Members Past and Present

Associates, Members, Registrands or others who may know are asked to notify us of changes in circumstances or of bereavments.

Sir Isaac Pitman, (born Jan. 4, 1813, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, Eng.—died Jan. 12, 1897, Somerset), English educator and inventor of the shorthand system named for him.

After clerking in a textile mill, Pitman entered a training college for teachers (1831) and taught in elementary schools for 11 years before opening his own private school in Bath. Earlier he had taken up Samuel Taylor’s system of shorthand and become interested in developing shorthand based on sound. In 1837, at the suggestion of publisher Samuel Bagster, Pitman wrote Stenographic Sound Hand, which Bagster published at a low price for widest possible distribution. To encourage the adoption of his system, Pitman established a Phonetic Institute and a Phonetic Journal at Bath. He also printed standard works in shorthand, and his book Phonography (1840) went through many editions. He was an enthusiastic spelling reformer and adopted a phonetic system that he tried to bring into general use. In 1894 he was knighted

Further information on Sir Isaac Pitman from available net sources:

Isaac Pitman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
Sir Isaac Pitman
Isaac Pitman.jpg
Born(1813-01-04)4 January 1813
Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England
Died22 January 1897(1897-01-22) (aged 84)
Known forPitman shorthand
ChildrenErnest Pitman, Alfred Pitman
Memorial plaque of Isaac Pitman in Bath Abbey
Stamp issued to mark the centenary of Pitman's birth.

Sir Isaac Pitman (4 January 1813 – 22 January 1897),[1] was a teacher of the English language who developed the most widely used system of shorthand, known now as Pitman shorthand. He first proposed this in Stenographic Soundhand in 1837. He was also the vice-president of the Vegetarian Society. Pitman was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1891


Pitman was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire in England. One of his cousins was Abraham Laverton. In 1831 he had five months' training at the Training College of the British and Foreign School Society, which was sufficient to qualify him as a teacher. He started teaching at Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire. In 1835 he married a widow, and moved in 1836 to Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, where he started his own school. In 1839 he moved to Bath, where he opened a small school.[2]

In the 1851 census he appears in Bath aged 38, living with his wife, Mary, aged 58, born in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire. He married Isabella Masters in 1861, and he appears in the 1871 census, aged 58, with his new wife Isabella, aged 46.

Spelling reform and shortha

Isaac Pitman was a lifelong advocate of spelling reform for the English language, producing many pamphlets during his lifetime on spelling reform. His motto was "time saved is life gained".[3]

One of the outcomes of his interest in spelling reform was the creation of his system of phonetic shorthand which he first published in 1837, in a pamphlet titled Sound-Hand. Among the examples in this pamphlet, were Psalm 100, the Lord's Prayer, and Swedenborg's Rules of Life.

By 1843 his business of preparing and publishing had expanded sufficiently to give up teaching, and to set up his own printing press, as well as compositing and a binding.[2]

In 1844 he published Phonotypy, his major work on spelling reform. In 1845 he published the first version of the English Phonotypic Alphabet.

In the 1881 census his name is spelled phonetically as Eisak Pitman. In the 1891 census he is again listed as Isaac, but his birthplace has moved to Bath.


In 1886 Pitman went into partnerships with his sons Alfred and Ernest to form Isaac Pitman and Sons. In the same year the millionth copy of the Phonographic Teacher was sold in Great Britain. Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons was to become one of the world's leading educational publishers and training businesses with offices in London, Bath, New York City, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Toronto and Tokyo. The publishing division was bought by rival Pearson Plc in 1985. The training business evolved into two separate businesses: Pitman Training and JHP Training (now learndirect).

Distance learning

The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s, who taught a system of shorthand by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on postcards and receiving transcriptions from his students in return for correction. The element of student feedback was a crucial innovation of Pitman's system. This scheme was made possible by the introduction of uniform postage rates across Britain in 1840.

