This film is part of Free

Silent Hope, Fulham and Tottenham (1959)

Fascinating tour of London’s schools for the deaf, showing teaching methods and meeting deaf children, including several from Africa and the West Indies.

Amateur film 1959 13 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


Narrated by George Chatterton, a former soldier, this film looks at the education of deaf children in schools in Parsons Green and Tottenham. The tone is compassionate to the point of patronising, but interesting, with touching personal stories of children from the Commonwealth. Interestingly, Chatterton says this is partly a story of his own education, showing the “personal journey” style beloved by modern documentaries is not entirely new. Made by the LCC.

Chatterton visits the Ackmar Road Primary School in Parsons Green, where he meets children who are using modern technology to learn to speak, and also pays trips to the Heston School for the Deaf in Hounslow and the Blanche Nevile School in Tottenham. The methods – and the general tone – are a curious mix of the modern and the Victorian, such as when we meet a deaf African child who was “like a wild animal” when he first arrived at one school.