This copy is of the original list showing the names of the first subscribers of the British Deaf and Dumb Association taken at its first Congress in Leeds in 1890. This is part of the British Deaf Association’s Collection loaned to the Deaf Museum.
What is so significant about this list?
This list shows the first 71 members of the newly formed British Deaf and Dumb Association in 1890. The list includes four of the original founders: Francis Maginn, George Healey, James Paul and Charles Gorham. The B.D.D.A was actually preceded by the National Association for the Deaf and Dumb as it was founded in 1886 in response to the perceived threats to the language and education rights of deaf people, which had arisen after the Milan Congress of 1880. A Royal Commission on the education of deaf children was launched in 1889 but it failed to consult deaf people and supported the establishment of the Pure Oral System and so led to the banning of sign language. In response the magazine Deaf Mute encouraged deaf people to unite in defence of their own interests. In 1889 the N.A.D.D ceased to exist and so four deaf men, including Francis Maginn and George Healey, arranged a meeting in January 1890 at St. Saviour’s Church for the Deaf, Oxford Street, London, called the “National Conference of Adult Deaf and Dumb Missions and Associations”. The conference considered the forming of a national society to “elevate the education and social status of the Deaf and Dumb in the United Kingdom” and this led to the formation of the British Deaf and Dumb Association (B.D.D.A) in Leeds on 24th July 1890. The B.D.D.A deleted the world “Dumb” from its title in 1971.