Personal life

Isaac Pitman was fervently Swedenborgian. Not only did he read The Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg daily, he also devoted much time and energy to educating the world about them. He published and distributed books and tracts by and about Swedenborg. Among the authors he encouraged was Thomas Child.[4]

Pitman was active in the local New Church congregation in Bath while living on Royal Crescent.[5] He was one of the founding members, when this congregation was formed in 1841. He served as president of this society from 1887 to his death in 1897. His contribution to this church was honoured by the congregation with a stained glass window depicting the golden cherub in the temple of wisdom described in Swedenborg's True Christian Religion No. 508.[6] The window was dedicated on 5 September 1909.

His memorial plaque on the north wall of Bath Abbey reads, "His aims were steadfast, his mind original, his work prodigious, the achievement world-wide. His life was ordered in service to God and duty to man."

In about 1837 Pitman discontinued the use of all alcoholic beverages, and in about 1838 he became a vegetarian – both lifelong practices to which, in a famous[citation needed] letter to The Times (London), he attributed his lifelong excellent health and his ability to work long hours.

Isaac Pitman is the grandfather of Sir James Pitman, who developed the Initial Teaching Alphabet.

His great-grandson John Hugh Pitman was appointed an OBE in 2010 for services to Vocational Training.

See also

  • Benjamin Pitman (1822–1910), his brother who introduced his system to America
  • Jacob Pitman (1810–1890) a settler in South Australia, founded a Swedenborg Church there, and taught Pitman shorthand in New South Wales. Mentions Uncle William[7] (1801–1859), who also emigrated to South Australia with his large family.


  1. ^ "Pitman, Sir Isaac (1813–1897)" by Tony D. Triggs in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, online edition. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b Owen Ward. Isaac Pitman and the Fourth Phonetic Institute (PDF) (Report). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Anniversaries of 2013". The Daily Telegraph. 28 December 2012.
  4. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Child, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement . 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  5. ^ Lowndes, William (1981). The Royal Crescent in Bath. Redcliffe Press. ISBN 978-0-905459-34-9.
  6. ^ Bath Herrold, 6 September 1909
  7. ^ Packham, David (1854). The Australians of a Branch of the Pitman Family. The Pitman Press, Bath: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd. p. 169.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Isaac Pitman.

Sir Isaac James Pitman, KBE (14 August 1901 – 1 September 1985) was a British businessman, civil servant, publisher, politician and spelling reformer.

Pitman was closely involved in the theory of teaching children to write the English language. His analysis of the teaching of handwriting to students, both in school by professional teachers, and at home by parents has several strong pedagogical theories in its intellectual background. Along with his analysis Pitman created a system of spelling that allows students to spell as words are pronounced (according to an alternative orthography for an English-language teaching alphabet). His major work on this topic is Alphabets and Reading: The Initial Teaching Alphabet (1965).

His thorough work has been adapted for several other uses: teaching English as a second language to adults for pronunciation and handwriting purposes, use on the Internet by alternative orthographers of English (an alternative most realisable by use of crossover systems adapted to the standard keyboard), and aesthetic uses where the writer wants to play at the conjunction of signs or symbols, and alphabet-based writing. This latter use gives rise to an aesthetics and poetics of its own, as in the Owlbirdbet Crossover system adapted to the standard keyboard, where it is more widely accessible to Internet users. Overall, the Pitman initial teaching alphabet (ita) points the way to the needed overall reform of English spelling, such as the Dutch accomplished in regard the writing of their own tongue some two decades ago.

Pitman was the son of Ernest Pitman and grandson of Sir Isaac Pitman, who developed the most widely used system of shorthand, known now as Pitman Shorthand. James Pitman was to become chairman and joint managing director of the Pitman Press and Pitman Publishing.

Pitman was educated at Summer Fields School, Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. He excelled in athletics, won the Public Schools middleweight boxing championship of 1919 and gained his 'blue' at Oxford University in rugby union which he also played for England against Scotland.

In 1934 he became chairman of Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, a post he held until 1966. He was a director of Boots Pure Drug, Bovril and the Equity and Law Life Assurance Society. He wrote several books on the teaching of English and is best known as the inventor of the Initial Teaching Alphabet. The educational institutes with which he was involved, often as president or chairman, included the British and Foreign School Society, the British Association for Commercial and Industrial Education, the National Association for the Advancement of Education for Commerce, the Committee of the Simplified Spelling Society and the Initial Teaching Alphabet Foundation.

