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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

The Pelman Schools, The Pelman Institute and Pelmanism

Portrait by Seymour Lucas Your Mind & How to Use It Boxed set Hard cover Pelman Mind & Memory Training book Hard cover Pelmanism book The Efficient Mind booklet Pelman Institute Certificate

 

| 1. Introduction | 2. What was Pelmanism? | 3. What Pelmanism taught | 4. W. J. Ennever's early career | 5. Pelmanism's origins | 6. The Pelman Schools Limited 1905-1920 | 7. The Pelman Schools memory training courses | 8. The Pelman Schools and early Pelmanism advertising 1899-1919 | 9. The Pelman Institute Limited 1920-1928 | 10. The Pelman Institute memory training courses (Pelmanism) | 11. The Pelman Institute Limited 1928-1940 | 12. The Pelman Institute (Pelmanism) advertising 1920-1940 | 13. The Pelman Institute post 1940 | 14. The Pelman Institute advertising 1940-1979 | 15. The Pelman Languages Institute Limited | 16. The Pelman Languages Institute courses | 17. The Pelman Languages Institute advertising | 18. The Pelman Institute of America 1904-1920s | 19. The Pelman Institute of America advertising 1903-1920s | 20. Conflicts of interest and other questions | 21. Pelmanism and Health Culture | 22. Pelmanalysis (Pelman Institute Vocational Guidance Bureau) | 23. The Institute of Personology | 24. The Ennever Foundation and W.J. Ennever's courses | 25. The Institute of Personology, The Ennever Foundation and W.J. Ennever's advertising | 26. The Pelman Institute buildings | 27. The Pelman Institute International Offices | 28. Testimonials for Pelmanism (UK) | 29. Testimonials for Pelmanism (USA and others) | 30. Pelmanism, the card game | 31. Bellmanism (Mind-Minus-Memory) | 32. Punch cartoon featuring "The Little Grey Books" | 33. Pelmanism and the Scout Movement | 34. Pelmanism today | Sources |

 

1. Introduction

Definition of Pelmanism. Oxford English Dictionary.
Definition of Pelmanism

Pelmanism is the system of scientifically training the mind credited to William Joseph Ennever.  He is described in the "New Century Cyclopaedia of Names" Vol 2. as the "English journalist who originated the mnemonic training system known as Pelmanism."  Click here for more details of his personal life.

"Whilst many thousands have perceived the gigantic flaws in our intellectual fabric, one man began long ago to re-design the building", said Sir Max Pemberton, a popular British novelist, in his introduction to the advertising booklet "The Efficient Mind".  He was referring to W. J. Ennever who, with others working with him, set out to develop the system.  His idea was to develop both the intellect and character of the individual and it was an idea that achieved immense success with huge audiences around the world.  

2. What was Pelmanism?     Show details

From an advertisement in "The Pools of Silence" by H de Vere Stacpoole published in 1919.
What is Pelmanism?

Pelmanism was advertised as a system of scientific mental training which strengthened and developed your mind just as physical training strengthened your body.  It was developed to expand "Mental Powers in every direction" and "remove those tendencies to indolence and inefficiency" and was a development of earlier memory training systems.

Amongst the defects and weaknesses claimed to be "rapidly and permanently banished by Pelmanism" were:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Brain Fag
  • Inertia
  • Weakness of Will
  • Want of Energy
  • Lack of Ideas
  • Indefiniteness
  • Indecision
  • Moodiness
  • Mind-Wandering
  • Shyness and Diffidence
  • Lack of Confidence
  • Unnecessary Fears & Phobias
  • Lack of System
  • Procrastination
  • Mental Stagnation

And besides banishing these failings, Pelmanism "makes and keeps your brain keen, fresh, vigilant and self-reliant, and develops such valuable positive qualities" as:

  • Concentration
  • Observation
  • Perception
  • Judgment (sic)
  • Initiative
  • Creative Imagination
  • Optimism
  • Strength of Will
  • Decisiveness
  • Originality
  • Resourcefulness
  • Mental Energy
  • Organising Power
  • Salesmanship
  • Reliability
  • Self-Confidence
  • Directive Ability
  • Driving Power
  • Cheerfulness
  • Moral Courage
  • Ambition
  • Self-Control
  • Social Charm and Tact
  • Conversational Ability
  • Speaking & Debating Power
  • Lecturing Ability
  • Preaching Ability
  • Personal Magnetism
  • The Power of Thinking Constructively
  • Presence of Mind
  • Reliable Memory

Or, as the advertising booklets "The Efficient Mind" (below. left) and "The Science of Success" (below, right) put it:

10 reasonsPelmanism and Happiness

In reality, Pelmanism was more a mixture of perceived common sense and some early practical psychology which found a willing mass audience of people looking for something beyond memory techniques.

3. What Pelmanism taught     Show details

  • The ability to learn and remember
  • The ability to apply the knowledge thus gained
  • The ability to reflect, to perceive, to compare, to judge and to decide
  • The elimination of harmful habits
  • The cure of mental weakness
  • The development of latent powers
  • The exercise of will-power
  • The formation and development of character
  • The full development and intelligent direction of your personality

In a sentence, it was claimed that the Pelman Course gives you "a balanced, practical, highly trained and efficient mind".

4. W. J. Ennever's early career     Show details

William Joseph Ennever
1869-1947
William Joseph Ennever
We have only limited verifiable information about W. J. Ennever's early career but we do know he was a "Journalist Author" at the time of the 1891 census when he was living in digs at 103 Islep Street, St Pancras, London. He is again recorded as a journalist on his marriage in 1895, aged 26.

As the eldest son he would have been expected to have followed in his father's footsteps as a Pianoforte manufacturer but instead he "ran away to sea" for three years. Whether this was to travel to the USA we cannot be sure but when he travelled to Boston in 1902 he was recorded as having previously been in New York in 1884, although he would have been only 15 at the time.

He is recorded as taking over The London Correspondence College from T. P. O'Connor in 1909, although he was heavily involved in The Pelman School by this time. O'Connor had founded the ½d London newspaper the "Star" in 1888, revolutionising journalism by giving news stories a human interest and cutting them up into digestible pieces, a major diversion from the accepted style of the time. He was to feature in Ennever's business life for several decades to come.

Ennever was apparently the majority shareholder in the College and was to hand over the reins to a minority shareholder, the novelist Max Pemberton, who also was to have long-lasting links to both Ennever and Pelmanism. Ennever's deputy at the College at the time was Neil MacLaren, who become a director of The Pelman Institute in about 1917. Pemberton renamed the College the London School of Journalism whose students, like those of Pelman Schools, received their lessons in printed instalments.

Ennever's father, also William Joseph Ennever, died in 1917 leaving an estate of £357 to his widow, Teresa Ann nee Sherrott. Teresa died in 1930 leaving her estate to her son, William Joseph Ennever, in the amount of £954. The probable source of finance for William Joseph Ennever to have bought into the London Correspondence College would have been the cash he received from the Pelman Schools share issue in 1905.

5. Pelmanism's origins     Show details

"What's Who? - A dictionary of things named after people"
CLP booklets
A large amount of information has now been found to confirm the true origins of Pelmanism and The Pelman Institute but some of the available evidence is conflicting.  In his foreword to W J Ennever's book "Your Mind and How to Use it" his long-standing friend and colleague T Sharper Knowlson writes that "then came a request from Professor Loisette, who was undertaking a popular course in memory training, to undertake its management" while the Oxford English Dictionary states that the Institute was founded by Christopher Louis Pelman, a British psychologist, in 1899, and this is supported by "What's Who? - A dictionary of things named after people". In later years Ennever is universally credited with founding the Institute and by inference, the course itself.

It now seems virtually certain that the request from Loisette and Pelman's origins are not quite as these publications suggest.

As John Karp writes in his excellent biography, Ennever hints at these origins, although never mentioning Loisette or Pelman by name: "I realised, however, that the training of the mind was a practical possibility; and, in conjunction with some of the ablest psychologists of the time, I brought out the first modest system of mind and memory training".    John also wrote that "Unfortunately there are no reliable sources on Christopher Louis Pelman himself, and his fate remains unknown".

Left: WJ Ennever's course Right: Christopher Louis Pelman's course
CLP booklets

Since John's biography was written we have discovered evidence that Christopher Louis Pelman was indeed the person responsible for the first version of the Pelman memory training course with the exciting find of a set of booklets of "Memory Training.  It's Laws and their Application to Practical Life" (see images below).  The booklets are undated but are believed to date from the late 1890s/very early 1900s. The direct connection between Christopher Louis Pelman and W J Ennever can be traced back to 1901 as the address on Pelman's booklets, "The School of Memory Training", 70 Berners Street, London is the address where Ennever's wife, Mary Margaret, was living at the time. Pelman Schools documents from 1905 state that The English Pelman School was established in London in October 1899. It also records that Pelman courses were already available in English, French, German, Russian, Italian and Dutch languages.

