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Signs from the past

A digital video project
Childhood
Going to work
Free time
The changing docklands
The British Deaf History Society
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The British Deaf History Society

Deaf historian and joint founder of the British Deaf History Society, Raymond Lee, commented that:

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... these reminiscences of members of Docklands' deaf community are another fascinating and vital addition to the ever-growing Deaf History collection. Their memories, feelings and descriptions of events now long gone will forever form an
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unique part of a general pattern of life around Docklands.

St. Olave Street Church.
View full size imageSt Olave Street Church. © NMM 

 

He also added:

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Rotherhithe plays a special place in British deaf history in that one William Hunter, a son of a London wharfinger's clerk, was born there on 6 February 1785. He was born deaf and christened at St Olave's Church on 27 February. On 14 January 1793 he was accepted as a pupil into the London Deaf and Dumb Asylum in Bermondsey.

After completing five years as a pupil in 1798, he was asked by the headmaster, Joseph Watson, to stay on to further his education and later train to become a teacher of the deaf. Hunter accepted the offer and in 1804 he became Britain's first deaf teacher of the deaf when he was officially employed by the Asylum as a teacher. He taught almost until about a year before his death which occurred on 6 April 1861.

Another interest concerning Hunter is that he was, and probably still is, the only deaf person who was seized by a press gang and taken to a warship in Greenwich. Hunter informed his captors of his deafness, but they thought he was feigning it in order to get away! Somehow

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one way or the other, Hunter eventually managed to persuade them that he really was deaf and they eventually released him!

 

A digital video project
Childhood
Going to work
Free time
The changing docklands
The British Deaf History Society
Need help with the video?
*
Send this story to a friend Send this story to a friend
Printer-friendly version Printer-friendly version
View this story in pictures View this story in pictures

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StoriesThe 20th-century port
The changing fortunes of Docklands and the port
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GalleriesVideoThe 20th century port video gallery
From 1914 to the present day
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Glossary
Wharfinger

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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
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