During World War II Pitman was a Squadron Leader in the RAFVR. He became a Director of the Bank of England in 1941 until after 1945 and was Director of Organization and Methods at HM Treasury 1943-5.

At the 1945 general election, Pitman was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Bath. In the House of Commons, he championed spelling reform, working with the Labour MP, Mont Follick, to promote the cause of the Simplified Spelling Society.

Pitman retired from Parliament in 1964. He continued to serve on several company boards. He also served as Chairman of the Management Committee of the University of London Institute of Education. He was Pro-Chancellor of the University of Bath 1972–81 and ensured that the Pitman papers would reside with the University. The University had awarded him an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) in 1970.[1]

Pitman married the Hon. Margaret Beaufort Johnston the daughter of George Lawson Johnston, 1st Baron Luke in 1927 and had three sons and a daughter.

Celebrating the Life of Samuel (Sammy) Fitz-Henley, O.D.


Sunrise: December 21, 1929 Sunset: December 15, 2012
Life Highlights:

Mr Fitz-Henley was the founder and principal of the Fitz-Henley Secretarial Institute. The three (3) schools located in Kingston, Spanish Town and Ocho Rios helped thousands of Jamaicans get training in shorthand, typing and secretarial duties. 

Pitman Shorthand Teachers’ Diploma; Teacher/Court Reporter, Principal Fitz-Henley’s Secretarial Institute since 1969. Director Back to the Bible Broadcast.

Organizations: Director National Shorthand Reporters’ Association of America, Representative for Jamaica on Central Committee of the International Federation of Shorthand and Typewriting, Pitman Shorthand, Chairman of the National Shorthand Reporters’ Association of America, Fellow Incorporated Phonographic Society (U.K.), Society of Commercial Teachers (U.K.), Commercial Education Society of Australia, All India Institute of Shorthand Writers, Academy of Professional Reporters, Registered Professional Reporter (U.S.A.). 

Born: La Roma, Dominican Republic, December 21, 1929, son of the late Randolph Fitz-Henley, Teacher/Court Reporter/Inventor, and Doris M. Fitz-Henley, Housewife. Educated: Received Private Tuition from his father. Career: Official Court Reporter– Supreme Court (Jamaica) 1949-69, Freelance Court Reporter since 1969.

Married: Olive M. Walcott, August 12, 1953; 3 sons, 1 daughter

LocationKingston, Jamaica

AwardsHonoured by the Jamaican Government in 2005 with the Order of Distinction.

Receives awards from the United States, England and Australia, including the 
Distinguished Service Award of the National Shorthand Reporters’ Association of America.

Personal InformationPublications: Caribbean Business Correspondence in Pitman 2000 Shorthand 1980, Shorthand Reporters’ Expedients 1974-76. Denomination: Christian Brethren.

Personal InterestsInterests: Reading, Shorthand Research, Evangelism, Swimming, Listening to Classical Music.


Mr Fred Laverack ACP FFTCom


Fred Leverack

Published on Saturday 21 January 2012 06:00

DESPITE a family background that seriously hindered his own education, Fred Laverack who has died aged 92, became a teacher, and in due course, head of Gildersome St Peters and Birstall Primary schools.

Earlier in his career he had been a bus conductor.

Mr Laverack went to Burley Church of England School in Leeds as a pupil, and then to Woodhouse Technical School, one of his reports stating he was intelligent but would benefit from regular attendance.

The reason he skipped school was to earn money to support his family, but despite his absences from class, he won a scholarship. The need to find a full-time job, however, meant he had to leave before gaining any qualifications.

The job he settled for, because it was steady, was as a bus conductor. Then came the War and he joined the RAF, serving mainly in the Sudan as an aircraft maintenance engineer.

Off duty, he was involved in rescuing a lion cub, named it Leo and looked after it until it had to go to a zoo.

When a plane crash landed, Mr Laverack bartered with the local chief, buying him two goats in exchange for which the village women trampled down the melon harvest to make a runway, enabling the plane to get back to base.

After leaving the RAF in May, 1946, he went back to the buses, now as a driver, and attended night school so as to gain the qualifications he needed to take his education further.

In 1949 he was promoted to inspector, and the following year was appointed education welfare officer.

He was accepted at Culham College, Oxford, in 1952, and took up his first teaching post, at Hunslet St Silas C of E School, two years later.

After a number of other teaching posts at schools in the area, he was made deputy head of Cross Flatts Park School, and in 1965, head teacher of St Peter’s, Gildersome.

From there he took on the headship of Birstall County Primary, retiring in 1980 with a reputation as someone to be respected and trusted.

Pupils still kept in touch with him over 30 years after he had retired.

In 1966 he had been made an associate of the College of Preceptors, and he was a fellow of the Faculty of Teachers of Commerce.

Confirmed at All Hallows, Leeds, in 1935, throughout his life Mr Laverack was a committed Christian, and it was an attractive young Sunday school teacher who won his heart. He and Margaret Dimmock became engaged while Mr Laverack was at college, marrying the summer he qualified, in 1954. They remained devoted until her death in 2000, Mr Laverack having nursed her during her last illness.

He regularly served at the 8am communion services – Sundays and midweek – at St. John the Evangengelist at Wortley-de-Leeds, where he read the lessons and intercessions, and was much appreciated.

Being musical, he sang in performances of The Messiah and The Crucifixion, and in the church choir at St Matthias in Burley. Athletic in his youth, he was the Leeds Elementary School hurdles champion, and taking up rugby union, played wing for Burley and Culham College.

In football he qualified as a referee and he also was a swimming instructor.

Readily recognised in his deerstalker hat, which he unfailing doffed when manners required it, Mr Laverack was known for his gentlemanly behaviour.

He enjoyed eating out, an expense he pretended was beyond his means, and he might offer his upturned hat for “any donations for the poor headteachers’ fund.”

Mr Laverack is survived by his daughters Margaret Anne and Heather Elizabeth, both teachers, and four grandchildren, one of them a graduate, two at university and the youngest, planning to go.

LAVERACK FRED The family of the late Fred Laverack wish to thank all relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues for all the sympathy and kindness received. Special thanks to the Reverend Kingsley Dowling and Reverend Anthea Colledge, to all at Owlett Hall, Joseph Tate Funeral Directors and Gordon, Simon and all the staff at The Cornmill Lodge Hotel

Miss A.M. Howlings, FFTCom, FSCT

Mr B B Morris FCCS AFTCom


mr_morrisThis information was obtained from 'Chapter XX111 of My Contemporaries'

Barnett Bernard Morris,was born in 1900:and was the founder and principal of Greenmore College:In addition to his academic and business interests was a member of the Council of the Independent Schools Association, he was also President of the Young Israel Society:secretary Birmingham Social and Dramatic Club.

He also founded the original Old Greenmorians and of course was president of the schools Parent Teacher association but he was also a fellow of the Corporation of Certified Secretaries and an associate of the Faculty of Teachers in Commerce.

Mr Morris was educated at Icknield Street Council School, the Midland Institute and Lawrences College.

He also found time to join the Special Constabulary, 1940,attached to R Division(Central)

In addition to normal tours of duty he undertook with the approval of the Chief Constable the training of approximately ninety constables and thirty members of the Womens Auxiliary Police in shorthand and typewriting, entirely voluntarily. He achieved a long service medal with bar.

Bernard Morris had his first job at 14 1/2 in a solicitors office at five shillings a week.At 16 ,he was a pupil teacher on the staff of Lawrence's College,taking pupils older than himself. There followed a post as secretary and then at twenty he decided to start his own school.

As a result of his first advertisement in the Birmingham Mail, one pupil turned up,followed by three or four others at monthly intervals.He purchased a typewriter,put out a slogan: 'The school that saves time' and commenced a series of evening classes,concentrating on rapid commercial courses.

