Lionel Logue

Document Sample
Lionel Logue Powered By Docstoc
					Lionel Logue

1880 – 1953

1880 - 1907
Lionel George Logue was born in College Town, Adelaide, South Australia on
February 26, 1880. He was the eldest of three children. His South Australian
born parents were George Edward Logue, an accountant in the family brewery
and later a hotel licensee (publican), and his wife Lavinia, née Rankin. From
1889 to 1896 he attended Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, established in 1869
as a Methodist boys' school.

In Adelaide, Logue studied elocution with Edward Reeves, "who purged his
voice of much of its Australian accent" (Edgar, in Ritchie, 2000). By 1902 he
had become Reeves' secretary and assistant teacher, while pursuing his studies
at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. He remained a music and theatre-lover
throughout his life and enjoyed walking and gardening.

Western Australia
After leaving the conservatorium, the versatile Logue worked on a gold mine in
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

On March 20, 1907 he married a 21 year old clerk, Myrtle Gruenert in St
George's Anglican Cathedral, Perth. Lionel and Myrtle settled in Perth, where he
taught elocution, public speaking and acting, staged plays, recited Dickens and
Shakespeare at public gatherings, and founded a public speaking club. As well,
he taught at the YMCA, Scotch College, and from 1910, Perth Technical School.
In 1911 he went on a world tour.

As a Christian Scientist, Logue was passionate about healing, and perhaps this,
coupled with his background in elocution, lead to a role he assumed in Perth
during World War I (1914-1918) when he treated returned servicemen who
had speech disorders attributed to shell shock.

Edgar (in Ritchie, 2000) writes, "Using humour, patience and 'super-human
sympathy' he taught them exercises for the lungs and diaphragm, and to
breathe sufficiently deeply to complete a sentence fluently". Logue's approach
included the recitation of tongue twisters such as, "She sifted seven thick
stalked thistles through a strong, thick sieve." ( Denis Judd, King George VI, in
Langford, p.472).

Perth feminist activist Irene Greenwood (1899-1983) recalled being taught
"voice production" by Lionel Logue in Perth, circa 1921, also noting that "his
techniques were designed to repair the damaged vocal chords [sic] of gassed
war veterans" (Richardson 1996).

1924 - 1953
In 1924 Logue commenced practice at 146 Harley Street, London. He made a
good living, charging wealthy patrons substantial fees while providing a free
service to poorer people who sought his professional help.

A Freemason, Logue was appointed as speech therapist to The Royal Masonic
School, Bushey.

During the second world war his practice dwindled, and he worked as an air
raid warden (probably unpaid, or for a small allowance) in London three nights
a week.

After his wife's death in 1945, Logue was attracted to spiritualism. Survived by
three sons: Valentine, Laurie and Anthony, Logue died in London on April 12,
1953, and was cremated. At the time of his death his address was 68, Princes
Court, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London, S.W.3, and his occupation was
noted as "Speech Therapist" in the London Gazette Death Notice.

King George VI (1895 - 1952)
Encouraged (Davie, 2002) by his wife Elizabeth (1900-2002), the then
Duchess of York, the Duke of York, later to become George VI (reigning from
1936 to1952) consulted Logue about his stutter in 1926.

The future King George VI with his wife the Duchess of York at the opening of Parliament House Canberra
in 1927.

"Until Edward VIII abdicated, his younger brother Bertie was not expected to
succeed to the throne. He was born in 1895 and led a regimented childhood
without a great deal of family warmth or empathy. Although naturally left-
handed he was required to learn to write with his right hand. He developed a
serious stutter as a young boy which caused him difficulty and embarrassment
and which he fought to conquer throughout his life. Adding insult to injury, his
siblings were apparently allowed to ridicule his speech" (Baker 2002).
Sinclair (1988) reports that the young duke visited Logue's rooms almost every
day for two months, and that he was:

"frequently accompanied by the Duchess, who became thoroughly familiar with
Logue's program of breathing exercises so that she help her husband to
practise them at home. Within a few weeks, an improvement was apparent and
the Duke told his father that, although 24 years of speaking in the wrong way
could not be set right in a month, he was confident that in time he would be
able to talk without stammering."

Logue and Conrad1 (2010, p. 68) viewed Logue's bill, drawn up on March 31,
1928. It showed that Logue and the Duke met for eighty-two appointments
between 20 October 1926 and 22 December, 1927.

