Maternity Home for Deaf and Dumb Girls, Dunbar Lodge, Clapham, London
In 1924, the Royal Association for the Deaf and Dumb appointed a committee to consider how best to rescue and house "deaf and Dumb unmarried mothers and their babies, and other deaf and dumb girls in moral danger." As a result, in May 1928, the Dunbar Lodge Maternity Home was opened at 20 King's Avenue, Clapham, in south-west London. The establishment could accommodate up to seventeen girls.
Dunbar Lodge served as both a home and hostel. In 1934, it was reported that during the holiday season, as at Easter and Christmas, many deaf women came to London to spend their holidays there and the superintendent, Miss Martin, was pleased to welcome them. The deaf guests on holiday settled down to knitting machines or other work, to spend their time In producing articles which were likely to be useful to other deaf women about to become mothers, or for those similarly afflicted who may be hard put to provide clothing necessities for themselves.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the home is believed to have closed in April 1940.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. (The Ancestry website also has LMA records relating to workhouses and other institutions — more details.) Has register of baptisms at the home's chapel (1928-1940).
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Pritchard, D.G., Education and the Handicapped 1760-1960 (1963, Routledge & Kegan Paul)
- Watson, J, Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (1809)
- Watson, Thomas J., A History of Deaf Education in Scotland 1760-1939 (Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1949)
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