School Reunion with the Jewish Deaf Association

by Josie Roberts, Learning Officer

Last Sunday the Learning Team went to Nightingale House
in Wandsworth, former home of the Residential School for Jewish Deaf Children,
where the Jewish Deaf Association were hosting possibly their last school
reunion. The school itself closed in 1965.

We attended the event to showcase some of our objects that
belonged to the school which we have in our collection stores and are therefore not
usually seen by visitors.

This included a deed box from the charity itself,
labelled ‘Jews Deaf and Dumb Home’ (the former name of the school), a lip
reading medal awarded in 1917 to Isaac Ash, and a very fancy French menu from
one of their fundraising dinners in 1929. The objects were available for most
of the morning for the attendees to view, read and touch.



The former students had also brought personal items with
them reflecting their memories of their time at this school, including
photographs, plaques, medals and books.

From the moment we set up our small table in the corner,
enthusiastic guests began coming over to explore what we had and share their
stories and memories with us. It was amazing to see how excited people were by
the small number of objects we brought and how passionate people were about
celebrating the history of their former school and the continuing community.


We certainly received a warm welcome from the guests and
organisers, many of whom were keen to see these object on display at the museum
and many suggesting future collaborations.

Quite often at conferences or events, you can be there with
your objects and a few people will come over and tentatively investigate and
ask questions. At this school reunion the excitement about seeing these objects
was palpable and the concern of the guests to continue to have their community
represented was certainly felt.

We thank the Jewish Deaf Association for inviting us along
and also thank the guests for their fantastic welcome and interest. We look
forward to working with the them again in the future.

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