Miss Louisa Rice “is blessed with sweet reasonableness, which will help her in the struggles of life” & Albert LuckH Dominic W Stiles21 July 2017
There must have been fireworks when Louisa Rice was born, for it was on the 5th of November, 1899, in Raunds, Northamptonshire. She appears to have been deaf from birth, though not surprisingly the 1901 census does not note this – her parents may not have yet realized. Her father, John, was a shoemaker, which is hardly a surprise for that area in that period. She appears in Derby School headmaster W.R. Roe’s 1917 book, Snapshots of the Deaf. This book, and its companion, provide a really useful picture of how children at the Derby school one hundred years ago fared in work after they had left. Roe wanted to alert the general public to the fact that his pupils were well educated and industrious workers. He wrote in his preface,
The Institution is building monuments of character which will live on, not as memories merely, but as active, vital facts affecting for good the present and succeeding generations. (p. ix) […]
Now thousands of cheery letters telling us of their work and successes, come from old pupils who are scattered over nearly every county in England, some in Scotland and Wales, and others in the United States of America, South Africa, and Canada. (p. xiii)
She was a very lively, sometimes rather mischievous, but a good-hearted girl, and did well in the scholastic and industrial departments.
On leaving the Institution she returned to her home at Raunds, Northamptonshire. She soon obtained employment in a boot factory, where she is doing work connected with ladies’ and children’s boots, and earning good wages. Louisa is blessed with sweet reasonableness, which will help her in the struggles of life. (Roe, 1917)
Albert Luck was born in Wollaston, Northants, on the 11th of August, 1899. His father Frederick was a shoe riveter. Rather than attending the Derby School, on the 16th of January 1911 he was admitted to the Royal Schools for the Deaf, Manchester, his end of school date was due to be on his sixteenth birthday in 1915. As you see, the cause of his deafness was unknown.
In 1925, Louisa and Albert married. I have no idea how they met – perhaps they worked at the same factory, perhaps they met through the local mission or a deaf club. The mission that started in the late 1920s, was run by Algernon J.M. Barnett. From a search of Free BMD and www.ancestry.com I see that Louisa and Albert had four children, Betty (1928-2009), what I assume were twins, in 1930 Jack E. and Reginald A. (he died 1979), and Joan in 1933. Louisa died in 1984, and Albert died in 1985. If you know anything more about them or the Northamptonshire Deaf of that era, do comment below.
For a flavour of the Northamptonshire area in that period, try reading some of H.E. Bates‘s early novels, for example, The Poacher. Bates was born at Rushden in 1905, so was almost a contemporary of Louisa Rice.
Roe, W.R. Snapshots of the Deaf, Derby, 1917, p.246
1901 Census – Louisa: Class: RG13; Piece: 1454; Folio: 53; Page: 29, Albert: Class: RG13; Piece: 1438; Folio: 182; Page: 13
1911 Census – Louisa: Class: RG14; Piece: 20943; Page: 5, Albert: Class: RG14; Piece: 23656; Page: 6
www.ancestry.co.uk for death dates