There are striking similarities between Pelman's original material and later courses in that they both contain the "Knight puzzle" where you are challenged to move a knight on a chessboard so that it visits every square only once.  The fact that the early Pelman booklets are earlier instruction courses that helped to formulate Pelmanism throws into some doubt the claims by Sharper Knowlson that Professor Loisette, an American, was the instigator of the course that was to become Pelmanism.

It seemed that Pelman was an American as, despite exhaustive searches, no record other than the address on his booklets had been found for him in England while references existed to a Christopher Louis Pelman an American "Memory teacher" and to a Pelman School of Chicago.  These can be found in the US Library of Congress Online Catalog where he is credited with writing "Memory Training", presumably the same work as mentioned above, and "The natural way of learning a language" c1903, a subject he included in those early memory training booklets.  Pelman's complex use of the English language in his training material also pointed in the direction of him being a native English speaker.

Professor Loisette, while having been very successful in his day, is now largely believed to have plagiarised much of his material and his name Loisette, was itself an alias.  He was born Marcus Dwight Larrowe in the USA and is also known as Silas Holmes.  Further analysis of the Pelman booklets and the work of Loisette supports the view that one was plagiarising the work of the other.   Both men's work originates in memory training and both claim to have developed systems to help to improve memory.  Pelman's earliest known work is the set of 5 booklets while at a similar time, Loisette published his principal work "Assimilative Memory" in New York in 1896.  

Christopher Louis Pelman's "Figure Alphabet"
Christopher Louis Pelman's "Figure Alphabet"
Prof. A Loisette's "Figure Alphabet"
Prof. A Loisette's "Figure Alphabet"

Both works contain "Figure Alphabets" as a means of memorising dates or numbers by converting them to words or phrases using consonants.  As a simple example, "Enemies" would represent 230.

While "Figure Alphabets" have been in existence for several centuries a cursory glance is all that is required to see that both the figure alphabets and their supporting text are virtually identical. In support of his choice of the letter "S" to represent "0" Pelman wrote "A small written s has some similarity with the figure 0; also if the capital letter S were cut into two parts and the bottom half attached to the top half it would make a nought (0)." Loisette argued "If the capital letter S were cut into two parts, and the bottom half attached to the top half, it would make a nought (0).  So it is easy to remember that S represents 0." 

"Memory and Success"A Loisette 37 New Oxford Street, London W (British Phone Books advertisement 1886)
"Memory and Success"A Loisette 37 New Oxford Street, London W (British Phone Books advertisement 1866)

Professor Loisette arrived in England in 1874 and was in London from 1879 at the latest until 1888 as he is recorded as living and working at both 44 Newman Street, advertising himself as a French teacher and later at 37 New Oxford Street as a "Memory and Success" Professor.  We also know, from his early booklets, that Pelman was in London in the late 1890s less than half a mile away in Berners Street.  The 37 New Oxford Street address is only a few yards away from 4 Bloomsbury Street, the headquarters of The Pelman School (and later The Pelman Institute) and it was from this address that Loisette was advertising his "Memory and Success", seemingly an almost identical offering to that of The Pelman Institute.  It is of course inconceivable that the two men, living and working within a few hundred yards of each other, would have created virtually identical offerings in isolation.  A natural assumption to make, therefore, is that the two had known each other, and William Joseph Ennever, and had collaborated at some stage.  Although there are no known references to Christopher Louis Pelman in the UK before 1891, he would have been there before 1888, the last known year that Loisette was in London.   The later view of experts on early psychology that Loisette had plagiarised much of his work suggests that this may have occurred while he was in London and that it was Pelman's work that was his principal source.

C L Pelman in his study. The Review of reviews by William Thomas Stead (v25 1902). Source: Google books
C L Pelman in his study. The Review of reviews by William Thomas Stead (v25 1902)

Loisette returned to the USA in the late 1880s/early 1890s and published his best known work with no reference to Pelman.  He may have further developed Pelman's work, or had access to material that Pelman was working on but had not yet published, enabling him to complete his own book prior to its publication in 1896. He had maintained his residence in New Oxford Street through the first half of the 1890s, advertising as a memory teacher in city directories. His death occurred in 1896 in San Francisco while his address was still given as 37 New Oxford Street. Probate was recorded in England in the name of Marcus Dwight Larrowe.

Wake up and mend! A word for memory culture. The Review of reviews by William Thomas Stead (v25 1902). Source: Google books
C L Pelman in his study. The Review of reviews by William Thomas Stead (v25 1902)

There are no verifiable references to Ennever & Pelman working together in the USA and so it is unclear whether Pelman was working on his own account when he returned to the USA.  A partnership had existed with Ennever before they formed Pelman Schools as a copy of the US version of Pelman's "Memory Training" booklets shown below includes a copyright notice in the name of W. J. Ennever and is dated 1903.  The earliest known advertisement for the Chicago-based "Pelman School of Memory Training" was also in 1903 and although Ennever is thought to have previously travelled to the USA in 1884 we know he travelled to Boston in June 1902 and in October 1903 when he gave his final destination as Chicago, clearly suggesting he would be meeting Pelman to further develop their business interests in America. When The Pelman Schools Limited was formed in 1905 it took over the existing business in New York while there is no mention of Chicago. Pelman was living at 4 Bloomsbury Street, London, the home of Pelman Schools from 1905 to 1910 suggesting that the Chicago School had closed in about 1904.

William Joseph Ennever himself had little to say about the Institute's origins, except when interviewed for The Times in 1922.  This is what Ennever had to say in the article "The Biography of an Idea" : 

"Pelmanism is not the result of a sudden inspiration, but rather the fruit of gradual evolution.  Nearly twenty-five years of slow and careful experimental work has gone into the upbuilding of the Pelman System. 

The idea, as it existed in my mind at the first, was in a more or less nebulous form.  When I started the Pelman 'School' (as it was originally called) somewhere in the early nineties, I cannot say that I had definitely formulated the idea of Pelmanism as it exists today.  It would be manifestly absurd to do so, because the Pelman system represents the response to a demand of the nature and extent of which I only vaguely guessed the existence twenty-five years ago."

It's only a short comment, but it's one of the only glimpses Ennever ever gave about the origins of the Institute, then a memory training school.

The Times 20th March 1906
The Pelman-Foster System
Memory Training. The Pelman-Foster System

The Pelman School of Memory, as confirmed in the above newspaper interview, was the fore-runner of The Pelmanism Institute and the origin of at least one of its innovations. While correspondence courses were apparently known in the USA the Pelman School was possibly the first to use the technique in the UK.  Their course for memory training is recorded in the form of "The Secret of Certainty in Recollection. The Pelman-Foster System", a book of five correspondence lessons dating from c1905.  Each lesson was accompanied by an "Examination Sheet" for completion and return to the school but no examples of these early sheets have yet been found.  These five lessons are a later version of the "Memory Training" booklets pictured below.

In a later publication, "Your Mind and How to Use It" (1958) Thomas Sharper Knowlson writes that in 1900 he was asked to become the Director of Instruction and Editor-in-Chief of Ennever's Pelman Course.  In the 1901 census he can be found living in Streatham with his wife, Lily, and young son and his occupation is listed as "Secretary of College (&) Journalist". 

A Times newspaper advertisement of March 1906 identifies a Mr R F Foster as "the author" of the system and the Pelman School of Memory invited participation in classes to be held by Mr Foster to teach his method of memory training.  Robert Frederick Foster was the author of Foster's Complete Hoyle (the authoritative work on card games) and the disseminator of the rules of many card games, including auction bridge and other bridge variations, the Salvadoran conquian and whist.  WJ Ennever's name does not appear in the advertising or documents of the time and therefore suggests that his role in the venture was as the school manager rather than a major contributor to the course content. Foster was confirmed as the owner of his own memory training course and sold the complete rights to the newly formed Pelman Schools Limited in 1905.

Foster is believed to have been born in Scotland in 1853 and had emigrated to the USA at an early age and he is also credited in "Who's who among North American authors" as the co-author of the system.  Foster died in 1945, aged 92.  Interestingly, the 1888 book "Loisette" exposed (Marcus Dwight Larrowe, alias Silas Holmes, alias Alphonse Loisette) reveals that RF Foster had worked as Loisette's business manager from 1877-78, before quitting and denouncing him as "a fraud and a humbug".   "Loisette" exposed goes into a frenzy of name-dropping to show the purity of Foster's motives.

"Loisette" exposed (Marcus Dwight Larrowe, alias Silas Holmes, alias Alphonse Loisette) (1888)
'Loisette' exposed (Marcus Dwight Larrowe, alias Silas Holmes, alias Alphonse Loisette) (1888)
"Mr. Foster is a native of Edinburgh, Scotland and is connected with some of the best families in Great Britain. Lord Kinloch, for many years Lord Provost of Scotland, was his first cousin, and he numbers among his immediate relatives the Bishop of Kildare, the Rev. Dr. Moody Stewart, and the Sandfords, of whom Sir Herbert is well known in America, having been British Commissioner to our Centennial in 1870. Knowing these facts, it was not surprising, on meeting Mr. Foster, to find that he was thoroughly ashamed of ever having had any connection with Loisette".
My "Little Bit" by Marie Corelli c1919
My 'Little Bit' by Marie Corelli c1919

As Ray Girvan said in his blog (no longer available online) "It's still a trifle suspicious to quit working for someone you think a charlatan, then immediately go into the same line of business with closely similar instruction texts".

