Project: Audiology and Deaf Education at Manchester University


Audiology and deaf education

In 1919, Manchester University (or Victoria University, as it was called then) set up the first university department in the world to train teachers of the deaf. The funds to start the new training program were donated by Manchester cotton magnate, James Jones. Jones’ son, Ellis, had been deaf from birth but he had been fortune to have good teachers growing up and was able to study at Oxford University. In 1919, going to university was still an unusual achievement for someone who was deaf: a manual trade was the more common pathway. After Ellis died during WWI, his father decided to use Ellis’ estate to help other deaf children have the sort of education Ellis had been able to have. The Scheme for the Training of Teachers of the Deaf was the result.

Manchester University’s Audiology and Deafness Research Group hired me to research their history and write a short book. This ground-breaking department will celebrate its centenary in 2019. The book is available from the research group.