‘Pecuniary’ cases

After the Association was reconfigured in 1854, each year’s Annual Reports give details of “Pecuniary cases”; in other words, those deaf people to whom the Association had given either financial or other employment or material support.

Here’s one from 1859Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.33.08

The image reads

“H.L. Besides being deaf and dumb is nearly blind, and has a wooden leg: was a great burden to his mother. Now earns his own livelihood in Mr. Hart’s factory”.

Without going into the committee minutes, it’s hard to get any more details. And there’s an ethical question about whether we should. Certainly, it might be possible to identify H.L. but since the name is not public, it’s perhaps better to leave the identity of this particular person secret.

Similarly, we don’t know whether this is a C19th case of Ushers, or whether his blindness came about at the same time as the loss of his leg, perhaps in an accident. London was certainly a dangerous place to live, and traffic and other kinds of accidents were very frequent.

This candidate, however, was one of those lucky ones to find a job in Mr Hart’s gas-fitting works. Hart is recorded as providing employment to a number of Deaf people in the 1859 Annual Report.

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