Board of Directors

British Deaf History Society, a registered Company and Charity, is led by its Board of Directors.  See below for details of the Directors in their mini biographies.


Diane M. WEBB, ChairDiane Webb
Born in London, Diane Webb attended the Mill Hall Oral School for the Deaf in West Sussex between 1952 and 1965.  At 17 years of age, she was apprenticed as a Graphic Artist for Chamberlain Studios in Chancery Lane, London.

After taking a career break to raise a family, Diane studied on a part time basis at Havering College, graduating as a teacher in 1990. In addition to teaching and assessing BSL for adult learners, between 1993 and 2007, she worked with the Early Years peripatetic team in the London Borough of Newham in East London.

Diane is passionate about the Deaf Community and has undertaken several roles on a voluntary basis –

  • BDA London Regional Committee member (1983 – 1986)
  • Secretary and Editor for Newham Deaf Children’s Society (1995 – 2000)
  • BDA London Working Group (2005 -2006)
  • Historic Palace Committee (2013 -2016).

More recently, Diane’s interest in Deaf History widened when she joined as a BDHS member, eventually becoming a Trustee in 2002. Diane acted as a Team Coordinator editing a book ‘Pictorial History of BDA 1890 – 2015 in 2016.


Jemima BUOY, Vice-ChairJemima Buoy 2
Jemima has been interested in history for as long as she can remember, the social and interpersonal aspects in particular have always fascinated her.  Her father introduced her to the world of family history when she was a teenager, it was some years later that she started to actively undertake research.  Through a friend she became immersed in the fascinating world of censuses and parish registers, and she still uses them daily along with other resources, in particular online tools for family history research.

Her interest in Deaf History started when she attended the University of Bristol in 1997 studying the Deaf Studies Diploma.  One of her favourite modules was Deaf History and she have been engrossed with the history of deaf people’s lives ever since.

She has over 20 years experience in administration and she has worked for organisations such as Friends for the Young Deaf and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf. She now works part-time as a Team Administrator at Sense.

Today, combining her administration experience and her hobby in genealogy, she also runs a small business as a genealogy researcher.  She works with a broad spectrum of clients, including some from overseas.

She joined the Board of Trustees in 2011, and with her 30-years’ experience of computer administration, works on the BDHS website and social media.


Peter W. JACKSON, CEO/Company SecretaryPeter pic
Peter has had a lifelong interest in both Deaf history and criminology.  He is the author of numerous Deaf history and Deaf crime books.  He has been involved with the British Deaf History Society since 1997 and has been the Chief Executive since 2007.   Since 2010 he has also been the President of Deaf History International.

Peter is also the current CEO of iBSL (Institute of British Sign Language), an academic awarding body for sign language and deafness related courses in the UK.


GJEaglingGeoffrey J. EAGLING, Treasurer
In his second stint as Treasurer, Geoffrey J Eagling, born and bred in the leafy Surrey, became deaf through measles at the age of 18 months old.  Educated at Peckham Park PHU, Ackmar Road Deaf School and Burwood Park School, he is currently working as a Draughtsman in the maritime division of civil engineering.

How did Geoffrey get interested in Deaf History?  His grandfather passed his family genealogical notes to Geoffrey and on one of the papers, he wrote ‘D&D’ beneath each great-grandparent on my paternal side.  This turned out to be an abbreviation for ‘deaf and dumb’.  His aunt told him that they met at a school in Brighton but Geoffrey had eventually discovered that his great-grandfather was educated at Margate while his great-grandmother attended Eastern Road School in Brighton.  Ever since, he still maintains an on-going interest on the history of Brighton Deaf & Dumb Institution (1841-1941).

In addition to contributions to Deaf History Journal, he is the author of publications, Ackmar Road 1898-1983: A history of a London School for the Deaf (1998); Sir Arthur Henderson Fairbairn, 1852-1915: Britain’s Deaf and Dumb Baronet (jointly with A. F. Dimmock, 2006) and Burwood Park School: A photographic record of the School Years, cricket and football line-ups: 1955-1996 (2010)

Geoffrey represented the GB athletics team participating the World Games for the Deaf twice – in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1969 and Malmo, Sweden in 1973.  In the final of the 400m Hurdles, Geoffrey raced with the world-class hurdler, Vyacheslav Skomorokhov who came 5th in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.


Melinda N. NAPIERBDHS Profile
She has always been interested in History, studying the subject at both ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level.  (Incidentally she was in the same class as the BDHS Chair, John Hay for 7 years!).  Now retired, her family regard Melinda as the official family historian and she has collected photos and items such as her deaf aunt’s Margate school hat (1920s). She has completed writing a life story about her deaf mother entitled “My Young Days”, concentrating on the early years which included WWII.  The wealth of her mother’s photos of school and home life is amazing and she also has lots of her mother’s school magazines and items.  All her life she had been listening to her mother telling her school and home stories, as well as her grandfather’s, so she now knows them by heart!

She is now nearly the end of completing writing up the “History of the National Deaf Club”.