There have been several reports in the popular press of Elizabeth helping him
with breathing exercises, some of which were online around the time of
Elizabeth's death. According to Davie (2002) an author, and also deputy editor
of The Observer:

"When the young duke went off to Harley Street to be treated by the Australian
speech therapist Lionel Logue, she often went with him. He gradually overcame
his disability, but she was always beside him when he had to make a speech,
and helped write them, eliminating the difficult consonants."

Suzanne Edgar on Logue
Suzanne Edgar, in Volume 15 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography,
provides the most detailed account of Logue's diagnosis and treatment, and the
duke's response.

"The therapist diagnosed poor coordination between larynx and diaphragm,
and asked him to spend an hour each day practising rigorous exercises. The
duke came to his rooms, stood by an open window and loudly intoned each
vowel for fifteen seconds. Logue restored his confidence by relaxing the tension
which caused muscle spasms. The duke's stammer diminished to occasional
hesitations. Resonantly and without stuttering, he opened the Australian
parliament in Canberra in 1927.

Using tongue twisters, Logue helped the duke rehearse for major speeches and
coached him for the formal language of his coronation in 1937. At Westminster
Abbey on 12th May, wearing the M.V.O. decoration given to him by King
George VI on the previous night, Logue sat in the apse to encourage him
during the ceremony. Before the King's radio broadcast that evening, Logue
whispered to him: "Now take it quietly Sir".

"The 'slow, measured pace' which he had afforded the King's diction proved
affecting in His Majesty's wartime broadcasts and speeches.

Elevated to C.V.O. in 1944, Logue was with the King for the V.E.-Day broadcast
on 8 May 1945. Their friendship was 'the greatest pleasure' of Logue's life"
(Edgar, 2000).

M.V.O.                               C.V.O.
Member of the Royal Victorian
                                     Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
MVO May 11 1937                      CVO June 8 1943

Margaret Drabble
According to one of my favourite authors, Margaret Drabble, who has a
particular personal insight into stuttering, despite Logue's help George VI never
became comfortable with public speaking, particularly broadcasting.

"He rehearsed everything with Logue and dreaded last minute alterations to his
text: the Sovereign's Speech afforded him an added difficulty as it had to be
delivered sitting, not standing.

Occasionally, he was able to be pleased with his efforts: in 1940, his diary
records that his he was very pleased with the way he delivered his speech on
Empire Day - 'it was easily my best effort. How I hate
broadcasting.' "(Drabble, 2001).

Una Mulholland née Vowles 1904-1999
Dr Mary Rose Cooney MBBS, MBA, MFM, PhD of Brisbane (personal
correspondence November 11, 2010) has lasting memories of her mother's
high regard for Lionel Logue. She shared the contents of a newspaper clipping
about her mother from 13 April, 1931:

"One of Queensland's leading elocutionists, Miss Una Vowles, L.T.C.L., L. Eloc.
A., will leave Brisbane for London on Saturday next, May 2, with the object of
continuing her studies abroad, specialising in speech training. Mr. Lionel Lowe
[sic], of West Australia, who was an elocution teacher to H.R.H. the Duke of
York, will be her tutor for speech defects. Miss Dorothy Carey, of Gympie, will
accompany Miss Vowles on her tour, which will include Ireland, Germany,
France, Italy and Austria."

In a letter home dated August 5, 1931 Miss Vowles (26) wrote,

"Quite a number of people have asked me were we related to the Westralian
branch of the Vowles family. Lionel Logue said to me the other day - "The only
other Una I have ever known lived in W.A. She was the wittiest, cleverest and
smartest woman in the West and her husband adored her. Her name was Una

Funny wasn't it? Immediately told him that was Una Victoria Vowles after whom I was called, my
father's sister. He told me he never takes students but as he liked me and as I am an Australian he
would do his best for me. He is a very interesting man and though he looks young is between 50 &

When Miss Vowles returned home, she was interviewed for a story that
appeared in The Brisbane Courier on 16 February, 1932. In an article that
featured in the Courier Mail on August 28, 1933 Miss Vowles commented on
fashions in speech and deliberate lisping as an affectation. Dr Cooney notes
that her mother, who passed away in 1999, had an elocution studio in
Brisbane, continuing to help people who stammered into her later years.

