JOHN DAWSON (President)

John serves as Social Secretary within the IPS Council and over several years has organised IPS lunches and dinners, outings to the theatre and concerts and other events for IPS members, their families and friends. John has given talks at the IPS relating to the influence of shorthand on his career and his travels to meet other IPS members in New Zealand, Wales and other parts of the world. He has contributed various articles to the IPS Journal and for many years has given dictation and taught shorthand to a wide range of people at the Bishopsgate Institute, firstly on Monday and then on Thursday evenings until we went online on Monday evenings.

John is a graduate in Commerce and has worked in Paris and Geneva with the OECD and the United Nations, initially as a Shorthand-typist and as a Secretary, Accounts Assistant and Economic Research Assistant.

John came to London to work in the Civil Service in August 1985 and, apart from working in Strasbourg, France with the Council of Europe and Solihull for a total of about 2 years, has lived and worked in London ever since.

John has worked for Members of Parliament for more than 10 years and is currently Senior Caseworker for Nickie Aiken MP for the Cities of London and Westminster.  John previously worked as Constituency Support Manager for The Right Honourable Sir Oliver Letwin who stood down as Member of Parliament for West Dorset at the December 2019 General Election.  John, like Patrick Kinna, who was Winston Churchill’s Secretary and Assistant during the Second World War, is a quick, accurate and efficient Pitman shorthand writer and typist. It is, therefore, clear that the demand for quick and accurate shorthand writers in Parliament is as strong now as it was more than 70 years ago.

As you see from the title, John is now our President.


I started in the Civil Service at the age of 16 as a Shorthand-Typist, was promoted to Personal Secretary two years later, served the next 21 years in that position, then took promotion to Executive Officer. I spent seven and a half years in that grade, before my final promotion to Higher Executive Officer in which I spent the last 11 and a half years of my working life. I owe that career to Sir Isaac’s invention – I used my Pitman’s shorthand all the way through in one capacity and another, and I use it still.

In short, one Council member spent 42 years in the Civil Service rising from junior Shorthand typist to Higher Executive Officer.


Began work in 1962 as a junior Shorthand-Typist, rising to be a Secretary and then a verbatim court reporter.  Mary re-trained on to the Stenograph shorthand machine in 1988 and has been teaching stenography realtime for over 30  years, mainly for Speech-to-Text Reporters to aid people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Mary has been interviewed for BBC Radio 4 – Fry’s English Delight, Series 3, The Trial of Qwerty; by Charlie Cooper of The Independent, in March 2012 for his article on stenographers being removed from Crown Courts and more recently by Michael Rosen for Radio 4’s Word of Mouth series – airing on 1 January 2013.

As well as being Chair of the IPS, Mary is Secretary and Treasurer of the BIVR (The British Institute of Verbatim Reporters) –, and a member and Treasurer of AVSTTR (Association of Verbatim Speech to Text Reporters) – and has her own website ( which has details of her stenography realtime training programme.

Mary is also a Trustee of the United Kingdom Council on Deafness UKCoD – – her second three-year term ending in November 2021.

RICHARD WARD (former President)

Richard has been involved with shorthand for 30 years. Initially being taught Pitman 2000 shorthand, he subsequently taught himself the more advanced system of Pitman New Era, where he reached speeds up to 180 words per minute.

Although Richard has had a varied career, including secretarial work, and IT support roles, Richard has constantly maintained his shorthand skill, and became a Fellow of the Incorporated Phonographic Society for the past 20 years. The Incorporated Phonographic Society is the oldest shorthand society in the world. In 2006, Richard was installed as  the President of the Society, and has maintained this role ever since.

As Teeline became more popular, Richard decided to teach himself this shorthand system, and took up a teaching position with Pitman Training, teaching IT skills as well as shorthand. During this time, he has taught shorthand at several of the major universities in and around London (City, Westminster and Brunel), as well as several newspapers, including the Financial Times and the Telegraph. He also taught at the Football Association and Bloomberg, and other corporate institutions, teaching shorthand to journalism and secretarial/administration students

Richard is now a freelance tutor and has several contracts, and still continues to work with Pitman and several other institutions.

Richard resigned as President at the AGM in 2019 as his work commitments became too great to continue.


Eileen – now retired – has worked as a Shorthand Typist/Private Secretary since the age of 16.  Fields of employment included scientific and medical research, education, local government and arbitration. She has used shorthand – Pitman New Era – continuously for the last 50 years.


My association with machine shorthand started when I took a course to learn Stenography when the courts were changing from pen and ink shorthand to machine shorthand this led to me working in several court centres in and around London as a trainee court reporter taking a note of court proceedings.


In her mid-twenties Pat O’Neill undertook a secretarial course.  After the firm where she was employed closed she worked for many years as a “temp”.  Later she worked for a number of years as a legal secretary though her last full-time job before retirement was data-entry in a museum, using her considerable typewriting and computer skills.  Not all Pat’s jobs involved extensive use of shorthand though some did and she has maintained an interest in the skill over the years and attends the IPS’s on-line dictation sessions.  Now retired she does some part-time audio-typing from home and from time to time has taken shorthand minutes of meetings.


Hailing from North Wales and having graduated with a BA (Hons.) in History from the University of Wales Aberystwyth, David moved to London in 1997 to train to become a stenographer, using CAT (Computer Aided Transcription).     Initially working for Newgate Reporters, David gained vast experience working in the Crown Courts in London.  As court reporters were phased out of the Crown Court system to make way for digital recording, David went freelance and began to cover arbitrations, depositions, tribunals and disciplinary hearings and the like, which he continues to do to this day.  He has travelled extensively the length and breadth of the country and his work has also taken him to many European countries.    David has been on the IPS Council since 2000.