Pelman had given his address as both London and Munich in the early Pelman Schools list of directors and Marie Corelli's book My "Little Bit" published in about 1919 re-affirms that Pelman was of German origin.  Corelli takes a sharp dig at Pelmanism, telling how she was offered, and refused, 50 guineas to write a promotional piece and asserts that Pelman was originally known as Poehlmann.

"It is but the other day that I was assured "on the highest authority" (as the bewildered press reporters at the Peace Conference have expressed it) that "Pelman" was originally spelt "Poehlmann,".

In a hand-written 1918 letter to Arthur Lawrence, who was granted a rare interview with her in 1898 for 'The Strand' magazine, she had gone even further, writing scathily:

Dear Arthur Lawrence, I'm sorry you're driving your pen in the Pelman cause! - Nothing 'mechanical' will ever make a brain or 'national efficiency'! Science will tell you that as the cells are set in the brain, so is the capability of the man - and if the man drinks or smokes to excess he and his children too will be of the inefficient character just now 'distinguishing' our statesmen 'of light and leaning' - while universal practices are still more paralysing - and no 'Pelman' will help. No! I cannot help you in this big "ad" of Pelman - in my opinion it's quite a pitiable business. I should like to see you at better work. There! Marie Corelli

Pelman (or Poehlmann) was, as a student, interested in psychology and states that he completed his education in England. 

Chr. L. Poehlmann c1917 as shown in booklet 10 (see below)
Chr. L. Poehlmann c1917 as shown in booklet 10
"Prof. Poehlmann came from a humble background. His parents were German. He was born in the second half of the 19th century. His interest in psychology goes back to his student days. He finished his studies in philosophy and psychology in England. After having made known his ideas in books and other publications, he founded an institute with John W. Ennever in London in 1900. Later the teachers and psychologists Dr. H. Thorp and S. Sharper Knowlsen (sic) joined them. Spreading his system for memory training was the goal of the institute".
Poehlmann's Geistes-Schulung und-Pflege (Poehlmann's spiritual training and care) booklets 1-5
Poehlmann's intellectual training and comprehensive care

Christoph or Christof Ludwig Poehlmann (or Pöhlmann) was in fact the author of numerous German-language books and guides on memory and concentration.  While he also wrote on other subjects, including Die deutsche frau nach (1914) a general discussion of the German woman in the early 20th century and Englisch leicht gemacht (English Made Easy), the reference to a German language version of Memory teaching: its Laws and their application to practical life and his many German works on memory training leaves no doubt that this is the man known in the UK and later the USA as Christopher Louis Pelman.  Pelman's nationality may have led him to leave the UK for America in the early 1900s as anti-German feeling had been running high in London since the mid-1890s.

Christof Ludwig Poehlmann had returned to Germany from London in about 1910 where he became a book publisher in Charlottenburg, Berlin and by about 1914 had published not only the books listed above but also a series of booklets teaching a memory system described as Poehlmann's 'world-renowned method in the tried and tested self-teaching of long-term memorization' (translated from the German). This was a correspondence course with ten booklets and answer sheets which, on completion, were returned to Poehlmann, annotated and returned to the student, exactly as the Pelman school courses were managed.

Poehlmann's booklet 2 repeats the 'Figure Alphabet' and booklet 3 contains the Knight Puzzle and it is virtually certain that many other similarities will be found.

Poehlmann's Geistes-Schulung und-Pflege (Poehlmann's spiritual training and care) booklets 6-10
Poehlmann's Geistes-Schulung und-Pflege (Poehlmann's spiritual training and care)

By 1920 Poehlmann had also published a booklet entitled Poehlmann's spiritual training and care with the following sections (crudely translated from the German), all strikingly similar to Pelman topics:

  • health and observation
  • sensory exercise and thinking
  • imaginative education
  • memory and concentration
  • will strengthening
  • elocution

Branch offices for the Pelman School of Memory were first established in English-speaking regions as the simplest way of using the texts to maximum advantage and yet an office existed in Munich from very early days and the earliest known example of the booklets, written in English, were printed in Munich by Dr. C. Wolf & Sohn.

Pelman's contribution is later endorsed by a dedication in a 1930s copy of "Brain Building for Success" see The Ennever Foundation below, saying:

"This book is dedicated to the memory of my friend and partner of early days-the late C.L. PELMAN".
Women Clerks
Daily Mirror 19th October 1915
Women Clerks<br />Daily Mirror 19th October 1915

In 1915 The Daily Mirror carried an article which advertised that the London Correspondence College, previously managed by both O'Connor, Ennever and Max Pemberton offered a Mental Training Course and without naming him, described the author of the course as "a well-known English psychologist, whose name is reverenced throughout the world as a master of the subject of Mental training and development". Ennever was not a psychologist, neither Loisette nor Pelman were English and Foster by this time was concentrating on writing books on card, dice and other table games. Like O'Connor, Pemberton was later to write a testimonial, the foreword to the advertising booklet, "The Efficient Mind".

T. Sharper Knowlson was an author in his own right and published several books on topics related to psychology and improvements to the mind. In 1917 he published 'Originality A Popular Study of the Creative Mind' and while no references can be found to Loisette, Foster or Pelman he does explore in some detail the topic of plagiarism as early as page 7 saying:

"Plagiarism is purely a question of degree." and "...but a plagiarism is a palpable theft, not a similarity."

He would have been aware of the accusations regarding Loisette and therefore Pelman material but chose not to include it among his several examples of possible plagiarism by psychologists and authors.

6. The Pelman Schools Limited 1905-1920     Show details

The Pelman Schools Limited Articles of Association 1905
The Pelman Schools Limited Articles of Association 1905
The Pelman Schools Limited Prospectus 1905
The Pelman Schools Limited Prospectus 1905

The Pelman Schools Limited Company (Pelman Schools) was incorporated on the 7th April 1905 with seven equal shareholders, the first named being C L Pelman (1 share), a Teacher of Memory, and W J Ennever (1 share), School Manager. The seven were completed by a Dentist, two Physicians, a Secretary and a second Teacher of Memory, a J Snell Hugill, also known as a Hypnotist. Seven shareholders was the minimum permitted in the early 20th century for a business to be incorporated as a limited company although many of these shareholders could in practice have been nominees of the business owners. Snell Hugill had a continuing role in The Pelman Institute being the librarian in 1918.

Christopher Louis Pelman was the company chairman, W J Ennever its Managing Director and Samuel Grahame Connor and Eustace Hamilton Miles, both directors. Miles was the author of course content related to health and well-being. At the time Pelman gave his address as both London and Mozartstrasse, Munich. In September 1905, R Wallace Atkins, a Barrister-at-Law, was added to the list of directors of the company.

Pelman Schools took over the business carried on in London, New York, Durban, Melbourne and elsewhere under the style of The Pelman School of Memory Training.

The company had a total share capital of £20,000 of which £10,000 was offered to the public and of which £5148 was initially taken up. Of the initial £15,047 allotted shares Pelman and Ennever held over 10,000 between them. Pelman and Ennever were allocated 10,000 of these shares, 3,000 to Pelman and 7,000 to Ennever, as consideration for the 'sale' of their existing memory school businesses to Pelman Schools and received £5,000 cash, £2,000 to Pelman and £3,000 to Ennever. They both agreed not to engage in any similar business for a period of five years. There were no other significant shareholders and the Ennever family were notably absent with the exception of John Dominic Ennever, one of William Joseph's younger brothers, a holder of just 150 shares.

In 1905 and confirming that Robert Frederick Foster, of the National Liberal Club, London, was the inventor and sole owner of the Foster System of Memory Training, which was contained in the "Secret of Certainty in Recollection "pamphlets The Pelman Schools Limited agreed to allocate 500 shares as payment for the "full and exclusive benefits" of Foster's memory system.

The Pelman Schools Limited Voluntary Winding Up 1920
The Pelman Schools Limited Voluntary Winding-Up 1920

By May 1906 the company's allotted share capital was £15,763 of which £5,263 was fully paid up for cash. In September 1905, C L Pelman has sold or transferred 250 of his shares to a Wilhelm Rudeck, a Doctor from Leipzig and J D Ennever remained the only other Ennever family member with a financial interest in the company. In 1909 Joseph Aloysius Ennever, another of W J Ennever's brothers, became a director.

The Prospectus contains an accountant's report that the profit of The Pelman School of Memory Training for the four years to 31st December 1904 ie prior to the formation of the limited company was £12,650 (before Partners' salaries and Interest on Capital), an average of £3,162pa. This was also certified as sufficient to pay a dividend of 15%. Under the terms of the Prospectus from 1905 Pelman was to receive dividends only and Ennever dividends only until dividends of at least 10% were paid to shareholders, when he would also receive a salary of £250pa.