My thanks to Dr Cooney for providing this information and permitting me to
include it here.

British Society of Speech Therapists
Logue was a founder, in 1935, of the British Society of Speech Therapists, and
in 1944 became a founding fellow of the College of Speech Therapists (now
called the RCSLT). The College was granted royal patronage by George VI (in
1948, according to Eldridge, 1968, and see a letter from Logue to George VI
requesting royal patronage) and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was its patron
from 1959 until her death on March 30th, 2002. Indeed, she was patron or
president of 350 organisations.

Logue's interest in spiritualism brought him in contact with Lilian Bailey OBE,
described by Marjorie Aarons as:

"one of the greatest trance mediums of modern times. During her forty years
of dedicated service to countless people in all walks of life who received
comfort and guidance. Many famous people, The Queen Mother, Lionel Logue,
speech therapist to King George VI are just a few of the people who sort [sic]
her great gifts."

He also knew Hannen Swaffer, the well-known journalist and spiritualist
apparently confiding in him that he had read John Brown’s diary at Windsor
Castle! SEE HERE

Margaret Eldridge on Logue
Australian historian and qualified speech therapist Margaret Eldridge provides a
slightly different view of Lionel Logue in her 1968 book.

"Yet another link between the future of speech therapy in England and in
Australia was forged in the nineteen twenties when Mr Lionel Logue of Western
Australia arrived in London. Mr Logue was then a young man whose work in the
field of voice production and public speaking had led him to specialise in the
treatment of stammering. His interest in the therapeutic aspect of speech
training may have arisen from the fact that medicine was his first choice of a
career, but for reasons of health he had been unable to pursue it, so had
turned to his second field of interest: the study of voice and speech.

In Australia, at the time, there was no provision for the study or practice of the
treatment of speech disorders; anyone wishing to supplement his own
investigation in logopaedics would be most likely to find what he sought either
in England or on the European continent. {author's note: or, indeed, the
United States of America}

On arriving in England Mr Logue made his home in London, where he set up in
private practice - in voice production and remedial speech training. His success,
particularly with stammerers, was immediate, and before long he was
specialising in that branch of his work.

His method of treating stammering consisted in establishing in each patient a
firm belief in (a) the possibility of ultimate release from the stammer, (b) that
this release would be achieved through the patient's own effort of will, courage
and determination; the practice of exercises in breathing, voice and speech,
and the performance of speech-situation assignments were the means by which
self-confidence was gradually established.

There is no doubt that Mr Logue's own character and personality - his gift of
practical sympathy allied to common sense, his humour and his charm - were
important factors in the success of his treatment."

Lionel Logue Fever?
There was little curiosity about Logue and his life from outside the speech
pathology profession when I wrote this article and posted it on my web site in
2002. Several kind people sent snippets of information and Logue memorabilia,
and that was about it. But from 2007 regular enquiries trickled in from writers
(several journalists, a playwright, and two or three aspiring authors),
researchers and people who stutter (or who stuttered) eager to know more
about Lionel Logue. Not exactly Lionel Logue Fever, but a definite increase in

My role was to provide what information I could and to help some of these
people make contact with each other. Since 2007 a play, "The Dorchester", has
been written and performed with Logue as an important character, a feature
film, "The King's Speech", made with Logue at its core, and at least two
biographies have been completed - one in the UK and the other in Australia.

In 2010, because of the interest generated by "The King's Speech" feature film,
stories about Logue have appeared in newspapers and popular magazines, as
well as in several newsletters and blogs associated with advocacy and self-help
groups for people who stutter.

The people who have made contact with me have all wanted more information
than I have been able to provide, particularly around two recurring questions.
Are Logue's methods for treating stuttering used today? What is Logue's

The fact of the matter is that we do not have verifiable records of what his
intervention methods for stuttering (stammering) were. He did not publish the
details of his approach, there are no case notes to peruse, no theoretical
musings over why he did what he did and no evidence that he undertook any
form of study or research to support his endeavour. Logue & Conradi (2010, p.
132) quote him, without specifying the precise source, as saying,
“…unfortunately on the matter of Speech Defects, when so much depends on
the temperament and individuality, a case can always be produced that can
prove you are wrong. That is why I won’t write a book.”

