Alan Davies memories of James Hill

The First Warden of Laindon High Road School Youth Centre

James Hill was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1908. He came to Laindon in 1949/50 as the first Director of the newly established Youth Centre situated in the Laindon High Road School. The family, a wife, son, and two daughters  lived in 2 King Edward Road. His son George was my very close friend.

Before moving to Laindon, James Hill was a teacher of Pittman shorthand. At this time Pittman dominated in the UK while Gregg dominated in the USA.

Recognising that becoming proficient in Pittman often took well over two years of study, as it did with Gregg, James Hill set about trying to invent a form of shorthand that could be learnt in a short period of time and yet match the speeds of Pittman and Gregg.

After fifteen years or more of refinement and improvement, in 1966 James Hill finally launched Tee line. Initially Tee line was aimed at journalists and the big break through came when Thomson Newspapers mandated its use by their reporters.

James Hill died in 1971 but not before proving that Tee line was capable of 150 words a minute and, more importantly could be taught and used in literally two or three weeks rather than the two years demanded by Pittman.

James Hill’s son George made the marketing and promotion of Tee line his career. From the initial base of journalists, George worked hard to get it accepted into virtually every school district in the country. Over the years Tee line grew until it overtook Pittman and today is the most widely taught and used shorthand system in the country.

Today, George is retired and has passed on the running of Tee line to his daughter Sheila. The third generation. George and his wife Nan live in Cardiff. Cardiff was the centre of Thomson Newspapers training centre for its reporters.

James Hill—— a Laindon Notable.

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