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Braidwood Academy for the Deaf and Dumb

Building  From 1783  To 1799

Categories: Education

First school in England for the education of the deaf. Established by Thomas Braidwood

On old maps one can see a large house just a little to the north of the plaque location but we can find no photo, nor the date of demolition.

British History On-line has: "By 1697 Bowling Green House had been built south of Morning Lane, from which it was reached by converging ways along the lines of Chatham Place and Meeting House path; it was rebuilt c. 1762 and later called Grove House."

Studymore has: "Braidwood Academy ... in what became 36 Chatham Place, ... Braidwood took over the lease of a rebuilt Bowling Green House, a property occupied by one Dr Rawlinson, and renamed it Grove House."

The Hackney Terrier, 33, Winter 1993/4 (pdf) has a very useful article about Braidwood and his Academy. This is where we found our image.

When the Braidwood family arrived in Hackney c.1783, the house was known as Bowling Green House. They renamed it Grove House and the Academy re-opened here in August 1783.  Thomas Braidwood stayed at Grove House until his death but in 1790 Isabella broke away and set up her own Braidwood Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Pembroke House on the west side of Mare Street.

In 1810 Isabella left Pembroke House and set her school up in Cambridge Heath, near the Turnpike but this was short-lived and in 1814 she moved to 7 Great Ormond Street, which she left at the end of 1816. She moved to Birmingham.

Edith's Streets adds some information about Pembroke House, placing it at what is now Bayford Street Industrial Centre: "Site of Pembroke House which has been built in the 17th by William Parker.  In 1799 it became a school for the deaf and dumb founded by Thomas Braidwood who had moved here from Edinburgh in 1783. It continued here by his family until 1810. In 1818 the house was used by an institution to house East India Company employees who had become insane in India. It remained here until 1880 when the area was acquired by the Great Eastern Railway. Warburton was involved and managed this as he did with other insane asylums in east London and it was later known as Dr. Warburton's House."

2022: We have corrected the above story according to information received from Raymond Lee, one of the authors of the Hackney Terrier article. He tells us that his book "Braidwood &c." is available from the British Deaf History Society, and there is a copy in Hackney Library and Archives. Thank you Raymond.

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Braidwood Academy for the Deaf and Dumb

Information Commemorated at

Braidwood Academy

Braidwood Academy for the Deaf and Dumb, first school in England for the educ...

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