As we continue to celebrate our 120th Anniversary this year, we have been remembering the important people and places in Sprott Shaw’s history. James Beatty, born in 1890, was from Frankford, Ontario. He moved to Vancouver in 1906 and was hired as the Assistant Manager of the Sprott-Shaw Business Institute, as it was called at the time. In 1913 he helped open the Victoria campus and continued as a teacher and the Campus Manager, only retiring in 1963 at the age of 73.
The Victoria campus was located on the corner of Fort and Broad streets, on the fourth floor of what was called the Pemberton Building. It featured 12 large classrooms. You could be taught the latest technology of the time, including the Burroughs Adding Machine, the Dictaphone, the Gammeter Multigraph, and the Roneo Duplicator. The Stenographic Department contained 37 of the most popular typewriters.
During the First and Second World Wars, under Mr. Beatty’s management, Sprott Shaw College trained hundreds of radio operators for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Merchant Marine. The college also survived the Great Depression, providing high-quality training to help students start new careers during a difficult period of our history.
Mr. Beatty was a past president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and held many offices in the Victoria Rotary Club. He belonged to the Gizeh Shrine of Victoria (now called the Gizeh Shriners) and served the province of British Columbia as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the City of Victoria from 1928 until 1933. As a member of the legislature, Mr. Beatty was active with the private bills committee and campaigned vigorously for civic improvements.
In his younger years, he played basketball with his students at Sprott Shaw and was known for his musical ability as a cornet player.
Mr. Beatty passed away in Victoria in 1966 at the age of 75.