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Ethel Mary Bullock, “Miss Boo” and her private Deaf School(s)

H Dominic W Stiles15 September 2017

Ethel Mary Bullock was the daughter of a linen draper, Francis Bullock and his wife Annie.  She was born in Marylebone in 1870, probably in 72 Edgeware Road, where they were living in 1871 and in 1881.  By 1881 the family had grown quite large, with ten surviving children.  Ethel became a teacher of the deaf, training to use the oral oral method under van Praagh in Fitzroy Square Training College.  She qualified in 1890 (for this & what follows, see the obituary by Ross, 1962).*  In the 1901 census, when she was 31 and living with her older sister and widowed father at the same address, she was described as a ‘deaf mute teacher.’

Ethel attended the 1903 National Association of Teachers of the Deaf conference, and at that time she was living in Brook Green, near Hammersmith, but after a quick glance at the lists of delegates at later conferences through the next two decades, I did not spot her name again.

In 1903 she opened her own school in Chiswick, where the 1907 to 1909 phone books have her name in large print as a ‘Certified Teacher of Deaf (Oral System), Defects of Speech, Stammering &c., Lip-reading.’  The school in Chiswick was at 45 Fairlawn Avenue, which was and still is an ordinary suburban house.  I suppose she moved there from Brook Green.  From Chiswick, at some point the school moved on to Hampstead, in fact what we would now call Swiss Cottage, at 141 Fellows Road.  The 1911 census has her there but she made a mess of the form, putting herself as head of the household down the list of six inhabitants, and filling in the box which was left for the enumerator.  The teaching staff are described as ‘Educational’ in the occupation column, and there was only one pupil living in who was not described as deaf.  Perhaps she was just setting up the school again or was only taking day pupils.  She was still there in the 1919 phone book, but the following year finds her in Ashdown House, Rosslyn Hill, N.W.3. **

By 1923 the school had moved again, and the phone book for that year gives her address as Kingsfield House, Oxhey, near Bushey, Herts.  Oxhey is now a suburb of Watford.  Here was see the advertisement for the school in the front of the proceedings for the International Conference on the Education of the Deaf for 1925.  KingsfieldIt was there at least until 1927, but by the 1930s the same building had become a boys school and, yes, they had moved yet again, to Park Hill, Hemel Hempsted, where the school was definitely re-established by 1929.  The school looks superficially similar to the Kingsfield site, in park-like grounds, and it looks from the photos as if they even moved the ‘wigwam’ – their outdoor teaching hut (All About the Deaf p.xiv).  Park HillMiss Bullock must have only ever had short leases on these places, for yet again the school moved, to Folkestone at a date in the 1930s which I cannot pin down, then on to “Ingleside,” Tilehurst Road, Reading, where the school was in 1939 (All About the Deaf, p.66).  I cannot imagine it survived for long after the outbreak of war, and by the time we find Ethel next, in the 1947 telephone directory, she was living at 25 The Roystons, Surbiton.

It is very interesting that the school moved so often.  In her brief appreciation of Bullock, Miss J.P. Ross says,

Far from interfering with continuity of progress, these changes of environment proved helpful to the children’s interests and development.  This was largely due to the systematic language course , originally introduced by Miss Nevile, which was followed throughout the school, and which produced most gratifying results.
Miss Bullock, who was affectionately known as “Miss Bo,” had a genius for obtaining the best efforts from both pupils and staff, who were always willing to respond to her high ideals.

Ethel Bullock died aged 92 on the 25th of March, 1962, at a nursing home in Surrey.  She was an almost exact contemporary of Blanche Nevile, who also trained at the Fitzroy Square Training College, and who also died in 1962.  The big question for me, is why did she move premises so often?  It is hard to gauge how successful she was as a teacher, for we cannot know now how many pupils she had or who they were, unlike some of the earlier private schools where pupils are named in census returns.

*At the time of the 1891 census she was a visitor in Scotland, with no job description given.

**Incidentally, her younger brother Albert, who was an architect, also has his phone number in New Bond Street on the same pages as Ethel.

Ross, J.P., Miss Bullock.  The Teacher of the Deaf 1962, vol. lx no. 357 p.279

Census 1871 – Class: RG10; Piece: 165; Folio: 63; Page: 6; GSU roll: 823301

Census 1881 – Class: RG11; Piece: 147; Folio: 17; Page: 27; GSU roll: 1341033

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 110; Folio: 72; Page: 31

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 615

International Conference on the Education of the Deaf, London and Margate, 1925.

National Bureau for Promoting the General Welfare of the Deaf, Handbook for 1913, also N.I.D. All About the Deaf handbooks for 1929, 1932 and 1939.

 

Another private deaf school, another ardent oralist – John Barber, “a man of sincere religious fervour whom we all respected”

H Dominic W Stiles11 August 2017

Teacher of the deaf John Barber, was born in the village of Edenham, Lincolnshire in 1836.  I have no details of his early life, but according to his marriage certificate his father was a farmer, George Baker.  By 1861 he was a schoolmaster at the village of Irby in Lincolnshire.  I have not tracked him down in any earlier census returns but that could be because of transcription errors ‘hiding’ his name – or perhaps I gave up looking too soon.  By 1866 he was living in London.  I have no idea how he came to be involved with deaf education, but in that year he founded his private school, and married Lois Elizabeth Taylor, the daughter of a clergyman.  At that time he was living in Southgate (north London).  Sadly she died in early 1872.  In the 1871 census he was living at Fairview Lodge, Edmonton, as a ‘teacher of the deaf and dumb,’ but with only one pupil listed as living in, Robert Burrell, who was not recorded as deaf (however see below).

