Friday, July 8, 2011

Gerritt Van Asch

Mr Gerritt Van Asch
Mr Gerritt Van Asch, late principal of the Deaf and Dumb Institute at Sumner, is dead, in his seventy-second year.

Mr Van Asch was born in Holland. His life was devoted to the study of how to overcome and to minimise the affliction of deafness; and to gain experience in the various methods of teaching and training deaf mutes he visited several of the most important schools in Europe, and especially those for articulation and lip reading in Germany. In 1859 he introduced the pure articulation system into England, where he carried on a private establishment for the education of deaf mutes in a suburb of Manchester, avoiding all signs and finger language, and employing spoken language and lip reading only as a means of instruction and communication. Later, he removed his school to Barnet, Herts; and afterwards to London.

The late Mr Van Asch arrived in New Zealand in 1879, and settled in Sumner, where, under engagement to the Government of New Zealand, he established the school for deaf mutes, which he controlled with conspicuous success for over a quarter of a century.

Mr Van Asch retired in April, 1906, from the directorship of the institution, and, accompanied by Mrs and Miss Van Asch, went Home for an extended holiday. Since then he has visited various parts of the Continent, and it was his intention to return to New Zealand in September of this year. On Tuesday, however, a cable message was received stating that Mr Van Asch was dangerously ill from haemorrhage of the brain, and yesterday morning another cablegram announced the fact of his death while in Holland. The institution was closed during the day out of respect to its late director.

Mr Van Asch leaves his widow, five sons and four daughters, all of whom are grown up, and all of whom, except Mrs Van Asch and the eldest daughter, are in New Zealand.
Star, Issue 9178, 6 March 1908, Page 3

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