Why Britain Made a Change to Vertical Handwriting

Dilemmas of an Expat Tutor

Examining older samples of British writing (1800s, and much of the pre-WWII writing), the British handwriting of that time was slanted to the right (as were cursive scripts in most European countries).  Now, most British writing is vertical.  How and when did this change come about?

Reading this 1925 letter written by A. N. Palmer, developer of the Palmer Method of handwriting, the actual preferred slant used to be a very precise 52°.  Mention of the precise 52° angle is also made in this 1893 article (see p. 87 at this link)  which argues for an introduction of vertical, unslanted writing.  Today, an ideal slant is considered to be between 60° and 75°.

In Britain, in the early 1890’s, Professor John Jackson introduced vertical writing, which he felt had superior legibility, and was easier for students to learn.  Examiners began to require it in all branches of…

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