Deaf Victorians

A documentary about the fascinating lives of three Deaf Victorians.

Documentary with dramatic inserts.  Starring some well-known modern Deaf actors, Deaf Victorians shows us what life was like for Deaf people in Victorian times.  In the 1870s, the centre for the Deaf community in London was St Saviour’s Deaf Church, which was more than just a place of worship.  We learn about the lives of Charles Webb Moore, Jane Elizabeth Groom and Skirving Thomson; three very different people who were all connected via the church.  Features input from experts and one of the Deaf Victorians’ present day family members. A Deaf Heritage and Nextshoot co-production, written, produced and presented by Norma McGilp.

Winner of the Best Screenwriter award, Deaffest (2017)

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  • Really enjoyed the documentary, very interesting. Great to see strong deaf role models.
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  • Thank you very much, I enjoyed the programs and it gave me a better understanding of deaf history.
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  • I was once very interested in the story of St. Saviour's Deaf church and club and carried out some in-depth research for the RAD in the early 1990s. The Victorian Deaf church in Oxford Street was support by a Mrs. Selfridge as 'somewhere' I still have the programme with her name on the front! They even buried some of the dead beneath that church.
    The church closed in 1922 and reopened in Acton in 1925(with a design with Deaf people in mind by Sir Edward Maufe who also designed Clapham Deaf church and club and Guildford Cathedral). Yes it is closed now due to the positive power of the internet for Deaf people.
    Several Victorian priests for Deaf people held sway as to how many Deaf people should lead their lives. The consumption of alcohol was frowned upon as one example!
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  • A fascinating documentary left me wanting to know more of those stories.
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  • Good programme. Jane E Groom was definitely an inspiration to deaf women that how she was strong in her time over male-dominated.
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  • Both my parents were deaf through illness , my brother and I hearing, it has been with great interest , watching this documentary, and given a completley different perspective of deafness in the Victorian era .
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  • "The cliché idea of deaf people of the past is that they lacked opportunity, were meek, submissive, disempowered and just followed a path prescribed by the missioner. As we've seen, this is a myth since deaf people were strong characters, and led colourful, eventful lives."
    Finally, someone is playing my tune. Thanks, Norma!
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  • fascinating stories. When I was learning bsl in Ealing, we used to go and visit St. SAviours deaf church in Acton, which I believe is now closed. Is there any connection?
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  • I've been watching it and enjoyed the programme. 
    One part is similar 'who you think you are ' as 6th  generation of Deaf families ! Wow amazing.. 
    I think should show more not just in London around UK .. it's fascinating stories , history about Deaf and keep up the work more to come !
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