In the year to December 1908 Pelman Schools made a net profit of £299 on sales of £3250 following a loss in the previous year. The company then had cash assets of £629 with creditors of £500. In 1909 the net profit amounted to £699 on sales of just under £3500. By 1910 net profit had risen to £467 and cash assets to £2,174.

C L Pelman and W J Ennever remained as directors of the company until 1911 when the net profit was £789 and in the following year it was £1,069, rising in 1913 to £2,273. By the outbreak of World War I in 1914 it had fallen back to £659 in 1914 to £512 in 1915 and to £583 in 1916.

By 1917 C L Pelman was no longer listed as a director, the four directors being W J Ennever (Managing Director), Samuel Graham Connor, a Medical Practitioner, John Edward Pickles (Director and Secretary) and Neil MacLaren (Business Manager). By the end of 1919 W J Ennever appears to have acquired C L Pelman's shares holding 14,892 of the allotted 15,753 shares.

Profits in 1917 and later years are more difficult to determine because only the Balance Sheets are available and the accounting practices of The Pelman Schools changed to include liabilities for students' fees paid in advance. However, it appears that a small profit was made in 1916 while a very significant loss was incurred in 1917 although the Company was holding over £63,000 in fees paid in advance, an increase from less than £6,000 in 1916. Sundry creditors, believed to include trade creditors, rose dramatically in the period from £1,039 in 1915, to £5,600 in 1916 to £10,800 in 1917. The First World War had seen a general decline in financial reporting standards with companies tending to give less detail in their financial statements.

The School relied almost exclusively on newspaper and magazine advertising to attract students and the level of advertisements was ramped up in the years immediately after the end of the First World War. It then tailed off equally as dramatically in the early 1920s. The course's popularity had increased dramatically by the end of the first World War driven by the notion that Britain could regain its position of predominance  in the world.  The regular advertising in The Times would have given Pelmanism "establishment approval" and a number of eminent people of the time had all added their well-publicised support, although as we saw earlier it is probable that these testimonials were far from unsolicited.

The word "Pelmanism" was coined and the course evolved from memory training to a "mind training" course in about 1917 and it is at about this time that "The Little Grey Books" also became entitled "Pelmanism", replacing the rather more cumbersome "The Pelman System of Mind and Memory Training". 

In 1919 a 'Business Manager' even proposed a Ministry of Pelmanism and 'that every teacher would be a qualified exponent and "Going to school" would be shorn of its terrors and become a true delight'.

The Pelman Schools Limited company was voluntarily wound-up in 1920 to enable it to be re-formed as The Pelman Institute Limited. It had, however, been trading as The Pelman Institute since 1915 and had previously called itself The Pelman School of the Mind.

£100 in 1910 equates to approximately £8000 today (2018)

7. The Pelman Schools memory training courses     Show details

The early memory training course developed by The Pelman School was a course of five lessons which included Laws of Mental Connection, proper use and training of the senses, the "Figure Alphabet" system of recalling important numbers, learning languages and lists of events, people etc.  These are known in two forms of five lessons each.

From 1899 the courses were initially targeted at the armed forces and this focus continued throughout World War I but the Institute, as it had become known, also advertised specifically to many trades and professions and , as early as 1915, were specifically featuring women in their advertisements. By 1915 they were featuring nearly 50 specific occupations that would benefit from their course, including eg. Hop Growers and Confectioners. In 1920 it was also reported that they had developed a course designed specifically for the blind which was available at no cost to the student.

Set of 5 booklets by Christopher Louis Pelman. Undated but believed to be c1902 (see US version copyrighted W. J. Ennever 1903. Source Google books.)
CLP booklets
CLP booklets
CLP booklets
Later set of 5 Pelman-Foster System booklets by The Pelman School of Memory also published as a hard cover book "The Secret of Certainty in Recollection"c1905)
Pelman School of Memory
Pelman School of Memory
Pelman School of Memory
Pelman School of Memory
Pelman School of Memory

The earliest known versions of "The Little Grey Books" were published in a set of twelve lessons by "The Pelman Institute for the Scientific Development of Mind and Memory" and the system was then known as "The Pelman System of Mind and Memory Training".  They date from about 1910 and contain the first examples of health exercises designed to supplement the improvement of the mind training courses, partly by improvements in breathing techniques and simple physical exercises.   These health exercises were created by Eustace Miles M. A.

This course had developed beyond memory training as can be seen from the titles and while no mention is made of "Pelmanism" it was to be only a short period before the full transition had been made to the well-known course title.  Several elements of the Pelmanism psychology and language training techniques can be found in this version.

Introductory
Introductory
The Mental Power House
The Mental Power House
Knowledge and the Senses
Knowledge and the Senses
How to achieve it
The Pelman Laws of Mental Connection
The Pelman Laws of Mental Connection
Will-Power
Will-Power
Concentration
Concentration
The remaining lessons were:
  • 7.How to Originate Ideas
  • 8. How to Deal with Facts and Figures
  • 9. The Hygiene of Study
  • 10. Self-Expression
  • 11. The Art of Reasoning
  • 12. The Influence of Mind on Mind

These "Little Grey Books", which together with the Exercises and Examination Papers constituted the later Pelmanism Course, underwent continual improvement and can be found in various formats. The Course was given entirely by correspondence so that there were no classes or lectures to attend. You could "follow it in your own time and at the most convenient moments".

This twelve lesson version has also been found as a bound hard cover book (see images at top).

8. The Pelman Schools and early Pelmanism advertising 1899-1919     Show details

Exams. Army and Navy Gazette 2nd, 23rd &30th Dec 1899
Exams.  Army and Navy Gazette 30th Dec 1899
Memory Training - Pelman's System
Morning Post 2nd February 1900
Pelman's System of Memory Training.  The Times 21/2/1903.
Memory Training The Pelman School Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2nd March 1900
Memory Training The Pelman School Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2nd March 1900
Pelman's System of Memory Training.
The Times 21/2/1903 (part 1).
(This advertisement was a full newspaper column in length.)
Pelman's System of Memory Training.  The Times 21/2/1903. Pelman's System of Memory Training.  The Times 21/2/1903.
Pelman's System of Memory Training.
The Times 21/2/1903 (part 2).
(This advertisement was a full newspaper column in length.)
Pelman's System of Memory Training.  The Times 21/2/1903. Pelman's System of Memory Training.  The Times 21/2/1903.
Memory is Capital to men of Affairs
Illustrated London News 10/4/1909
Pelman System of Memory Training.  Chicago c1903.
Memory the Dominant Factor in Success
The Army and Navy Gazette 9th April 1910
Memory the Dominant Factor in Success  The Army and Navy Gazette 9th April 1910
Extraordinary Case of Lost Memory Restored by The Pelman System The Daily News 20th April 1911
Extraordinary Case of Lost Memory Restored by The Pelman System Daily News 20th April 1911
A 2-Guinea Gift to 500 "Daily Herald" Readers
The Daily Herald 15th April 1912
A 2-Guinea Gift to 500 "Daily Herald" Readers<br /> The Daily Herald 15th April 1912
Public-Spirited Action by World-Famous London Editor
The Scotsman 10th June 1913
Public-Spirited Action by World-Famous London Editor<br /> The Scotsman 10th June 1913
Higher Pay for Women - and Men - with Trained Minds
The Daily Mirror 23 February 1915
(full page advert)
Higher Pay for Women and Men with Trained Minds The Daily Mirror 23 February 1915
Clear-up the Lumber-Room of Your Mind
The Daily Herald 24th April 1915
Clear-up the Lumber-Room of Your Mind <br />The Daily Herald 24th April 1915
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 19/2/1916
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 19/2/1916
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 19/2/1916
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 19/2/1916
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 19/2/1916
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 19/2/1916
Pelmanism advertisement: Nash's and Pall Mall Magazine December 1917
Pelmanism advertisement: Nash's and Pall Mall Magazine December 1917
'46 Generals and 9 Admirals', The Illustrated London News 19/1/1918.
'46 Generals and 9 Admirals', The Illustrated London News 19/1/1918
War Work of the Pelman Institute
The Globe 2nd March 1918
 War Work of the Pelman Institute<br />The Globe 2nd March 1918
Well-known M.P. on Pelmanism from The Illustrated London News 20/4/1918.
Well-known M.P. on Pelmanism from The Illustrated London News 20/4/1918
The Naval Officer & The 'Little Grey Books' from The Illustrated London News 11/5/1918.
The Naval Officer & The 'Little Grey Books' from The Illustrated London News 11/5/1918.
Scouts Association "Headquarters Gazette"
April 1918
Scouts Association "Headquarters Gazette"<br />April 1918
Pelmanism advertisement (part): The Times 18/7/1918
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 28/1/1918
Pelmanism advertisement (part): The Times 18/7/1918
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 28/1/1918
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 20/2/1919
Pelman advertisement
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 20/2/1919
Pelman advertisement
Scouts Association "Headquarters Gazette"
February 1919
Scouts Association "Headquarters Gazette"<br />February 1919
Scouts Association "Headquarters Gazette"
February 1919
Scouts Association "Headquarters Gazette"<br />February 1919
Pelmanism sweeps the country. The Times 4/2/1919.
Pelmanism sweeps the country.  The Times 4/2/1919.
Pelmanism advertisement: Punch or The London Charivari 9/4/1919
Pelmanism advertisement: Punch or The London Charivari 9/4/1919
'Pelman News' from The Illustrated London News 7/6/1919.
'Pelman News' from The Illustrated London News 7/6/1919.
'Truth' Special Supplement 1917
'Truth' Special Supplement 1917
'Truth' Special Supplement 1917
'Truth' Special Supplement 1917
'Truth' Special Supplement 1917
'Truth' Special Supplement 1917
The Daily News 28/9/1918
The Daily News 28/9/1918
The newspaper "Truth" published a review of Pelmanism in a Special Supplement in May 1917 (above) and over eleven pages extols its virtues in the same way that it had also done a year earlier and The Daily News was to do the following year (see above right).
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
'Truth' Special Supplement 1918
Above are the 12 pages of a similar supplement from 'Truth' magazine published on the 5th June 1918. "Truth" claim on page 12 that they are "Independent of Party and Creed" and "Afraid of Nobody". They summarise "...from a survey of two years of Pelmanism" and "the work being done at the Pelman Institute was of national importance" and "Pelmanism stands for a type of education absolutely unique, and sooner or later its importance will receive the universal recognition due to it, a recognition already accorded to it by many men of light and leading privately and by a few pioneers of thought publicly."
Daily News 1918
Daily News 1918
Daily News 1918
Daily News 1918
Daily News 1918
Daily News 1918
In 1918 The Daily News dedicated three columns of its September 28th edition to reviewing Pelmanism. Although, again, it claims to be an independent review it reaches the above glowing conclusions.
The Pelmanometer
c1919
Pelmanism sweeps the country.  The Times 4/2/1919.
   

9. The Pelman Institute Limited 1920-28     Show details

The Pelman Institute Limited Prospectus The Times, The Globe, The Scotsman etc 10/3/1920
The Pelman Institute Limited Prospectus  The Globe 10/3/1920
Pelman Institute, Limited Cumulative Preference Share Certificate dated 1920
Pelman Institute, Limited Cumulative Preference Share Certificate
Immediately following the winding-up of The Pelman Schools, The Pelman Institute Limited was incorporated on the 2nd March 1920 as a Company limited by shares. The purchase price was £125,000, consisting of £75,000 in cash and £50,000 in fully paid Ordinary shares.

The Prospectus stated that the expenses associated with the share issue were estimated at £9,000 and the proceeds of the issue would meet all liabilities including the purchase price and leave sufficient working capital for the new Company.

It also mentions the vast opportunity in the US and a royalty of up to $5 per student that the Institute would earn from each American student enrolled. The Company's accountants, Slater, Chapman & Co., also certified that the average profit of the previous three years was sufficient to pay the dividend on the proposed Preference shares more than five times over. This therefore certified that Pelman Schools average annual profit for 1917-1919 was in excess of £6,000pa while in 1916 it had been less than £600.

Assets to be taken over by the new Company totalled £109,000, including £75,000 in 5% War Loan and Cash, debtors of £20,000 and Freehold and Leasehold property of £6,000. Trade creditors to be taken over by the new Company amounted to £39,500 and Excess Profits Duty not exceeding £25,000.

The British government had introduced the excess profits duty as a special war tax but it was complex to determine and directors often grossly overestimated the duty that would have to be paid.

The company's share capital was £150,000 made up of 75,000 Preference shares and 75,000 Ordinary shares both of £1 each, all fully paid up. The Prospectus was widely published and examples have been found in newspapers from Scotland, London, Devon, Yorkshire, Belfast, Dundee, Bristol and Sheffield.

Ennever and Bridger underwrote the Preference share issue of £75,000 for a cash commission of 1%, the Preference share issue subsequently being oversubscribed. All Directors, with the exception of the Managing Directors, were to be paid at the rate of £100pa and the Chairman at £150pa. The Directors were to appoint the Managing Director/s and fix the remuneration on such terms as they thought fit. It has to be assumed that Ennever was expected to become the Managing Director.

The directors were:

  • W J Ennever (Chairman)
  • E J Bridger
  • T Sharper Knowlson (Director of Instruction)
  • J E Pickles (Secretary)
  • J S Stooke-Vaughan

With the exception of Sharper Knowlson, all the directors were directors of The Pelman Schools Limited, Stooke-Vaughan also being the Company's solicitor. Pickles had previously been in charge of the branches in South Africa and India had recently been engaged as the Secretary at the London Head Office. Knowlson, however, had been recorded as Director of Instruction as early as 1918, when the school was already calling itself The Pelman Institute.

The largest shareholders became Mr. E. Dexter and Mr. P. D. Thomas both of 21 Ironmonger Lane, E.C.2. who jointly held over 37,000 shares, other significant shareholders being J.E. Pickles, the Company secretary, with 6,300 and T.S. Knowlson, Director of Instruction, with 5,000 .

Pelman Institute
Aberdeen Press and Journal 11th October 1921
Pelman  Institute Aberdeen Press and Journal 11th October 1921

By October 1921, however, Frederick E. Potter Ltd, the company's advertising agents of Kingsway, London were owed nearly £19,000 for advertising supplied from April to October and jointly with Messrs. Wilkes & Co., Printers, who were owed nearly £2,000, sought to wind up the company after less than two years trading. The winding up petition was delivered to the company on the 27th September 1921 and the High Court duly ordered that the company be wound up on the 25th October 1921 and appointed Mr. Phillip Hugh Salter, of Slater, Chapman & Co., as Special Manager. Slater had had a long association with the business and also Ennever as the company's auditor and he was supported in his role by solicitors acting for Fredk. Potter, the largest creditor.

On the 11th October the secretary of the Institute was quoted as saying:

We have every hope of continuing our business without interruption. I prefer not to make any comment on the pending legal action without first consulting the directors of the company.

It was also reported that Mr. Bransby Williams, an actor, who held considerable stock in the company had been chosen to look after the interests of shareholders although he is not mentioned in official papers and appears to hold no ordinary shares as of 1922.

On the 9th November 1921 the Official Liquidator raised concerns about the purchase by the Pelman Institute of Pelman Schools, for whom Slater had acted as liquidator, and suggested that the issue of the new company's prospectus required investigation. He formed the view that Slater's close association with Ennever, who was believed to be considering making an offer for the company, rendered him unable to express an unbiased opinion of the assets of the company. Slater offered to resign his role but, having failed to do so on several occasions, was removed from his role by the Official Liquidator. Mr Russell Kettle of Messrs. Deloitte, Plender, Griffiths & Co, who had no connection with the Company's business or affairs was appointed Special Manager and he continued to run the company as a going concern until 3rd December 1921.

The success of the Institute prior to its liquidation can be seen by the number of staff it employed, 83 being listed as creditors in 1921, their salary and wages having not been paid in October. The Dundee Courier reporting that under Ennever, staff numbers had grown from 9 to 150, including 50-60 men and women with Oxford or Cambridge degrees. It also records that income grew from hundreds of pounds a month to thousands.

Official papers report that gross profit for the period from incorporation (1/1/1920) to the date of the winding-up order (25/10/1921), a period of less than 20 months, was £307,000. Salaries and wages amounted to nearly £62,000, advertising £109,000, postage and stationery nearly £22,000. It also shows bad debts of over £53,000 but does not record details, a write-down of goodwill, copyrights etc of more than £150,000 and an overall deficit of £133,000.

The quoted Preference share prices reflected the change in fortunes of the Company, falling from 19/- and 18/9d, ie close to the issue price of £1, on the 8th July 1920 to 4/3d by 27th September 1921, a drop of nearly 80%. At the time, prices were only published when deals were done and the large number of small shareholders probably found the cost of selling prohibitive and there were few changes in the major shareholders meaning that only a limited number of price quotes can be found.

Messrs. Ennever, Bridger & Stooke-Vaughan had retired from the board in December 1920 and Mr. Bertram James Redman had joined and became Chairman. In his New Year message in January 1922 Ennever cites " medical advice" as the reason for his "reluctant retirement" and the Dundee Courier confirms this saying that Ennever had been troubled by ill-health since the end of 1919.

In 1923 John Salter Stooke-Vaughan was acting on behalf of Pickles, against the Company, who was claiming £6,250 for his salary as company secretary. This covered 4 years and 2 months from January 1921 at £1,500 pa.

