Martin Atherton
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The development of deaf clubs in Britain
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The deaf community could not have come into existence without places where socially isolated deaf people could gather and develop relationships based on common experiences and characteristics. Deaf clubs provided the hub of deaf community life and emerged from a number of local voluntary organisations set up to assist deaf people in their daily lives. In this chapter, the development of the deaf welfare organisations during the nineteenth century is outlined and set within the wider context of welfare provision during the Victorian era. An argument is made that the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act was a major influence on the formation of deaf societies and independent welfare organisations. Deaf clubs developed as the social arms of these welfare societies and went on to play an integral part in bonding deaf people together as a community. Without the deaf clubs, the deaf community would have had no geographical focus and deaf people would have had nowhere to come together to socialise and enjoy a range of leisure and sporting activities.

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Deafness, community and culture in Britain

Leisure and cohesion, 1945-1995


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