In 1875 he married Amy Smith Hodges, and they had three children, and by the time of the 1881 census, they were established at ‘Inglefield,’ Edgware Road.  This is perhaps the same as the address, ‘Inglefield,’ Christchurch Avenue, Brondesbury, N.W. where the school was until 1903.  In that year – see below – they moved nearby to 186 Willesden Lane, though that building has since been lost to redevelopment.

The 1881 list of pupils and teachers includes the following – William Burrel, who was the younger brother of Robert, and Beatrice, their sister.  Note the widespread origins of the pupils.

Margaret A. Rossiter Assistant 23 1858 Female Governess Teacher Of The Deaf Ceylon, East Indies
Ethel Marion Robinson Assistant 20 1861 Female Teacher Of The Deaf Wymondham Leicestershire
Annie G. Boultbee Scholar 16 1865 Female Scholar Leeds Yorkshire
Edwin Docharty Scholar 15 1866 Male Scholar Lanarkshire
William Burrell Scholar 15 1866 Male Scholar Fornham Suffolk
Ada S. Russell Scholar 13 1868 Female Scholar Islington Middlesex
Merton J. Mansfield Scholar 12 1869 Male Scholar Notting Hill Middlesex
Augusta Challis Scholar 12 1869 Female Scholar Buckhurst Hill Essex
George B. Challis Scholar 10 1871 Male Scholar Buckhurst Hill Essex
Frederick W. Talbot Scholar 11 1870 Male Scholar Batley Yorkshire
Beatrice Burrell Scholar 10 1871 Female Scholar Fornham Suffolk
James Hudson Scholar 11 1870 Male Scholar Scarborough Yorkshire
Wilfred Docharty Scholar 9 1872 Male Scholar Lanarkshire
Adelina Glasgow Scholar 10 1871 Female Scholar Marylebone Middlesex
Katie Mannering Scholar 6 1875 Female Scholar Islington Middlesex

In 1891 they had thirteen pupils, but in 1901 only three.  Ethel Marion Robinson was still a teacher living and working with Barber in 1903.  It seems that in the late 19th century, women teachers often remained unmarried.  I wonder why that was – perhaps it has to do with attitudes to women in work, or perhaps it provided a woman with some freedom from the constraints of a Victorian marriage.  Ethel died of pneumonia, in 1905, aged only 44.

She was one of the earliest Members, by examination, of the College of Teachers of the Deaf; and she joined the Union of the Teachers of the Deaf on the Oral System at its commencement, ansd was frequently present at its meetings in which she took a deep interest.

She won the affection of her pupils by her unwearied kindness […] (Teacher of the Deaf, 1905)

By 1911, he was living at 45 Fordwych Road, Cricklewood, with two deaf pupils, one from Ireland and one born in India, presumably to an army or civil service family.  In the National Bureau’s Deaf Handbook for 1913, the school was established at 41 Plympton Road, Brondesbury, a three-floored terraced house.

Barber died in 1919.

For some tome past he had been an invalid and unable to attend the meetings oif the National College of Teachers of the Deaf and the Pure Oral Union.
Mr. Barber succeeded Mr. Ackers as Chairman of the Pure Oral Union, and upon the conclusion of his term of office he was unanimously elected a Vice-President of the Union. […]
Mr Barber did excellent work in his school at Brondesbury, and his old pupils revere the memory of their teacher and friend. (J.F.W., 1919)

Gilby mentions him in passing – “Mr. J. Barber, of Brondesbury […] who took private oral pupils: a man of sincere religious fervour whom we all respected” (Gilby memoir p.55)

It would make a really interesting dissertation project for a student with an interest in Deaf Education to look at the census returns of pupils & see what became of them.  Perhaps we could compare them with pupils from poorer backgrounds at public institutions.  For example, in 1911 Beatrice Burrel was unmarried and living with her parents (her father was a ‘farmer and director of companies) and her older brother Walton Robert – we assume ‘Robert’ in the 1871 census – was also there working as a photographer.  Yet another Deaf photographer!  But, that they were living at home, makes me wonder how well they were able to communicate outside the family.  Beatrice died within living memory, in 1956, and her brother Walton Robert in 1944.  There were two other deaf siblings – as well as William, there was Maud.  They were living together, and all the children seem to have been single.

Walton Robert’s photos are in the Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds Branch.

When we write this blog, we never quite know where it will end up!  If you know more about the Burrels, do contibute below.

Private school advertsObituary Notice, Teacher of the Deaf, 1905, 3, 266

J.F.W., Death of Mr J. Barber, Teacher of the Deaf, 1919, 17, 120.

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 2376; Folio: 104; Page: 2; GSU roll: 542962

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 1342; Folio: 56; Page: 34; GSU roll: 828284

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 1362; Folio: 38; Page: 12; GSU roll: 1341330

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1044; Folio: 152; Page: 32; GSU roll: 6096154

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 1224; Folio: 54; Page: 1

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 634

Beatrice Burrel & Walton Robert Burrell

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 10646; Schedule Number: 4

William Burrell and Maud Clare Burrell

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 10633; Schedule Number: 15

http://www.gritquoy.com/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I4669&tree=001Master