Chair's Update Summer 2014

Transforming BSA: progress means new challenges

The origins of international paediatric audiology can be traced to the death of a young man one hundred years ago. Ellis Llwyd Jones (1874-1918), son of a prominent businessman in the Manchester cotton industry, had been deaf since birth. Ellis insisted on joining the British army during World War One but was barred from active duty because of his deafness and, instead, worked in a canteen. In 1918 he caught a serious illness, possibly typhus, and was invalided back to Britain. He died in February of that year. He left no will when he died but his father, Sir James Jones, donated part his estate (around £4 million in today’s money) to the University of Manchester in order to: (1) establish the first university-based programme for teachers of the deaf, and (2) undertake research into childhood deafness.

In 1919, Irene Rosetta Goldsack was appointed as the first lecturer in deaf education. In 1920, Alexander William Gordon Ewing enrolled in her one-year Diploma programme. One assumes that Irene Goldsack and Alexander Ewing had much in common, both professionally and personally, because they married the following year. This was the start of a formidable partnership in the history of paediatric audiology and deaf education. Irene Ewing was awarded an OBE in 1947 and Alexander Ewing was knighted in 1958, both for their services to audiology and deaf education.

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