Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire

In 1853, a group of deaf people in Hull began meeting, first at the home of one of their number at 179 High Street, and then in a rented room over a jeweller's shop on Savile Street. In 1870, self-contained premises were rented at 10 Dock Street. Up until this point, the group had functioned the as the Hull branch of the Yorkshire Association for the Adult Deaf and Dumb, which had its headquarters in Leeds. It now decided to operate independently as the Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. The Dock Street building was subsequently purchased and fitted up as a school, including accommodation for up to 25 boarders and a master and matron. Children, both boarders and day pupils, were taught during the day, with lessons for adults provided on four evenings in the week. The Institution was alsoopen on Sundays for religious worship.

In November 1870, after the previous teacher was been dismissed for misbehaviour towards some of the inmates, Charles Sleight, aged 32, was appointed as superintendent of the establishment, having previously served for many years as teacher at the Bright Deaf and Dumb Institution. Early on the morning of 27 March 1871, Sleight entered Hull central police station and told an officer that he had murdered the Institution's housekeeper, Maria Hailstone, who was about 20 years of age. He then became very agitated, waving a poker around and tearing up papers. The woman was found with her throat cut almost from ear to ear. She and her husband, who also resided at the institution, were both deaf and dumb. At his trial, the jury found Sleight not guilty on the grounds of insanity and he was ordered to be kept in custody during Her Majesty's pleasure.

Mr W.J. Hansell was subsequently appointed as master and he was succeeded as master by Mr E. Bill, formerly at the Doncaster Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. Up until about 1880, the method of teaching was based on sign language and finger spelling. Following the influential Milan Congress in 1880, the 'oral' method — teaching vocal articulation and lip reading — was adopted for those children who showed any capacity for vocalization.

In about 1882, the Institution moved to new premises at 4 Belgrave Terrace, Spring Bank, otherwise known as 53 Spring Bank, where boarders could be accommodated. The master was then Walter McCandlish, with Mrs McCandlish as matron..

On 16 June 1886, foundation stones were laid for a new school room and gymnasium at the rear of the site, fronting onto Grey Street. It was connected with the main home by a covered footway. As part of the work, considerable improvements were made in the home itself, by the addition of kitchen, lavatory, and bathroom, while the whole of the interior was renovated in the matter of painting, papering etc. The extension was opened on 8 December of that year, the total cost of the scheme being about £1,000. Mr W.C. Pearson was the architect. On 30 September 1887, the premises were authorised to operate as a Certified School allowing the admission of children boarded out from workhouses by the Poor Law authorities. The Institution maintained this status until 8 January 1895.

In 1890, the Institution had 30 pupils, including 18 boarders, and 80 adults receiving its support. Its aims and admission regulations at that date were stated as:

Object.—To provide education, &c., for deaf and dumb children, and to promote the spiritual and temporal welfare of adult deaf mutes. Admission.—By Committee. Applicants must be between 5 and 12 years. Payment £13 to £20 per annum, according to circumstances. At completion of school term, situations secured, and boys bound apprentice as far as practicable. Benefits to Adults.£Weekly improvement class, Bible class, sewing class, and during winter months lectures and instructive entertainments; religious services every Sabbath; circulating library; assistance rendered in securing employment, &c.

Boarding seems to have come to an end in the 1890s and the focus of the Institution switched to adults, its object being stated in 1899 as:

To provide lecture hall, workshop, etc., for instructing the deaf and dumb in lip reading and sign language ; to continue the education after pupils have left the elementary schools by evening classes, and to help them generally.

By 1930, this had evolved to:

To continue the education of the junior deaf and dumb after they have left the elementary schools by means of evening classes. To assist them in lip-reading and speech by finger spelling and signs, cookery, woodwork, carving, painting, sewing, etc.; to get the youths bound apprentice; and also to assist both the junior and adult deaf and dumb generally in securing employment and providing for them lectures,literature and religious services.

Walter McCandlish died suddenly on 4 September 1924 after being connected with the work of the Institution for over 40 years.

On 9 March 1925, the foundation stone for the Institution's new premises at 63 Spring Bank. The completed building was opened on 2 June 1926,by Mr T.R. Ferens. It was constructed in red brick building, with Tudor-style windows, and a included a church, built in the shape of an amphitheatre. At its rear was a 300-seat concert room, which could also be used as a cinema, and had an up-to-date operating box installed. On the men's side of the building, was a billiards room with two billiards tables and a bagatelle table, while the women had a reading room and retiring room. On the first floor was the Committee's boardroom and the residential quarters of the superintendent. At the rear of the building was a large space for a lawn and a bowling green. The architects were Messrs Horth and Andrews, of Hull.

Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Hull.

The Institution is still in operation, now known as Hull Deaf Centre.

Census

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Bibliography