Mark House was my 3x great-uncle. He was born on 29th October 1885 in Fawley, Hampshire. He was one of 11 known children; George (1879-1950), William (1880-1915), Andrew (1883-?), John (1884-1901), Mark (1885-1970), Alec Edward (1887-1956), Jack (1889-1960), Annie Louisa (1890-1950), Nellie (1892-1949) and Lily May (1894-1940). Their parents were George and Annie Eliza House (nee Mintram) who was more commonly known as Lily.
In 1891 Mark was 5 years old and was living with his parents and 6 siblings. At this time, the House family were living at 94 Fourshells in Fawley, and it appears that all of the children were attending a school.
In 1901 Mark was 15. He was recorded as living at the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor, which was situated on Victoria Road in Margate, Kent. Mark was what in those days people called ‘deaf and dumb’. He was born deaf and was obviously sent to this Asylum, which was really just a school for children who were deaf or hard of hearing. The photograph below shows a 1901 postcard of the Asylum.
10 years later in 1911, Mark was 25 years old and seems to have left the Asylum. He was living with his parents again at Ashdown, in Fawley and was recorded as being “Totally Deaf and Dumb from birth”, which proved that he was born totally deaf. In 1911 Mark was recorded as a Bricklayer’s Labourer.
The photograph below shows Mark stood in the middle of his parents, George and Lily. Two of Mark’s sisters are stood either side of their parents; Nelly on the left and Lily on the right. The younger child sat on George’s knee is the son of Lily Raphael, and the boy sat on the floor is George, a grandson of George. The second photograph was obviously taken on the same day. It shows Mark dressed in very smart clothing. For the time, I believe the family were reasonably wealthy.
At the age of 53, Mark was recorded as living with his sister, Annie Louisa Rossiter (nee House) on the 1939 Register. They were living in Portsmouth, Hampshire. After Annie passed away in 1950, I think Mark continued to live with his nephew, but apart from that, I am not entirely sure what happened to Mark except a few stories that my grandmother told me.
She told me that my great-grandmother, who was born in 1913, used to use sign language to communicate with Mark. He was her uncle. My grandmother actually also remembers Mark first hand. When my grandmother was younger she was taken down to Hampshire to visit some of her mother’s family. She told me that because she was so young, she found him quite scary because he used to shout. She told me that looking back now, the shouting was most probably out of frustration, as he couldn’t effectively communicate with most people unless they were used to his actions or knew some sort of basic sign language. I think it’s such a shame that he had to live like that. The photograph below shows an older Mark.
I am not entirely sure what happened to Mark, except that he sadly passed away aged 84, in about the March of 1970 in Hampshire. He was the last of the House siblings to pass away and as far as I know, he never married.
I would have liked to have met Mark, although I wouldn’t be able to communicate with his very well. I’m sure that he would have seen and experienced a lot (both good and bad) in his life, but never truly got say what he meant. In Mark’s time, deaf people were usually treated very badly so he wouldn’t have had the chance to do things that “hearing” people would have had. That’s not right at all.
Did you ever meet him? Do you know a story that he’s involved in? If anyone knows anything else about Mark, I would love to know, so please contact me!
Thank you very much for reading,