It is interesting to note career college Sprott-Shaw's move to new quarters on Sixth Street.
This company, that began in Vancouver in 1903, has been in a number of locations in this city over the years. During our recent research into the Westminster (Trust) Building for its 100th anniversary, we identified one of its earliest sites.
The story is of the Westminster Business School Ltd., noted as having done "excellent educational work" for 17 years, having started as a branch of Sprott-Shaw in 1909.
The 1926 newspaper article in the Vancouver Evening Sun reported that they did so well in their business that they needed more space, hence their "commodious quarters capable of accommodating a large number of students" in the Trust Block.
A cursory look at the business shows that they were in the 600 block of Columbia Street as of 1920, but then moved to the Westminster Trust Block. That block, opened in 1912, was a prestigious address that was able to attract and accommodate a variety of businesses.
The Westminster Business School apparently offered two specific "straight commercial courses" - one being "bookkeeping, business and arithmetic, business law, letter writing, etc." and another that included "stenography, shorthand, office filing, etc."
The school had an unusual policy regarding these courses: "The policy of the school is to give the two courses where it is deemed necessary, and, though this is not often done in other institutions, it has been found of great service to some of the students." It was essential for students to master the appropriate "tools" while enrolled at the school, and it was noted that, "new equipment has recently been installed in the rooms, the students thus having the benefit of first-class typewriters, etc. to use in their studies".
One of the aspects of such schools over the years has been the opportunity to get a job following graduation or if not that, at least some practical experience. The article noted that "frequent calls are made from business men for help, and it is often within the power of the principal to supply just the right kind of assistance needed in the person of one of the students or ex-students."
And who was that principal? Well with this information we add yet another connection within this story.
The principal was A. E. Etherington, who had come to B.C. to join the staff of Columbian College, the Methodist school with long-standing local ties.
The college has been noted frequently in our programming as being on First Street facing Queen's Park (College Court marks the spot). Now we know that Mr. Etherington in 1926 was teaching, not only at the Westminster Business School, but also teaching as part of the staff of the Columbian College up the hill.
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