The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th February 1957, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Better pay lures them from classes
The ease with which young people today can earn big wages as soon as they leave school - without having to acquire additional qualifications - was put forward this week as the reason for a drastic falling-off in the number of young people locally taking shorthand classes.
The Rushden and Higham Ferrers Evening Institute class which for more than thirty years has been taken by Mr. Horace Waring, has closed down owing to lack of numbers - although it was only recently that one of the pupils set up a new speed record for the class by passing an exam at 160 words a minute.
Asked why he thought that the young people were not supporting the class, Mr. Waring said that, although no blame attached to anybody, youngsters could not be bothered to spend their evenings learning shorthand, when they could get as much money in other jobs.
Mr. Waring, who served under three principals in the Institute - the late Mr. L. Perkins, Mr. W. A. E. Sherwood and Mr. N. Lamford - recalled that the class had been going more than thirty years. Between the wars, he said, they had had good earnest students who really wanted to get on and even during the war the classes had kept going.
Shortage of students at the beginning of this session had meant cutting out one evening a week in the hope that enough students would support the remaining lesson, but the effort had failed.
Mr. Waring's views were supported by a private teacher Miss E. L. Fyfield, of Grove Road, Rushden, who said that young people today were not prepared to take shorthand seriously.
Additional support came from Mr. J. H. Chapman, secretary of W. W. Chamberlain (Associated Companies) Ltd., who said that there was still a need for the right type of girl, with knowledge of shorthand and typing.
These girls had to work with top executives of the companies. Sometimes a letter would be dictated straight to them; on other occasions they would be given some notes and would go away and sort them out and write the letter.
There was more scope than in many other jobs, and an essential part of the training was shorthand and typing, but shorthand was an art and young girls these days would say: "Why should I spend the evening learning shorthand?"
The trouble was that it was so much easier to get more money doing other jobs.