Saturday, October 27, 2012
Sounds of silence
A hundred and five years ago, in these premises known as "Leland's Garden", a school was founded. More about that school will be the subject of a future post; for, it is a completely different institution that currently occupies these premises.
Within five years of its founding, St. Bede's European High School - as it was then known - moved out of its original buildings to make way for a school for the hearing impaired. Of course in those more direct times, it was called a school for the deaf. It was in 1912 that the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society acceded to the persuasions of one of its members. Florence Swainson was allowed to begin a residential school for seven children, calling it the CEZMS School for the Deaf, Mylapore. Maybe the CEZMS felt that it was a passing fancy; it was another 44 years before the school was formally registered. In the meantime, much had changed, including the patronage of the school. It was registered as the Church of South India School for the Deaf.
The CSI continues to run this school, one of the oldest in the city. It has almost 200 children today and more than half of them are residential scholars. They will be celebrating their centenary year with a lot of joy - even if they may not be able to hear most of it.