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'The book of silence for the Deaf'

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 56

Scope and Contents

The volume (24" x 18") is titled 'The Book of Silence for the Deaf, to be presented to H.M. the Queen on Commonwealth Day 1961'. It contains several 100 leaves, of which 156 bear signatures. Each leaf has space for 50 signatures on either side; few are filled completely, and some have only been used on part of one side. There are a total of around 8,000 signatures. At the front are several pages for Commonwealth countries, headed by their national arms and usually with the Prime Minister's signature. These include India (Nehru), Ceylon (Mrs Bandaranaike), Australia (Menzies), Canada (Diefenbaker), Malaya (Tunku Abdul Rahman), Pakistan (Ayub Khan), Nigeria (Sir Abubakr Tafawa Balewa) and Southern Rhodesia (Welensky). British cities, county boroughs and boroughs that feature in the volume include London, Fulham, Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Portsmouth and Chelsea. Firms and organisations include the Victoria League, Coventry Citizens' Guild for Deaf Children, Coventry British Legion, Aiton & Co., Celanese, Royal Exchange Assurance, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, A.T.V., Fellowship of the Services, Legion of Frontiersmen, Association of Belgian ex-Servicemen, Handley's Ltd, James Howell & Co., Marshall & Snelgrove, T.W.W., National Council of Women, Leeds, G.K.N. Castle Works, Cardiff, and the East Midlands Electricity Board, Leicester. Most entries are headed by leading figures, such as mayors, chairmen and M.P.s, the remaining entries consisting of ordinary contributors.


  • Creation: 1959 - 1961


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

The Commonwealth Society for the Deaf was founded in 1959. The first Appeal Chairman was Lady Hoare, who travelled around Britain with the Book of Silence in the company of Brigadier Chatterton. They displayed the book, guarded by the Commonwealth League of Frontiersmen, in a central point in an important city, and collected money and signatures for the Society. The book was shown to the Queen on Commonwealth Day, 1961.


.01 cubic metre(s) (1 volume) : paper

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference

MSS 11

Other Finding Aids

MSS Addenda, vol. I.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited by the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf, October 1976.


This collection level description was created by RAS using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Commonwealth Society for the Deaf

Includes index.
2003-09-12 14:49:45+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom