Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Harland, John

HARLAND, JOHN (1806–1868), reporter and antiquary, was born at Hull in 1806. He learned the trade of a letter-press printer, but, having taught himself shorthand, effected such improvements in the art, then far from its present perfection, as to become the most expert shorthand writer in the kingdom. A report in 1830 of a sermon by the Rev. J. G. Robberds led to his name being mentioned to John Edward Taylor [q. v.], of the 'Manchester Guardian,' who travelled to Hull to secure his services. Harland soon placed the 'Guardian' at the head of the provincial press in the department of reporting, and exhibited remarkable endurance in the pursuit of his profession, undertaking long journeys, and writing out the notes of the day in the stage-coach. He presided over the reporting staff of the 'Guardian' until 1860, when he retired, owing to lameness brought on by indisposition. He had for many years previously taken a leading rank among Lancashire antiquaries, and the leisure he had now obtained redoubled his exertions. Within thirteen years he edited fourteen volumes for the Chetham Society, and published independently collections of 'Lancashire Lyrics' and 'Lancashire Ballads,' and, in conjunction with Mr. Wilkinson of Burnley, 'Lancashire Folklore.' He also wrote the history of Sawley Abbey, near Clitheroe, Yorkshire, and was engaged upon an improved edition of Baines's 'Lancashire' at the time of his death, which took place at Manchester on 23 April 1868.

[Manchester Guardian, 25 April 1868.]

R. G.