She has also been researching her ancestry through the Ancestry website and visiting the National Archives at Kew.  She has always known of her Irish ancestry, through her maternal grandfather, but it was only recently that she discovered she also had Dutch ancestry, through her paternal grandmother, thanks to the Ancestry website when a second cousin contacted her!


Richard J. GOULDEN, B.A., Dip. Lib.
Born in Southborough (near Tunbridge Wells) in 1945, I was in Singapore from 1950 to 1953 and went to my first proper school, Hamilton Lodge School, in 1954 and then from 1962 at Eastbourne College; entered Sussex University in Brighton in 1964 and then was at University College, London, in 1967. In 1970 I was employed at the Public Record Office as an archivist and then in the British Library in 1977 as a cataloguer in the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) project, retiring in 2005 as the head of the British Library’s C19th British Books department (which covers the period 1801-1914).

What am I? Archivist, librarian, bookseller, bibliographer, genealogist, archaeologist, book collector and author with these books A biographical dictionary of those engaged in the Kent book trade, 1750-1900; Kent town guides, 1763-1900; two books on the Faversham and Sittingbourne book trades; The ornamental stock of Henry Woodfall; Newhaven and Seaford coastal fortifications and The war-time letters of Lieut. R. R. Goulden, 1915-1916 as well as articles in the Dictionary of National Biography and in various journals such as The book collector and the British Library’s Factotum.

I held various posts in the Sixty-Six Club such as being its Appeals director, Vice-chairman, archivist and trustee; and also was chairman of the trustees for the Sixty-Six Club Trust Fund. I was the Secretary of the Spurs Club (and my wife Caroline was its Treasurer for sixteen years), later becoming its archivist. Both the Sixty-Six Club and the Spurs Club papers were catalogued by me and these club papers are now held in the British Deaf History’s national archives. I also  catalogued the British Deaf Association’s papers (covering its beginnings to when Elizabeth Wincott left the BDA) and these papers are now in the London Metropolitan Archives.

I became a British Deaf History Society trustee in 2016, having been a member for several years and now serve on the acquisitions sub-committee.


I was born with an 85dB hearing loss which was not discovered until I was three years old. Unlike my born-deaf paternal grandparents who used the manual alphabet, my preferred mode of communication is to speak and listen using my hearing aid in my right ear coupled with lip-reading.

My education started three weeks before my fourth birthday when I was accepted as a day pupil at the Royal School for the Deaf Children, Margate. When I was eight years old, my parents were informed by the headmaster, Mr Tom Pursglove that he thought I would stand a good chance of passing the entrance examinations to the Mary Hare Grammar School for the Deaf in Newbury. After the three year tutelage of Mr Robert B Dickson which included speech therapy in a class of nine children, I got accepted for the Mary Hare Grammar School when I was 11 years old. That year, I was awarded the Headmaster’s prize for achievement.

After becoming a boarder pupil at the Mary Hare Grammar School in 1968, I followed the same curriculum for ‘O’ and ‘A’ level education as for any child in the UK. After gaining my nine ‘O’ and three ‘A’ levels, I was accepted as an undergraduate student at the University of Bath to read Chemical Engineering. Because of my inability to hear and follow the lectures and the shock of being in a hearing environment after leaving school, I found the first term at University particularly difficult. After my mother wrote to Professor W. John Thomas, head of the School of Chemical Engineering explaining the difficulties I was having because of my deafness, my lecturers then provided me with copies of their lecture notes wherever available. With this help and moving to the campus to enable me to make full use of the library facilities, I scraped through my first year examinations.

During my summer vacation in 1976, my mother and I visited Mr Monty Shulberg of Cubex Hearing Centre, London to try out his ‘Radio Link’, a portable radio microphone, as a possible aid for me to use at classes. After being fitted with the receiver unit, Monty told me to leave his office and attempt to listen to his instructions as he spoke into the transmitter unit. I was able to hear his directions that led me all over the inside of the building, through the front door to the outside of his office window where he told me to wave to my mother. I returned back to his office jubilant and telling him that it was exactly what I wanted for University.

With the help of the “Radio Link” and the provision of lecture notes, I graduated from the University of Bath in 1979 with a B.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering with 2(ii) class honours and in 1986 with a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering after I successfully defended my thesis entitled “Electrochemical studies of mass and heat transfer in a simulated fouling deposit” in a 2-hour viva with my supervisor, Dr (now Professor) Barry D. Crittenden and my external examiner Dr T. Reg Bott, a reader in the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Birmingham. Between 1982 and 1985, I worked with Dr (now Professor) Malcolm R. Mackley in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge carrying out postdoctoral research on thermotropic liquid crystal polymers. I am probably the first pupil from the Royal School for the Deaf Children, Margate and the fifth pupil from the Mary Hare Grammar School for the Deaf, Newbury to have gained a doctorate.