Whatever he did, it is doubtful that anyone other than Logue himself did “Lionel
Logue Therapy” because he had no students, assistants or disciples. He may
not even have administered “therapy” in the accepted sense. Descriptions
suggest “dialogue coaching” and public speaking training (Logue’s original
career path in Adelaide), breath control (such as "costal breathing" or "rib
reserve breathing" or "diaphragmatic breathing", popular with
elocutionists/speech teachers at the time), with some unconfirmed suggestions
that he "hypnotised" his patients.

Because so little is known about what Logue actually did in "curing" stuttering
we are unable to tell whether any of the stuttering treatments available today
echo Logue's work.

From all reports he was a sincere, compassionate person who believed in
himself as a healer. As far as the healing went, we will never know whether he
developed an effective treatment able to withstand the tests of time and
scientific scrutiny. Moreover, we don't know whether it had to be Logue
administering the therapy or whether it could be emulated and administered by
any clinician (and not just one with Logue's fabled magnetism).

Regarding King George VI, we do not know that he did not just prop the King
up for a few state occasions as opposed to helping him, through therapy, to
control his stutter all the time. There are no pre-treatment or post-treatment
measures to be had, no account of the specific intervention administered to the
King, and no indication of any follow-up or maintenance program for the King
to follow in order to maintain his fluency.

The Director of Regional Engagement and editor of Research in Post-
Compulsory Education, Professor Geoffrey Elliott of the University of Worcester
writes (personal correspondence, October 30, 2010):

"I was treated and cured by Lionel Logue in 1952, aged three. Obviously as I
was very young I don't recall much of what happened. My late father, who was
a freemason, had arranged to get me referred to Logue to treat my serious
stammer, which had developed following life-saving surgery and a
convalescence of six months. NHS methods had been tried and failed. I recall
being welcomed into his Harley Street consulting room. Only one visit was
necessary. As I approached Logue I remember him saying 'hop over here,
Geoffrey' and being an obedient child I duly hopped across the room! My father
was not allowed to be present during treatment. Dad believed that Logue used
hypnosis but I have no evidence whether that is true or untrue. My next recall
is of my father's tearful thanks to Logue on my return to the waiting room,
when I could speak without the wretched stutter. I shall always be indebted to
that great healer."

My thanks to Professor Elliott for allowing me to share his story here.

The speech pathology profession boasts many people who stutter in its ranks,
and Professor Elliot (personal correspondence November 10, 2010) has raised
for the first time, for me, the possibility that Lionel Logue himself stuttered. He
writes, " father recounted to me that on meeting him, Logue stuttered,
and seeing the aghast look on my father's face, said: 'I know what you're
thinking, "Physician heal yourself". Well the truth is I can't but I can cure your

It is difficult to get the measure of the man, but looking at his history he strikes
one as a kindly, energetic, charismatic searcher and dabbler with a penchant
for associating with interesting and prominent people, and for “founding
things”. His first foray into founding things was at the age of 21 when he
founded a public speaking club in Perth, Western Australia. At 44 he founded a
Harley Street practice in a field in which he had no formal qualifications
(opportunities to study the nature and treatment of communication disorders
were available at that time in the United States and Europe - see the
comment above from Margaret Eldridge re "England or the European
continent"). At 55 he co-founded a professional association.

While his association with King George VI gave him a public “reputation”, in
Australia and Britain particularly, his most enduring contribution to the
profession was his involvement as one of the founders in 1935 of the British
Society of Speech Therapists. This contribution was recognised by professional
peers in 1944 when he was made a Founding Fellow of the College of Speech
Therapists (today's Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists).

Participating in the formation of a speech therapy professional association
might seem an obvious and logical progression for a person with an elocution
teaching background who somehow evolved into a recognised and "decorated"
speech therapist, but it took a person like Logue to do so. We do not know
what his motives were. Despite the decorations he received and the prominent
people he associated with, fifteen years after his Harley Street practice was
established it (his practice) declined. So maybe he helped to establish the
British Society of Speech Therapists in a bid to stimulate a resurgence of his
business, or to be a personage (“a founder”).

I prefer to think that he had the foresight to know that for the profession to
become a profession in good standing, cooperation between practitioners was
necessary, qualifications had to be formalised, and that some sort of regulation
of standards and ethics was required. THAT was pioneering work, and the
essence of Logue's legacy.

Shared By: