120th Anniversary of Isaac Pitman’s Death
This Sunday, it will be 120 years since the death of Sir Isaac Pitman, inventor of the globally renowned system of shorthand that carries his name and head of the world’s first remote learning course. His novel form of quick, phonetic writing gave transcribers, note-takers, interviewers, and journalists everywhere the ability to write faster than they ever had before. This increased the speed at which at which they could do their jobs and totally modernised the media and legal systems worldwide as well as many administrative jobs. In turn, this would earn him a knighthood in 1894 as well as a place in history after his death in 1897.
Meanwhile, his original and practical new form of remote learning went from strength to strength, evolving to become the exemplar for modern remote learning. It was in Barton-upon-Humber where the great man’s teaching ability was first cultivated though, as he became the first Master of the Barton Free Charity School at the tender age of 19 earning £70 a year. The building now bears a plaque in memory of him and the school.
Isaac married Mary Holgate, a widow, in 1835 and lived for a short time at Laurel House on Whitecross Street before moving to Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire a year later.
He was respected in the town for the same reasons that he would come to be revered in later life because he was a gifted educator and a dedicated innovator who worked hard for what he believed in. Sir Isaac’s memorial plaque in Bath Abbey sums him up perfectly: “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”