Ancestry UK

Academy for the Deaf and Dumb, Hackney, London

In 1783, Thomas Braidwood's Academy for the Deaf and Dumb relocated from Edinburgh, where it had been founded in 1760, to Hackney, then a village to the north-east of London. The Academy occupied a property previously known as Bowling Green House, renamed Grove House by Braidwood, in the vicinity of what is now 36 Chatham Place, Hackney.

In Edinburgh, Braidwood had trained one of his nephews, John Braidwood, to assist in the work. John had also married Thomas's daughter Isabella in 1782. They were joined at Hackney by another nephew, Joseph Watson. In 1792, Watson departed to become the superintendent of England's first public institution for the deaf, the Asylum for the Support and Education of the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor.

John died at Hackney in 1798, leaving a widow, two sons, Thomas and John, and two daughters, who continued to run the Academy. Thomas Braidwood senior died in 1806 in his 91st year.

In 1812, Thomas junior was appointed as the first principal of the General Institution for the Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Children, in Birmingham.

In around 1815, Isabella subsequently relocated the Academy from Hackney to 7 Great Ormond Street, Bloomsbury. In 1817, however, to be nearer to Thomas, she moved to near Five Ways, in the Islington district of Birmingham, where the Academy continued in operation until her death in 1819.


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  • None identified at present.