Melinda Napier, B.A., M.A., Cert Ed.
Melinda was appointed Chair of the BDHS at the 2021 Annual General Meeting. 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 previous BDHS Chair, John Hay for 7 years!). She is also one of three editors of the Deaf History Journal.She is third generation of a large deaf family. Educated at Frank Barnes School 1952-1954, Hurtwood School 1954-1961 and Mary Hare Grammar School 1961-1968. She gained her B.A. degree from the Open University, M.A. from the University of Durham and Cert Ed. from the University of Nottingham. Now retired from her post as Head of Communication and Training at the City Lit, London, her family regard Melinda as the official family historian and she has collected photos and items such as her deaf aunt’s RSDDC, Margate cloche hat (1920s) and great aunt’s artwork.
She wrote a life story about her deaf mother entitled “My Younger 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 deaf grandfather’s, so she now knows them by heart! She is now researching and writing a biography and photographic record of her deaf Great Aunt Isabel MacDonald nee Drake 1890-1990.She is also the author of The History of the National Deaf Club 1906-2000 and A Deaf History in 50 Objects.
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!