The winding up petition made the following assertions:

  • On or about the 22nd December 1920 both Ennever and Bridger had sold their Pelman Institute shares to a James Redman who transferred them to The Rock Investment Company Ltd by way of security for a loan which he owed to The Rock Investment Company Ltd. This was 16,359 Preference shares and 37,245 Pelman Institute Limited Ordinary shares purchased for a reputed £22,000.
  • Mr Redman then made a loan to Commercial Administrations Limited, a company apparently controlled by him, from The Pelman Institute to fund the purchase.
  • Messrs. Knowlson & Pickles aided and abetted Redman in taking the £22,000 out of The Pelman Institute on security worth little or nothing.
  • Messrs Redman, Knowlson & Pickles then appointed Mr. Redman as Commercial Administrator of The Pelman Institute on a salary of £100 pw, a salary he drew until retirement.
  • That the abstraction of the £22,000 may afford ground for civil and criminal proceedings against the directors.
  • That Messrs. Peter Thomas and McNair induced Redman to retire and that they joined the Institute board as nominees of the Rock Investment Company Limited. McNair was the manager of Annan Dexter & Co. whose senior partner, Mr. Dexter, was also a Director of the Rock Investment Company.
The Pelman Schools Limited Conditional Contract for the sale of the Company's business
The Pelman Schools Limited Conditional Contract for the sale of the Company's business

The creditors voted unanimously for Mr. Sherrott to be appointed as liquidator because of his skill in dealing with Excess Profits Duty as he was well known to Messrs. Wilkes & Co. for his expertise in this area. They were not content that the heavy claim should be dealt with by the Official Receiver, one Government Department dealing with another without independent checks.

In addition to Fredk. E. Potter's outstanding account of nearly £19,000 the Collector of Taxes was owed over £8,000, a large part being Excess Profits Duty for the financial year 1920 amounting to £6,876. Mr. T.P. O'Connor was owed £333 for services rendered. It appears that Sherrott was later able to successfully reduce the Collector of Taxes' claim for Income Tax to an amount of £1,000 and to reduce the claim for Excess Profits Duty. The Canadian branch of the Institute also lodged a claim in the amount of $19,292 although it is unclear whether this claim was accepted by Sherrott.

Liquidator's papers show The Pelman Institute was owed £23,600 by Commercial Administrations Limited, a company with a nominal capital of £1,000 of which only two £1 shares had been issued, one to Mr Redman and the other to a Mr. Turner. The Official Receiver's view was that the company's grief was caused by a falling off of the number of students at the end of the war. He dismissed the effect of the loan to Commercial Administrations , Mr. Redman's £100 pw salary and his many speculative enterprises.

In December 1921 the Official Receiver reported that The Pelman Institute's goodwill depends very heavily on advertising and that the Winter months are found to be the best months for the business and that no time should be lost in effecting a sale as the value of the business as a going concern would diminish rapidly.

Critical Press reaction or speculation to the dire financial situation and the severe setback which had occurred in such a short space of time and for such a well-known organisation with a large student base appears to have been limited. The Pall Mall and Globe had reported on the September 1921 Annual General Meeting, from which the Press were excluded, and described the atmosphere as "electrical" and "that the results were disappointing and unsatisfactory". For the period January 1920 to March 1921 Net Revenue was £12,991, of which £4,000 was placed to a special reserve, leaving just £8,991, the Preference dividend requiring £6,000pa. It commented on the 1920 Prospectus average profit statement and asked

What has happened?

Official papers record that correspondence to the liquidator was voluminous because of:

...the extremely unsatisfactory manner in which the Company was conducted just prior to the liquidation...
Petition for Winding Up of Famous Business
Yorkshire Evening Post 10th October 1921
Petition for Winding Up of Famous Business<br />Yorkshire Evening Post 10th October 1921

...and The Yorkshire Evening Post reported in October 1921 that:

The company was extremely successful until a recent date, when Mr. Ennever and Mr. Bridger parted with the controlling interest.

In its report on the winding up The Nottingham Evening Post reported that Ennever was:

As an advertiser, he may be counted as one of the boldest of modern times. It is stated that during the war his publicity expenditure ran into a quarter of a million sterling per year, and on one occasion he offered £50,000 for advertising space on ration books.

The same paper also reported Redman's connection to the Pelman Institute and other institutions:

During the two years which followed the Armistice, Mr Redman was concerned in many very financial transactions and that he was "one of the most astute men of finance in the City".

On the 3rd December 1921 the High Court had further ordered that The Pelman Institute Limited business be sold for £26,000 and this was completed on the 23rd December 1921. Of this money the Official Receiver assessed that about £10,000 would be used to pay preferential creditors including Excess Profits Duty and the balance of £16,000 would be available to meet other liabilities of over £33,000. The purchasers of the company were William Joseph Ennever and Bridger. On the 19th June 1922 a liquidator was appointed to replace Mr Kettle. The liquidator was a Mr. Joseph Charles Sherrott, a City of London Chartered Accountant and his security was fixed at the sum of £35,000. While I can find no reference to the connection in any official papers, Joseph Sherrott was Ennever's cousin, Sherrott's father and Ennever's mother being siblings.

The meeting of creditors had taken place in May 1922, 16 creditors attending and whose claims against the company totalled in excess of £29,000. It was also recorded that there were inaccuracies in the prospectus of The Pelman Institute Limited and this may lead to grounds for misfeasance proceedings against Enever (sic) and Bridger.

The Liquidator's list of amounts due to the company included £23,604 from the Commercial Administrations Society Ltd and notes that of this amount only £8,492 was expected to be realised from the sale of shares in Preserve Manufacturers and the Textile Corporation, companies I believe were owned, controlled or chaired by Redman. Security for the amounts due included a policy on the life of W.J. Ridman (sic) of £25,000 but of no value as the policy had lapsed.

Sherrott paid a dividend to creditors of 5/- in the £1 and was planning to make another dividend payment after further claims had been resolved and sought payment for his own services of 5% of distributions. Joseph Sherrott was released from his role of liquidator on the 5th November 1928.

Redman was declared bankrupt in 1924 filing liabilities of £121,000 (excluding contingent liabilities which he disputed of £329,000) and assets of £15.

E.J. Bridger was Ernest James Bridger, born in India in 1880 coming to the UK before 1891. In 1908 he married Alice Maria Williams in south London and was listed as a stamp dealer. The couple had two sons, Donald and John, both of whom were to become directors of The Pelman Institute, and a daughter, Jean. He died in 1952, leaving £8,200 to his widow.

10. The Pelman Institute memory training courses (Pelmanism)     Show details

The fifteen lesson version replaced the earlier twelve lesson version and appeared in about 1917 and for the first time featuring the title "Pelmanism". Newspapers articles and advertisements from 1920 announced a "New" revised course but no dates have been found in any course material. In addition to the fifteen lessons, a "General Supplements" and a Second World War "War-time" supplement are also known:

Lesson 1
The Soul of Pelmanism
Lesson 2
Driving out the inferiority complex
Lesson 3
Your purpose in life:
How to achieve it
Lesson 4
The will to conquer
Lesson 5
Concentration and mental control
Lesson 6
The Science & Art of Self-realization
Lesson 7
The Money Brain:
an enquiry into its qualities
Lesson 8
The world of people
and things to know about them

Lesson 9
Self-expression and personality
Lesson 10
Good judgement in business & affairs
Lesson 11
The scientific method:
or how to handle your facts
Lesson 12
Your subconscious life
Lesson 13
Creating new ideas:
Studies in imagination and originality
Lesson 14
The use and abuse of reading:
How to organize your mental life
Lesson 15
Pelmanism in action
Pelman WWII supplement
For War-time members
of his Majesty's forces

Each booklet came with its own worksheet which the student completed and returned to the Institute.  Two lessons were initially sent to the student and a further lesson despatched when a completed lesson was marked meaning that students always had one lesson in hand. On satisfactory completion of the course students were awarded a certificate of "Membership of the Pelman Institute".  The "marking" process consisted of an examiner making comments and criticisms which were annotated on to the worksheet and returned to the student.  No scoring of the worksheet was undertaken.

The course also came as a boxed set and can also be found as a bound hard cover book.  It is probable that the bound volumes were an offering by the Pelman School or Institute on completion of the course.  It is clear that many students did not complete the course either from a lack of interest or from an inability or unwillingness to pay the next instalment due.

The nine dots puzzle from Pelmanism Worksheet 8 (1932)
The nine dots puzzle from Sam Loyd's book (1914)
Worksheet 8 of a 1930s course contained a puzzle that will be recognised today as one that appears regularly in logical and creative thinking questions and which appears to be first recorded in Sam Loyd's, Cyclopedia of Puzzles. (The Lamb Publishing Company, 1914).  It seems that the Institute had modified the puzzle for its own use when creating its exercises.

11. The Pelman Institute Limited 1928-40      Show details

Pelmanism letterhead 1934
Pelmanism letterhead 1934

In about 1932 the Company directors were listed as W.J. Ennever, E.J. Bridger, J.S. Stooke-Vaughan and Mr. P.R.H. Ramsey and by 1934 the Pelman Institute had modified their letterhead to read simply "Pelmanism" and the Company directors were listed as J. Hopkins (Chairman), W.J. Ennever (Managing Director), D.S. Jackling, E.J. Bridger and C.M. Phelps (U.S.A).

Pelmanism Enrolment Form 1932
Pelmanism Enrolment Forms 1932

In 1939 E.J. Bridger was The Pelman Institute Limited Managing Director while J.R. Bridger and D.E. Bridger were the other two Company directors, Mr. P.H. Ramsay being the Company Secretary.