He soon found that commercial training needed an educational foundation, and introduced a High School section , taking pupils from eight years of age.

By 1939 he had established himself as a teacher, and had 120 pupils. With the declaration of war ,the schoolwas closed for 14 fdays. On reopening only 32 pupils turned up with a staff of 6. It looked impossible to keep it going .However the staff cooperated and it went on.

An enemy bomb necessitated the evacuation of the college to Edgbaston, and Morris was given considerable help by the Principal of Edgbaston Girls` College,who leased him some of her classrooms. During the war he trained over 700 girls from the A.T.S. Later he obtained premises at 215 Bristol Road and by 1944 the school had grown to 250 pupils.

Meantime, 204 Bristol Road, had been taken over by the authorities as a wardens post and air raid shelter.When they gave it up Morris bought it. A little later Farnborough House School in Pershore Road with 40 pupils came on the market. Having acquired that, he was able to accept pupils from 4 years of age.Two other schools followed in quick succession (which ones please let me know-Nigel)By 1948 he had built up a college of 500 pupils.

204 Bristol Road in late 1950s

Josephene Margaret Simmonds remembers going to the original school which started, above Henrysdepartments→re∈Birmingham,justbeforethewar.

The building was bombed and the school closed, and the pupils were transferred to Edgbaston Girls High School on Bristol Road. During this time air raids continued and when the siren sounded the pupils went across Bristol Road into a cellar.

Form teacher was Mrs Tolley and she used to travel in from the suburbs


After the Butler Education Act,provisional recognition was accorded him, and the College was one of the List 70 schools in England recognised as 'efficient schools' by the Minister of Education, with a scope of work including Nursery, Kindergarten and prepararatory schools and preparation for Grammer schools entrance, General Certificate in Education, and Secretarial Training.

In 1952 Rathvilly School, Northfield and the Burlington Secretarial College New Street were added and at the time of writing Greenmore College was the largest independent school in the country,with an enrolment of over 800 scholars.

Every year the Birmingham Town Hall was rented for the annual prize distribution and usually the Lord Mayor, Deputy, or some other prominent citizen distributes the certificates of which at the time of writing over 7,000 had been gained by pupils.

Nigel Hinton writes ' I still have my program for the 1961 33rd Annual Prize Distribution on 7th March.

The prizes were distributed by Mr Peter Middlemass MBE MA and the Chairman was Alderman Eric Mole OBE JP Head Boy was Glyndon Dobbs

I have acopy of the 1950 program if anyone needs information.

The chapter in the book concluded with a series of questions that the writer addressed to Mr Morris and his replies I have reproduced these as written as these are the closest we are going to get to an interview with Mr Morris NJH.

' What made you 'I said in the face of considerable competition go in for an organisation of this kind?'

'I felt' he replied, 'there was an opening for this training in a city like Birmingham, and that a private enterprise organisation on the lines I have been able to create would be successful.'

The proof that it has been is the size of the school, and the number of certificates awarded to its scholars.

'So', I said ' when asked your most useful contribution to your generation , what is your reply?'

' Teaching some thousands of scholars,things they have to know, in a city like Birmingham, to make a success of their jobs. We have introduced certain specialised commercial subjects into the General certificate course with very satisfactory results.'

'Does the teacher prefer the public to the private school ?'

'Usually the other way about. They must have the same qualifications and are paid the Burnham scale, but many teachers prefer the smaller classes and the greater independence of the private school. Incidentally, there is not as much form filling'

Bernard Morris`s out look was certainly different from numerous educationalists.Many industrialists think it is more useful.

The Morris method may lack the frills and fancy trappings beloved by some amiable therists, but it is a sound basis on which to build higher education for those who need it.

In introducing a breath of reality into our educational system, Bernard Morris has performed a useful public service.

William Bruce, F.C.I., F.F.T.Com

Archive material found through the web.
 1928 Conference
  by Faculty of Teachers in Commerce England (1928)
 1938 Conference


Effective Teaching Techniques

 0871 288 6935