Ancestry UK

Jews' Deaf and Dumb Home, London

What was originally known as the Jews' Deaf and Dumb Home was founded in 1863. With financial backing from Baroness Mayer de Rothschild, the charity's committee purchased 15 Mount Street, Whitechapel, as the home's first premises.

In 1866, the home transferred to 44 Burton Crescent (now Cartwright Gardens) in the King's Cross are and William Van Praagh (sometimes given as Van Praag) was invited to take over the management of the institution. Van Praagh was an advocate of the purely oral system of instruction, which he is sometimes credited as having popularised in England at a time when the manual system was predominant. His work attracted attracted the attention of Anne Thackeray, daughter of the novelist William Thackeray, and other public figures. In 1871, he published his "Plan for the Establishment of Day-Schools for the Deaf and Dumb."

In January 1869, as was common with such establishments at that time, the home subjected some of its pupils to a public examination:

A very interesting meeting took place yesterday at the Jews' Deaf and Dumb Home, Burton-crescent, to witness the examination of the inmates of the institution, who number nine girls and four boys, under the management of Mr. Van Prague. The children being introduced, were put under examination in speaking and lip reading, reading and writing, as well as other branches of education, and exemplified in a most unmistakable manner not only the proficiency which they had attained in articulating words, but also as to their meaning, which they wrote down after uttering them. This was the first examination, as the home has only been instituted 18 months. Baroness Mayer de Rothschild's prize (value £5) was then presented by the Rev. Dr. Adler to a girl only 12 years of age, who audibly expressed her thanks to the patroness of the institution.

In November 1869, the home began renting temporary premises nearby at 38 Hunter Street, where its residents were to receive their education, alongside day pupils, who could be of any religious denomination. Permanent premises were later established at 11 Fitzroy Square.

On 16 January 1874, what was referred to as the Home for Indigent Deaf Mutes of the Jewish Persuasion was authorised to operate as a Certified School, allowing it to receive children boarded out from workhouses by the Poor Law authorities.

In 1875, the home moved to 115 Walmer Road, Notting Hill. The site is shown on the 1895 map below.

Jews' Deaf and Dumb Home site, Walmer Road, c.1895.

The Certified School status of the new premises, on this occasion referred to as the Jews' Deaf and Dumb Home for Maintaining, Educating and Apprenticing Indigent Deaf Mutes of the Jewish Persuasion, was confirmed on 8 June 1876.

In 1890, the aims of the home and its admission regulations were stated as follows:

Object.—To maintain and educate for industrial employment indigent deaf and dumb Jewish children. Admission.—Application is made to Committee, by whom, without election, provided there is vacant sleeping room, admission is granted. Age of admission, 7 years. In some instances a small amount is contributed towards cost by parents or parish. Certificates of good health are required. Inmates are taught reading, lip-reading, speaking, Hebrew, English grammar, history, geography, arithmetic, religion, &c. On leaving they are, if possible, apprenticed.

In 1899, the home moved to The Grange, 61 (later renumbered as 101) Nightingale Lane, Wandsworth Common. The premises could accommodate up to 80 children, aged 5-16 at their date of admission. The site is shown on the 1913 map below.

Jews' Deaf and Dumb Home site, Nightingale Road Road, c.1913.

In 1939, by then known as the Residential School for Jewish Deaf Children, the establishment was evacuated to Brighton and the pupils taught at the Brighton Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. They stayed for a year before being transferred to a school at Marlborough, Wiltshire.

In 1965, the neighbouring LCC Oak Lodge School for Deaf Girls closed. It and the Jewish home were then both demolished and a new Oak Lodge School was erected on the site.


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.

  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.