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