, or it this unique?  As with the previous post, we can see that exploring one trivial thing can open a world of forgotten connections.  There are plenty of further avenues to explore with this disparate collection of people.

Click images for a larger size.

If you can identify Kelsall please leave a comment.

*They were bound by L.Burroughs, ‘deaf and dumb’ in July, 1922.

UPDATE – [2/7/18] a relative by marriage of Alice adds this information – “In the 1939 Register Ref: RG101/2650C/005/18 Alice and Louis are living at 53 Argyll Street, Ryde, I.O.W. Her Birthdate is confirmed as 19 Sep 1874 and his given as 17? Feb 1880. Her occupation is given as “W V S Red Cross Hospital Supply Service” and his as “Private Means” Her Death was registered aged 86 Q1 1961 vol 6b page 1093 Isle of Wight His death registered Q3 1973 Isle of Wight. His Birth date given as 14 Feb 1880.”

Alice Burnett

1881 Scottish Census – Parish: St George; ED: 91; Page: 4; Line: 1; Roll: cssct1881_283

1901 Scottish Census – Parish: Edinburgh St George; ED: 1; Page: 9; Line: 21; Roll: CSSCT1901_363

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 5721; Schedule Number: 122


Margaret Chubb

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1857; Folio: 74; Page: 11 – with Richard Chubb

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 14071; Schedule Number: 173

1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6699A

Richard Chubb

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 1690; Folio: 53; Page: 5; GSU roll: 542851

Thomas Driver

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3227; Folio: 45; Page: 37; GSU roll: 543099

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 4076; Folio: 174; Page: 28

Louis Holloway

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 1079; Folio: 7; Page: 5

‘A typical Oldhamite’ and The Deaf & Dumb Herald and Public Intelligencer

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 1 February 2013

CLEGG, Ralph (ca.1849-1918)

Ralph Clegg was the son of John Clegg a self-made industrialist from Rochdale.  Clegg senior had worked in a mill from childhood, at a time when the working day lasted from 5am to 8pm. He saved his pennies, learned to read and write, and became an apprentice in Heywood.  Marrying a daughter of one of his employers, John Clegg moved on to Samuel Lees and Sons as a manager. His inventions such as “Clegg’s Pick” (used for working the shuttle on a loom) founded his prosperity. His son Ralph would appear to have had a form of deafness from childhood illness as he is not described as ‘Deaf’ in the 1851 census when he was still under two years old. Ralph was the founder & editor of The Deaf & Dumb Herald and Public Intelligencer which lasted for only one year in 1876-7.

In 1881 Ralph was living in  Oldham with his wife and four young children, working as a draughtsman, able to employ a domestic servant. In 1897 he married Martha Ann Topping, also Deaf, in Hendon. One wonders if it was engineering work which took him there. By 1901 Ralph was a mechanical engineer living at Levenshulme in Manchester.  The 1911 census finds them in Warrington, and says that they had had no children together.  Ralph would appear to have died aged 71 in 1918 in Warrington. Unfortunately we do not have the Warrington records for that time and I have not found an obituary.

Mission work with Deaf people began  in Oldham in 1852.  In 1869 it became a branch of the Manchester mission, with the superintendant Rev. G.A.W. Downing.  However the records show that some of the Deaf in the mission in Oldham became discontented at being a junior branch and they broke away from the Manchester Adult Deaf and Dumb Society in 1875.  The British Deaf Mute  for 1894 and the Oldham Mission report for 1903 (Brief Sketch of the History of our Society by W.J. M’Cormick) gives some details of this struggle. Ralph Clegg was a leader of the malcontents and his Herald was perhaps an attempt to give his side some intellectual weight (though a superficial look does not seem to show that the paper highlights any division).  The Herald itself has articles by Deaf people (including Chester Malam, subject of a previous entry), about some related issues such as education, and the old favourite temperance, but Clegg used a good deal of padding as well in the form of stories about animals or anecdotes. He was progressive in some of his views, being greatly concerned about the fate of a young Deaf man, Samuel Todd, convicted for manslaughter in Birmingham and sentenced to 15 years (p.11-12, p.36-7).

The Herald folded after a year having left Clegg £80 out of pocket. His father’s death in 1877 cannot have helped matters.  M’Cormick says of Clegg (Oldham Deaf and Dumb Society Annual Report 1903 p.36-7),

Mr Clegg – long may he live – is a typical Oldhamite; pushing, resourceful, self-reliant, and enthusiastic. He played a large part in Oldham and Manchester Deaf circles. The wielder of a ready pen – virile and logical – in his hands it was and is a mighty weapon. He made things hum, with the result that from the departure of Mr. Woodbridge until the advent of Mr. A. Welsh, now missionary at Dundee, in 1884, Oldham saw no more resident missionaries.

