101 Things Brum Gave The World. No 9. Handwriting

Do you do little loops at the bottom of your y’s, do you draw little hearts over the top of your i’s? Do you, when actually pressed to use a pen at all after years of typing and texting, get all flummoxed and end up using block capitals so at least people have a fighting chance of understanding you? Well, you’ll never guess, Birmingham is responsible for that.

Y’see back in the 19th century people used quills for writing, it was a splodgy, blotty, ink-stained business. You had to be skilled and neat, you couldn’t develop your own style very much. But then John Mitchell. down in Newall Street, pioneered mass production of steel pens and suddenly writing just became a bit easier.

Soon thousands of people and dozens of companies were using Birmingham to make pens of different sizes and quality and the city gave easy communication to the world. And that lasted until a few years ago, because loads of us just don’t pick up a pen very often any more—and even the prime minister uses text speak. LOL.

Lots of love.

By Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.

Posted in 101 Things Brum Gave The World