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.
Politeness, sociability and the culture of medico-gentility
Medical culture and identity in late eighteenth-century York took shape within a social landscape shaped by the values of gentility, polite sociability and civic belonging. The Doctors Club was the embodiment of a civic culture defined not by a guild-mentality of corporate exclusivity, but by the polite and civil values of cosmopolitan inclusivity and congenial clubability. The fraternal and convivial nature of the Doctors Club was evident in its two principal activities, eating and drinking. Relatively few eighteenth-century practitioners have left behind significant bodies of manuscript material which allow us to reconstruct the multidimensional aspects of lived experience. This is especially true for apothecaries whose relative lack of formal, scholastic education denied them access to some of the literary and cultural resources enjoyed by their medical colleagues. It is for this reason that the writings of Oswald Allen are so valuable.
The 1858 Medical Act was the signal achievement of medical reform. And yet even this proved to be a grave disappointment to many general and provincial practitioners, who continued to lack the representation and political authority they desired. Private practice, rather than public health and 'state medicine', continued to be the principal concern and source of income for most practitioners and 'quacks' continued to operate more or less unchecked by legislative interference. It is impossible to address the history of medical professionalism in England without an eye to the foundation of the National Health Service (NHS). While the British public may remain attached to the concept of the NHS, the stability of medical-professional expertise has also been undermined by changes in popular attitudes. The later nineteenth century saw an ever greater investment in scientific rationality and expert knowledge in the social and cultural configuration of medical identity and authority.
Cholera, collectivity and the care of the social body
This chapter demonstrates how, through co-ordinated activity, through the experience of the cholera epidemic and through the elaboration of statistics, the medical practitioners of York constructed the social as a legitimate sphere of interest and activity. The cholera epidemic did not guarantee a uniform or consistent involvement by medical practitioners in the field of public health. In the immediate aftermath of the epidemic, a large number of medical practitioners used their experiences of the disease to locate themselves within a pan-national discourse of cholera and to contribute to debates about its nature, management and treatment. To a great extent, the visions of medical service were channelled through new forms of social organisation and formulated within new ideological frameworks, for the medicalisation of the social body. This was matched by a commensurate process: the socialisation of the medical body.
Athletes start the century as normal, healthy citizens, and end up as potentially unhealthy physiological 'freaks', while the general public are increasingly urged to do more exercise and play more sports. This book offers a comprehensive study, and social history, of the development of sports medicine in Britain, as practiced by British doctors and on British athletes in national and international settings. It describes how and why, in Britain, medicine applied to sport became first an area of expertise known as sports medicine, and then a formal medical specialty: Sport and Exercise Medicine. In the late nineteenth century, vigorous exercise was an acceptable, probably necessary, part of the moderate healthy lifestyle for the normal, healthy man. Consequently sports medicine was part and parcel of normal medical treatment, distinguishable only through its location or through its patient history. There was no wide-spread de facto scepticism about the value of vigorous exercise among physicians and scientists. The normality of the young male athlete is reconsidered between 1928 and 1952. At the end of the period, the athlete becomes an abnormal or supernormal human being who demands specialist medical interventions. The formation and work of British Association of Sport and (Exercise) Medicine, the Institute of Sports Medicine, the Sports Council, and the British Olympic Association's Medical Committee is discussed. The book finally discusses fitness. Normal life, war, elite competition gives us an insight into how athletic bodies are conceptualised, and how sports medicine has formed and reformed over a century.
The year 1928, where this chapter starts, would stand out in any sports medicine chronology. The first sports medicine books were in fact sports injury books; most made the point that sports injuries were not medical events unique to sports. Several organisational factors made research problematic in 1948, but in 1928, 1936 and 1952 physiological or epidemiological research on athletes was a prominent part of the Olympic medical programme. A great deal of British sports medicine practice, particularly in the very late 1920s and 1930s, was influenced by international developments. The greatly improved performance at the international level in virtually all sports placed demands on the sports medicine professional, and the athletic body. The chapter ends in 1952, with the formation of Britain's first sports medicine organization, the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM), founded by, among others, Adolphe Abrahams and Sir Arthur Porritt.
This chapter outlines the scope of the book, introducing historical concepts and perceptions of disability, the popular connections made between deafness and disability, and the more recent approaches of social and cultural historians to disability, minority and community histories. The Introduction also highlights the processes by which the data for this research was collected, making innovative use of deaf newspapers and the way these were produced to provide unique insights into the deaf experience in Britain. The introduction then moves on to illustrate how this information has been used to inform an analysis of deaf leisure and sport and the ways in which broader theories of leisure as a basis for community cohesion can be applied to deaf people.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book talks about late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English medical culture, a study of what it meant to be a doctor and how this changed over time. It presents a brief overview of the social, economic and cultural landscape of late eighteenth-century York. The book considers how forms of sociability, such as urban club and general social strategies such as marriage and cultivation of patronage, could allow physicians, surgeons and even seemingly lowly apothecaries to fashion themselves as genteel and upstanding local citizens. It looks at medical involvement in the provincial scientific movement, examining how local medical men positioned themselves relative to the so-called 'march of intellect', the cultural and ideological alignment between science and social reform.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes how and why, in Britain, medicine applied to sport became first an area of expertise known as sports medicine, and then a formal medical specialty: Sport and Exercise Medicine. Like most other forms of medicine, sports medicine is interested in both the prevention and the cure of disease, sickness and injury. There is a rich sociological as well as historical literature on the ethics and practice of doping and enhancement. The book also describes athletic bodies as different to normal bodies that enhancement, particularly by drugs, becomes an area of negotiation for new rules and new biomedical categories of control. In a very basic form, the financial consequences of the amateur/ professional divide in British sport have necessarily had some effect on the way sports medicine is practised.
This chapter provides a brief history of social and sporting life in north-west England, in order to illustrate the circumstances within which the specific social activities of the area’s deaf clubs were located. This history informs the detailed analysis of deaf club activities in the region which follows in the next chapter. This examination concentrates on outlining the communal nature of much of the leisure activity of working-class people in north-west England and the ways in which this changed during the research period. The range of activities found across the region and the particular local preferences for certain activities – particularly sports - over others are highlighted.