In a promotional booklet "The Efficient Mind", probably published in the 1920s and 1930s, many well-known people of the time extol the virtues of Pelmanism.  These included Sir Max Pemberton, who wrote the forward, Baroness Orczy, author of "The Scarlet Pimpernel", Sir John Foster Fraser, Jerome K. Jerome, Lieut-Gen. Lord Baden-Powell, the brother of the King of Sweden and others.  Even the earliest known advertisement claims that Ennever had "Crowned heads, Princes, prelates, members of Parliament, merchants, bankers..." among his pupils. 

The Pelman School and Institute had always focussed on the army and navy, particularly in times of war, yet its advertising also targeted numerous professions and trades and among many it mentions it included the clergy, and women, who it had recognised for many years as a growing force in business, politics and law etc.

Pelman Institute, Application Form. India.
Pelman Institute, Application Form. India.

The Pelman Institute was still in Bloomsbury Street, London W.C.1. in the 1930s with offices also in Melbourne (396 Flinders Lane), Durban (Natal Bank Chambers), New York (71 West 45th Street and also at 271 North Avenue, New Rochelle), Delhi (10 Alipore Lane) and Paris (35 Rue Boissy d'Anglais).  There are also records of offices in Calcutta (102 Clive Street) and Java (Kromhoutweg 8, Bandoeng).  Enrolment in the course cost £6.6.0, or £6.16.6 or £7.7.0 for instalment payment terms, and it was claimed to have been adopted by over 500,000 men and women. 

Gripping Life booklet c1932
Gripping Life booklet c1932

The education was delivered using a correspondence system that it is thought he modelled on the American system.  It is also claimed that Pelmanism was practised in the Great War in "well-nigh every battalion in the Army and on practically every warship in the Fleet, and its votaries included many Admirals and Generals...".

The Institute continued to see opportunities to sell its course as part of the country's war effort and for the second World War offered its course at half price to serving members of His Majesty's serving forces and its advertisement claimed offered 'Time and energy to spend in service that will add to Britain's striking power!'

It is claimed that the course had been adopted by a total of more than 500,000 people and another 100,000 of His Majesty's Forces enrolled for the course specially designed for them during World War II. The Institute advertised its value to the home war efforts by 'On The Home Front' advertisements.  The World War II supplementary course booklet designed specifically for service personnel was entitled 'For War-time members of his Majesty's forces'. 

12. The Pelman Institute (Pelmanism) advertising 1920-1940     Show details

What is Pelmanism?
Kirkintilloch Gazette 2nd January 1920
What is Pelmanism?   Kirkintilloch Gazette 2nd January 1920
The Graphic 14th February 1920
Pelmanism sweeps the country.  The Times 4/2/1919.
Does Mind-Training Pay?
The Scotsman 21st April 1920
What is Pelmanism?   Kirkintilloch Gazette 2nd January 1920
The New Pelman Course
The Illustrated London News 2nd October 1920
The New Pelman Course <br /> The Illustrated London News 2nd October 1920
The New Pelman Course
The Belfast News-Letter 23rd November 1920
The New Pelman Course <br /> The Belfast News-Letter 23rd November 1920
Rush for Pelmanism continues
The Scotsman 9th March 1921
Rush for Pelmanism continues <br /> The Scotsman 9th March 1921
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 2/1/1922
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 2/1/1922
Pelmanism Awakes the Giant Within You.
The World's Work Advertiser March 1922 (USA)
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course on back cover of "World Digest" June 1942
New Minds for Old In 12 Weeks

Source: Unknown (USA) c1923
Pelman Institute of America, 2575 Broadway New York City

His Tail Between His Legs

Source: Unknown (USA) c1925
Pelman Institute of America, 19 West 44th Street, NYC.

The World Sweep of 650,000 Pelmanists

The World Sweep of 650,000 Pelmanists
Source: The Rotarian November 1924 (USA)

Are You Afraid To face The Truth About Yourself?

Are You Afraid To face The Truth About Yourself?
Source: Mentor Nov 1925 (USA)

Votre Concurrent

Votre Concurrent
c1924

Pelmanism for the Workers
Daily Herald 6th October 1925
Pelmanism for the Workers<br />Daily Herald 6th OctoPelmanism for the Workers<br />Daily Herald 6th October 1925Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 28/1/1928
Pelmanism at Work. Radio Times June 5th 1925
Pelmanism at Work.  Radio Times June 5th 1925
Qu'est-ce qui vous arrete?
L'Illustration 1920s
Qu'est-ce qui vous arrete?<br />L'Illustration 1926
En quatre ans 23,400 ont adhere au 'Pelmanisme'
L'Illustration 1926
En quatre ans 23,400 ont adhere au 'Pelmanisme'<br />L'Illustration 1926
Quelle que soit votre profession sortez de la mediocrite
L'Illustration 1926
Quelle que soit votre profession sortez de la mediocrite<br />L'Illustration 1932
Pelmanism advertising brochure containing various testimonies from India. Printed in Delhi
Pelmanism advertising brochure containing various testimonies from India. Printed in Delhi
Le Temps 22/7/1927
Paris has just added a branch of the Pelman Institute
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Published in the USA 1927
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 28/1/1928
By Edward Anton
Pelmanism advertisement: The Times 28/1/1928
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism language advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism language advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
I gambled 2¢ and WON $35,840 in 2 YEARS, Popular Mechanics April 1929(USA)
TI gambled 2¢ and WON $35,840 in 2 YEARS, Popular Mechanics April 1929(USA)
The Man with the 'Grasshopper Mind', Popular Mechanics Jun 1930 (USA)
The Man with the 'Grasshopper Mind', Popular Mechanics Jun 1930 (USA)
Source: Unknown (USA) c1930
Sponsors: Frank P. Walsh, T.P. O'Connor, Lucas Malet, Mrs. St. Leger Harrison
What Catholic Leaders Think of Pelmanism
The Day-Dreamer. The New Liberator October 1930 (USA)
The Day-Dreamer.  The New Liberator October 19302
Pelmanise for Progress and Prosperity
Daily Herald 16 January 1934
Pelmanise for Progress and Prosperity<br />Daily Herald 16 January 1934
Rise
Daily Herald 10th November 1936
The Man with the 'Grasshopper Mind', Popular Mechanics Jun 1930 (USA)
Take Up Pelmanism
The Daily Mirror 7th February 1939
Take Up Pelmanism<br />The Daily Mirror 7th February 1939
Take Up Pelmanism, featuring Lord Baden-Powell
c1939
Take Up Pelmanism, featuring Baden-Powell<br />c1939
   

13. The Pelman Institute post 1940      Show details

Pelman Institute Certificate (1954)
Pelman Institute Certificate (1963)
The Institute was still advertising infrequently in The Times, the literary magazine "The Argosy" and other publications until the late 1970s although the date of its final demise is not known. W J Ennever had been declared bankrupt in 1940, when he had liabilities of £16,092 and no assets. He died in relative poverty in 1947 in London.

The last known advertisements for Pelmanism are from "Geographical" magazine in November 1967, from a 6/- (18 @ 4d) stamp booklet "Barn Owl" from January 1969 (in which several educational establishments advertised their offerings, including the Rapid Results College and the Linguaphone Institute)  and finally, it seems, in 1979 in the Daily Mirror.

The Pelman Institute was still in Bloomsbury Street, London W.C.1. in the 1940s with offices also in Albion House, New Oxford Street, London WC1 and 99 Gower St, London. International offices were in Melbourne (396 Flinders Lane), Durban (Natal Bank Chambers), New York (71 West 45th Street and also at 271 North Avenue, New Rochelle), Delhi (10 Alipore Lane) and Paris (35 Rue Boissy d'Anglais).  There are also records of offices in Calcutta (102 Clive Street) and Java (Kromhoutweg 8, Bandoeng). 

Pelman Institute, letterhead. India 1943.
Pelman Institute, letterhead. India 1943.
Boy 15-16 required
West London Observer 13 January 1956
Boy 15-16 required<br /> West London Observer 13 January 1956

The Institute continued to sell its course as part of the country's war effort and it was claimed that the course had been adopted by a total of more than 500,000 people and another 100,000 of His Majesty's Forces enrolled for the course specially designed for them during World War II. The Institute advertised its value to the home war efforts by 'On The Home Front' advertisements.  The World War II supplementary course booklet designed specifically for service personnel was entitled 'For War-time members of his Majesty's forces'.

It was also claimed that Pelmanism was practised in the Great War in "well-nigh every battalion in the Army and on practically every warship in the Fleet, and its votaries included many Admirals and Generals...".

The Institute's address in the 1960s was Tudor House, Carter Lane, London EC4 with overseas offices still advertised as being in Delhi, Durban & Paris.