Clegg seems to have been a confident, intelligent Deaf man who wanted to take control of his own affairs.  It is possible that more could be, or indeed already has been unearthed about Ralph Clegg, so please let us know if you can add anything to the story by commenting.

I have uploaded the two contents pages as a pdf file.  If you are however intrigued by the Sheep fond of Practical Jokes, you will have to visit the library!

Herald contents [pdf]

1881 Census RG 11 4074

1901 Census RG13 3692

 Various Oldham Annual Reports

History. British Deaf-Mute and Deaf Chronicle, 1894, 3(35), 163-64.

The British Deaf News – a brief overview

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 November 2012

In a post last year we tried to explain some of the journals that the Rev. Gilby was involved in. The changing titles of the manifestations of what is now British Deaf News can be confusing. The following diagram of the origins of the British Deaf News is based on the illustration on page 130 of A Beginner’s Introduction to Deaf History, edited by Raymond Lee, and helps us to understand those changes.

Deaf and Dumb Times                                Bolton, Bury, Rochdale District Society
(1889-91)                                                              Quarterly News (1905-8)
|                                                                                               |
Deaf Chronicle (1891-2)                                 Quarterly News  (1908-9)
|                                                                                               |
|                                                                                               |
British Deaf Mute                                             Deaf Quarterly News [Bolton] (1909-15)
and British Deaf Mute Chronicle (1892-5)                  |
|                                                                                             |
British Deaf Monthly (1896-1903)                   Deaf Quarterly News (1915-50)
|                                                                                           |
|                                                                                           |
British Deaf Times (1903-54)                              Deaf News (1950-4)
|                                                                                           |
The British Deaf News (1955-2003)
Sign Matters (2003-8)
British Deaf News (2008-

And this is what the office looked like at some point perhaps circa 1910-20, in a photo perhaps by one of the Deaf photographers we have talked about before, Brooks, Veysey or Hallett.



Some religious newspapers for the deaf [updated]

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 23 March 2012

It can be very confusing trying to identify the various combinations of newspapers and missionary journals aimed at Deaf people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was often a struggle for these papers or journals to survive, as they had to find their widely distributed audience and persuade poor people to part with their money to buy copies. They would seem to have been labours of love, and were naturally impregnated with a strong religious element. The Rev. Gilby, about whom we have written previously, was involved with a few of these papers. This is a brief attempt to show the relationship of some of them.

The Deaf and Dumb Herald and Public Intelligencer (1876), by Ralph Clegg, see that link for more details.  Not really a religious paper, though it had of course rtones of that.  It is here because t may have been confused with Gilby’s Herald, see below.

Our Little Messenger to the Deaf and Dumb (1882-?) was a heavily religious short pamplet with some news items on the back page, published by Miss E. Jones of The Mall, Ballyshannon, County Donegal.  

Gilby’s first attempt at a ‘paper’, or perhaps a journal, appears to have been –

The Herald (1885-7), which is mentioned in the first edition of Our Quarterly Paper (1892-3), where it says, “Those of our readers who know the editor best, will remember that many good things were said and printed in it, though with much labour.”  We have not see any copies and it is possible none survive.  Gilby does not talk much about his papers in his memoirs and does not mention eother of these by name.

Our Monthly Church Messenger to the Deaf, (1894-5) edited by Gilby, A. Macdonald Cuttell and W.W. Adamson.  Adamson (1867-1947) was first chaplain for the Deaf at Newcastle Deaf School.  A native of that city, Adamson was educated at Dr. Bruce’s Academy.  From the age of 18 he took a great interest in the Deaf, as in his Boy’s Club he met a Deaf and Dumb boy and got him educated at the Northern Counties School for the Deaf, then recently moved from a house in Charlotte Sq. to Town Moor.  There he found many other Deaf children and from that day in 1885 his vocation was found.  He became a Lay Missioner then a Chaplain and Canon.

In 1896 Our Monthly Church Messenger to the Deaf, became –

Ephphatha, and in 1897 the sole editor was Mr A. Macdonald Cuttell.  This paper amalgamated with-

The British Deaf Monthly in 1899.

The news sheet or circular Our Notice Board, begun in 1901, seems to have been an R.A.D.D. production for the London mission.  Later on ephphatha would be published with local mission newsletters like this one.

Ten years later Gilby was once more involved with editing a newspaper, and he revived his title,

Ephphatha (1909). This paper, or small magazine, included the R.A.D.D. circular, and became the R.A.D.D. magazine. In 1948 it started a new series, but in 1959 it finally ended its run.

[Updated 16/10/2015]

For more information on our holdings of these and other Deaf papers, please contact the Action on Hearing Loss Library.