What did Pitman speak like?

Well, strangely enough, I now know. Driving back from work last week I found myself switching stations to Radio 4 when I heard an extremely unusual voice. It sounded unlike any accent I had heard before – west country, perhaps, with an American twang.

Now you can imagine my shock on learning that the voice I had just heard was a never-before-played-on-radio wax tube recording of Sir Isaac Pitman. The recording was of a message he had sent to a meeting of a phonographic society in the US which had been unable to attend.

The programme on which this appeared was Word of Mouth, presented by Michael Rosen. The entire programme was about shorthand and its uses. It can be accessed, though only for the next seven days, here. Enjoy, it is a real treat.

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