Friday, December 05, 2014

On The Difficulties Of Methodism, Socialism And Sensationalism

From The Huddersfield Chronicle : 1 December 1900

THE HUDDERSFIELD AND DISTRICT SHORTHAND WRITERS' ASSOCIATION - The weekly meeting of the above was held in the Y.M.C.A. rooms on Friday evening last, Miss Haigh presiding. Speed practice was conducted by Mr. T.C. Brown, at various rates. He also gave blackboard illustrations of difficult outlines. Miss Haigh then called upon Mr Briggs to deliver his paper on "Isms", which proved very interesting and instructive. The lecturer dwelt briefly upon such "isms" as Methodism, Congregationalism, Socialism and sensationalism. Discussion was then invited, after which votes of thanks were passed to Miss Haigh for presiding and to Mr Briggs for his excellent paper"

One tends to forget how innovative shorthand writing was at the turn of the twentieth century. The ability to compress cumbersome words into the briefest of squiggles was a skill somewhat akin to the attainment of computer literacy one hundred years later. From the lofty perspective of 114 years of history we can look back at Miss Haigh presiding and Mr Brown conducting those ever-popular speed tests. But most of all, one would want to hear Mr Briggs's excellent paper on the difficulties of Methodism, Congregationalism, Socialism and sensationalism. One can only hope that some fascinated listener took detailed shorthand notes of the presentation and it is waiting in some archive to be rediscovered.

Bentley and Shaw's brewery at Lockwood just outside Huddersfield was one of the most famous West Yorkshire breweries of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Founded in 1795 and connected to the Bentley family which seems to have sprouted breweries with a degree of abandon that would depress an entire temperance meeting, the brewery was particularly famed for its Town Bitter and Town Major Brown Ale. When the British brewing industry entered the dark ages during the 1960s, brewing at Lockwood ceased and the firm became part of Hammonds United Breweries. All traces of it are now long gone, but the renaissance of brewing in the town has replaced it with many other establishments, all of which can supply ales and porter "in splendid condition and available in casks of all sizes".


  1. Okay, so what, pray tell, is the squiggle at the end of the post? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Ah, Roy, you will all just have to guess - other than my friend Elaine, a gifted shorthand expert, who will instantly recognise it.

    2. I think I know too. Oh my GOD! But it depends on if it was the "version" of shorthand I learned...different schools used different symbols.

  2. I wonder how he connected all of those "isms". I never studied shorthand so I am oblivious to the meaning of the symbol.