Mary Stephens Corbishley MBE

A Biography of her Life and Work at her Oral Schools for Deaf children in Cuckfield, East Sussex, the UK

by Ian M. Stewart



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 01/01/0001

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 160
ISBN : 9781452068558

About the Book

This biography is about Mary S. Corbishley who pioneered an unorthodox method of teaching young deaf children speech, lipreading and English. She believed that these three fundamental elements formed an ideal beginning of preparing deaf children from an early age for higher education and after-school life in the hearing world where they had equal rights with hearing peers. She was a devout Christian woman whose calling for this enterprising adventure was inspired by the Bible and her faith in God. As a young woman in 1929, she unexpectedly left home and embarked on a long journey which was to last for the rest of her life and career as a teacher of young deaf children. Having courageously set up her Oral School for deaf children in 1939, she tirelessly fought against ignorance, officialdom, scepticism and prejudice and triumphed in establishing a well-loved and highly praised School at Mill Hall in Cuckfield in 1948 which was to enjoy fame and a world-wide reputation for 50 years until its much lamented closure in 1996.

Her work revolved around deaf children whom she loved all her life.

About the Author

Born in September 1935, Ian M. Stewart was later diagnosed profoundly deaf and started his formal education on his seventh birthday at Cuckfield House Oral School for the Deaf in Cuckfield, Sussex. He learnt speech, lipreading and English under Mary Corbishley's tuition and successfully passed the Entrance Examination for Mary Hare Grammar School in 1946. After leaving school with six Oxford 'O' level passes, he qualified as a chartered surveyor and worked in London for nearly 40 years. He suffered enforced early retirement in 1992 due to the recession, and then trained to become a qualified teacher in Further and Adult Education where he has been teaching English to Deaf adult learners. He, also, was a leading Deaf mime-actor with the British Theatre of the Deaf in 1963-1974 and lectured on Deaf Sign Theatre as part of the Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies BA (Hons) Degree Course at Reading University in the early 1990s. He now lives by the sea and enjoys theatre, films, reading, travelling, swimming, walking, home cuisine and dining and wining with friends. He hopes to tour the beautiful green countryside of the British Isles before its future relentless and ruinous urbanisation. He has written this biography as he personally knew Mary Corbishley as a teacher and friend and felt it was a good thing that hearing and Deaf readers should be aware of the value of oral education for young deaf children as opposed to sign language based teaching, although he has no objections to sign language used by Deaf adults including himself only when conversing with them.