In October 2016, I took early retirement after working as a senior consultant providing a rheology/slurry handling service for the chemical, mineral, nuclear and wastewater industries in the UK and worldwide. Companies that I have worked for include Water Research Centre, Stevenage (1978-1979), Schlumberger Cambridge Research, Cambridge (1986-1991), Warren Spring Laboratory, Stevenage (1991-1994), AEA Technology, Harwell (1994-2002) and Aspen Technology, Didcot (2002-2005) and BHR Group, Cranfield (2005 -2015). Jointly with Dr Nigel I. Heywood whom I have worked with for almost twenty five years, we have given over 150 open and in-house rheology and slurry handling courses in the UK, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa and USA. I am an author /co-author of 230 journal and conference papers, a book chapter, engineering standards and consultancy reports. In 2011, I was part of a team that won the coveted IChemE’s Core Chemical Engineering Prize. Between 2009 and 2014, I was also a co-supervisor of a D.Tech student of Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa, Johan Burger. He gained his doctorate entitled “Non-Newtonian flow in open channels – The effect of shape” in July 2014.

Now living in Peterborough, I am happily married to Rachel, who was born-deaf due to birth trauma and have two hearing grown-up children, Fiona and Robert. My current interests include deaf history and genealogy.  I have written a book “Joseph and Mary – A case study in Deaf family history”, four articles for the Deaf History Journal and co-authored two books “The Alderman One-name Project” and “Early Alderman Wills in Northamptonshire (1522-1858)” with my two co-researchers, Bob Alderman and Mari Alderman. I was also previously a trustee governor of my first school as well as being a committee member of various Deaf organisations.



Profile coming soon


Dr. Junhui YANG
Junhui is a Senior Lecturer in BSL & Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. She obtained her PhD in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University, Washington, D. C. in 2006. Her research interests include sign language linguistics, sign bilingual education, and history of deaf teachers in China.



Honorary President

Anthony J. BOYCE (2008 – present)Boyce
Tony was born deaf, graduated at Reading University with a B.Sc. degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics and Physics in 1961. He was employed as a mathematical/scientific research officer at the British Welding Research Station near Cambridge for 3 years.

He was appointed to the teaching staff of the Yorkshire Residential School for the Deaf, Doncaster in 1964. In 1968, he was awarded the qualified teacher of the deaf status by the Department of Science and Education.

He taught Mathematics at the American School for the Deaf, West Hartford, (1969 – 1970) and was a Mathematics lecturer at Gallaudet College, Washington DC (1970 – 1971).  He returned to Doncaster to continue teaching, and campaigned for more Deaf teachers.

In 1974, he gave a talk on Total Communication at the BDDA Congress at Ayr. He joined the National Study Group on Further and Higher Education for the Deaf (NSG) in 1975.  He was convenor of the Working Party on Deaf Teachers (1977 – 1980). He represented NSG on the setting up of CACDP and gave talks on behalf of NSG.

In 1979, he initiated Doncaster College for the Deaf and became Head of Applied Technology. He started Computer studies, Electronics, Information Technology, CAD and CAM.  He made a major contribution to training and educating students, resulting in HND/HNC courses.  The College was awarded Grade 1 status in 1994, the same year has he retired.

He is involved with the British Deaf History Society (BDHS) since 1993; secretary of BDHS (1995 – 1998); co-initiated the Deaf History Journal in April 1997 and was on its editorial board (1997 – 2008); organised Deaf History workshops and wrote books and articles on Deaf History; he was the Chair of BDHS (1998 – 2001).



Past Honorary President

Arthur F. DIMMOCK, MBE, D.Arts (2000 – 2007)AFD
The late Arthur Frederick Dimmock was the first-ever BDHS President, having been elected in 2000 at the BDHS AGM in Portsmouth where he lived for the later part of his life.  Affectionately known as AFD, he wrote extensively on deaf issues, particularly history, for several journals aimed at deaf communities, both at home and abroad.  He was also well-known for his monthly column Girdle Around the Earth, featured in British Deaf News from 1995 to 2006.

His publications pertaining to Deaf History include Sporting Heritage: A Record of the Activities of the Southern Deaf Sports Association since the founding year of 1947; Tommy: A Biography of the Distinguished Deaf Royal Painter, A. R. Thomson, 1894-1979 (1992); Cruel Legacy: Introduction to the Record of Deaf People in History (1993); Arthur James Wilson: 1858-1945 (1996); his own autobiography entitled Muted Passion: the Private & Public Career of a Deaf Optimist (1995); Deaf Mountaineering Club: its history and mountainlore (1998); Venerable Legacy: The Hand of Time, Saint Bede and the Anglo Celtic Contribution to Literary Numerical and Manual Language (1998); Sir Arthur Henderson Fairbairn, 1852-1915: Britain’s Deaf and Dumb Baronet (jointly with G. J. Eagling, 2006).

In 1992, the BDA Congress in Blackpool saw AFD being awarded the BDA Medal of Honour for his 50 years of service to the British deaf community.  1995 saw him awarded with an MBE for his services to deaf people and the RNID Deaf Impact Award for his journalistic contributions.  In 2000, an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts was bestowed to AFD from the University of Wolverhampton in recognition of his journalism and work on deaf issues.