The collection I’m transcribing is called the Goulden Collection, which is a handlist of archives of organizations for the deaf community during the 1960’s until the 1980’s. It is a collection of materials relating to organizations for the deaf community, drama groups, associations, educational visits and unions. We may have acquired the collection in the early 1990’s but there is not much information on how we acquired it here at the University of Manchester. It was collected by Richard Goulden a librarian and archivist and it is a fantastic collection of material relating to the deaf community at the time. The collection covers regional groups (of which Greater Manchester is covered from 1976-1979), the British Deaf Association, Central Bureau for Educational visits and Exchanges, National Union of the Deaf, the Old Hamiltons Association, miscellaneous papers and newsletters and the Sixty Six Club.
The Sixty Six Club for young deaf adults was founded in April 1966, hence the title of the club. We have the papers of this club from 1966-1979. Its primary purpose was to be a club for young deaf adults under the age of 35. It was a wholly independent club run by young deaf adults for young deaf adults and became a registered charity. The purpose of the organization was to offer social and sports facilities so that these young adults had opportunities to develop friendships and also develop new skills.
Specific activities included dinner dances, sporting events, rambles, games nights, drama groups, discos and visits to industrial concerns (such as The Times printing section). During the years of the Sixty Six Club’s existence it faced many ups and downs, but this was only to be expected when trying to start a club from nothing. There was also a large number of other clubs in existence at the time.
The Sixty Six Club survived and thrived and income was healthy due to fundraising efforts by members. There were trips abroad including a day trip to Holland in 1971 to see the bulb fields for £11.25 including insurance! Information on the club was sent to many deaf schools and establishments and also the club was mentioned in Talk, British Deaf News and Hearing to attract more members.
The club needed new premises, a new club house as they had just been using temporary premises for a while. Prince Charles was approached and also the BBC in order to ask for help with funding. There was also a very successful drama section of the Sixty Six Club in which members performed plays including Doctor Faustus (which was the 1978 winner of Federation of London Deaf Clubs Drama Competition), Blithe Spirit, Oedipus Rex, Canterbury Tales and many others.
The drama group made all their own costumes and performed at various theatres around the country. The drama group members were professionally trained and directed and it was in continuous existence from 1977. The file we hold for the drama group ends in early 1982.
Hopefully this has been an interesting snapshot of the Sixty Six Club as part of the Goulden collection. In the future this collection will be made available for researchers and will be made accessible for readers to view. It’s a fascinating history of the time during the 1960’s and 1970’s. It’s a pleasure to be able to work with such collections and appreciate how precious they are and also how grateful we are that they have been so well documented for the use of researchers in the future.
For details of all our Special Collections and how to join please see our website.