14. The Pelman Institute advertising 1940-1979     Show details

Pelmanism On the Home Front 1940s
Pelmanism On the Home Front 1940s
'Why Worry?' advertisement for the Pelmanism course in 'Lilliput' magazine March 1941
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course on back cover of "World Digest" June 1942
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course on back cover of "World Digest" June 1942
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course on back cover of "World Digest" June 1942
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course in Lilliput magazine 1945
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course in Lilliput magazine 1945
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course in Lilliput magazine 1945
Advertisement for the Pelmanism course in Lilliput magazine 1945
Why Worry? Blackwood"s magazine 1949
Why Worry?  Blackwood"s magazine 1949
Take Up Pelmanism
The Standard 15th June 1951
 Take Up Pelmanism <br />The Standard 15th June 1951
Pelmanism advertisement: "Barn Owl " stamp booklet 1969
Pelmanism advertisement: "Barn Owl " stamp booklet 1969
Unleash your Hidden Talents <br />Daily Mirror 30th July 1979

Unleash your Hidden Talents
Daily Mirror 30th July 1979

Pelman Power Daily Mirror 4th Oct 1979
 Pelman Power Daily Mirror 4th Oct 1979
   

15. The Pelman Languages Institute Limited     Show details

English People are Linguists
The Midland Daily Telegraph 25th January 1928
English People are Linguists The Midland Daily Telegraph 25th January 1928
The Pelman language courses existed when the Institute was formed out of Pelman Schools and were a specific feature of the Institute's offering as early as 1917 when "Learning Foreign Languages" was included in the list of principal contents of an advertisement.
Strange Death of Pelman Institute Director
The Yorkshire Post 17th September 1925
Strange Death of Pelman Institute Director <br />
      The Yorkshire Post 17th September 1925

John Louis Milne was contracted in 1918 to organise and manage the Languages department. He drowned in mysterious circumstances in 1925, an open verdict being returned.

In 1920 in its advert in The Army and Navy Gazette reference is made to the Modern Languages Department within the Institute.

It is not yet known when the Languages Company was incorporated but it appears in newspaper advertisements from about 1928, when Mr P.R.H. Ramsey was recorded as the Company Secretary.

In 1957 the Directors were listed as:

  • P.R.H. Ramsey (Director and Secretary)
  • H.W. Halsey
  • D.E. Bridger
  • J.R. Bridger
  • J. Walker-Smith

The London Institute was located at 28-30 Wigmore Street, London W.1 and International offices listed were Paris, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Durban & Delhi. Donald E. Bridger and John R. Bridger were sons of Ernest James Bridger, director of The Pelman Institute Limited.

16. The Pelman Languages Institute courses     Show details

The 1920 Pelman Institute Prospectus records that the French course was with the printers and the Spanish course was nearing completion with "others" soon to follow. By 1926 four languages were offered , French, German, Spanish and Italian and by 1938 Dutch had been added.

Although they are not seen advertised frequently the Pelman Languages Institute also offered courses in Afrikaans and Urdu and possibly Hindustani and Russian. 

The earliest versions of memory training booklets by Christopher Louis Pelman and of Pelmanism all contain hints for learning languages and the last known advertisements for Pelman Institute language courses appeared in "The Times" in 1967 when the Institute's address was Tudor House, Carter Lane, London EC4 with overseas offices advertised as being in Delhi, Durban & Paris.

Pelman Tableau des verbes FrancaisPelman Spanish
Pelman GermanPelman German instruction set
The Gift of Tongues (French) c1940s Pelman Spanish The Gift of Tongues (German) c1940s The Gift of Tongues (Urdu/Hindustani) c1940s
The Gift of Tongues (Urdu/Hindustani) c1940s
All booklets were published by The Pelman Institute or The Pelman Languages Institute. All are undated.

17. The Pelman Languages Institute advertising     Show details

Languages and the Army
The Army " Navy Gazette 13th November 1920
Languages and the Army <br /> The Army " Navy Gazette 13th November 1920
The Gift of Tongues
The Bystander 9th March 1921
The Gift of Tongues
      The Bystander 9th March 1921
English People are Linguists
The Midland Daily Telegraph 25th January 1928
English People are Linguists
      The Midland Daily Telegraph 25th January 1928
Pelman Languages
Speak French, German, Spanish or Italian in a Short Time
c1927

Pelmanism language advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
Pelmanism language advert from the 1928 Daily Mail yearbook
English People are Linguists
The Midland Daily Telegraph 25th January 1928
English People are Linguists
      The Midland Daily Telegraph 25th January 1928
Pelman Languages
The "Science of Success" c1940s
Going Abroad This Year?<br /> Catholic Standard 25 February 1955
Going Abroad This Year?
Catholic Standard 25 February 1955
 

18. The Pelman Institute of America 1904-1920s     Show details

The Pelman Institute New York offices
The Pelman Institute New York offices

The New York Pelman School opened in October 1904 "under the direct management of a gentleman who has made the subject of Memory Training his special study for over 20 years". The gentleman was not named, however. Pelman Schools documents report that Ennever had visited America in early 1905 and reported that "prospects in that Country and Canada were extremely favourable"

The Pelman Institute of America was a key selling point in the 1920 Prospectus for The Pelman Institute reporting that it had recently been incorporated with headquarters at 506 Fifth Avenue, in New York. It discusses:

...the great benefits that should accrue to this Company from its interests in the Pelman Institute of America with its appeal to over 100,000,000 people in the United States, but advices from New York state that in the first few weeks of the announcements appearing in the American Press over 2,000 students enrolled for the course.

The agreement with the American Corporation was on a Royalty basis, initially set at $1 per student, for the first six months, rising to $2 for a further six months and thereafter $5 per student. The manager of the American Corporation was a Mr. George Creel, the Chairman of the Bureau of Public Information upon America's entry into the First World War. Creel had previously been the figurehead of the school's advertising in America.

As was the case in 1905, when Pelman Schools was formed, no mention is made in the Prospectus of the Chicago office, where C.L. Pelman had worked, presumably as he had returned to Germany by 1911 and the entire USA school was managed from New York.

In the Scientific Mind Training booklet, first printed in 1919 but probably dating from the late 1920s/early 1930s the Institute's officers in the USA were:

  • B.C. McCullough A.B. President (Northwestern)
  • Charles M. Ruth (Northwestern)
  • 15 Instructional staff including G.T. Lyman, Director of Instruction

The course was offered for $60.00 in the late 1920s/early 1930s and a diploma was granted by Pelman Institute of America Inc. to students who completed the course satisfactorily and they were admitted to Membership of the Pelman Institute. The diploma was signed by McCullough, Lyman and Ruth as well as by E.J. Bridger, who was a Vice-President as well as being a director of the Pelman Institute of England.

19. The Pelman Institute of America advertising 1903-1920s     Show details

The Pelman School of Memory Training. The New York Magazine of Mysteries, March 1904
In One Ear and Out the Other
The Pelman School of Memory Training. Chicago c1904
In One Ear and Out the Other
Pelman System of Memory Training. Chicago c1904.
Pelman System of Memory Training.  Chicago c1903.
Pelman School of Memory. USA c1905.
Pelman's System of Memory Training.  The Times 21/2/1903.
Pelman School of Memory. Oswego Daily Palladium New York 10/1/1905.
Pelman's System of Memory Training.  The Times 21/2/1903.
Memory The Secret of Certainty in Recollection Success Magazine, March 1905 (USA)
Memory  The Secret of Certainty in Recollection Success Magazine, March 1905
What I Think of Pelmanism
The New Success Marden's Magazine November 1920 (USA)
What I Think of Pelmanism<br />The New Success Marden's Magazine November 1920 (USA)
The New Success Marden's Magazine January 1921 (USA)
The New Success Marden's Magazine January 1921 (USA)
'What I Think of Pelmanism', Judge Ben B Lindsey. Advertisement for the Pelman Institute of America.
'What I Think of Pelmanism', Judge Ben B Lindsey.  Advertisement for the Pelman Institute of America.
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Published in the USA 1927
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Published in the USA 1927
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Showing images of Pelman Institute offices around the world, including interiors of the London headquarters.
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Showing images of Pelman Institute offices around the world, including interiors of the London headquarters.
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Table of contents of the booklet, showing the portrait.
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Table of contents of the booklet, showing the portrait.
The following have testimonials included in the 'Scientific Mind Training booklet': Granville Barker (actor), T.P. O'Connor (MP), Charles M. Schwab, A. Gillespie & Dwight E. Austin (Captains of industry), Lucas Malet, Sarah Field Splint, Baroness Orczy, Dr. Ethel Smith & Miss Lillie NcCarthy (Celebrated women), Ben B. Lindsey (Judge), George Lunn, Mr. W.L. George, E.V. Lucas, Major Gen. Sir Frederick Maurice, Admiral Lord Beresford, General Sir O'Moore Creach V.C., Lieut-Gen. Baden-Powell, Jerome K. Jerome, His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Sweden, Rider Haggard, Wm. Robertson Nicoll & Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (World Voices), Will Owen, Sir Harry Lauder, Capt. Bruce Bairns-Father (Artists).

20. Conflicts of interest and other questions     Show details

Subject Details
The Pelman Schools Limited liquidation
The Pelman Schools Limited Voluntary Winding Up 1920
The Pelman Schools Limited Voluntary Winding-Up 1920
The liquidation of The Pelman Schools Limited in 1920 should have raised more questions that it appears to have done at the time. The Company was voluntarily liquidated meaning that it had more assets than liabilities. The Company's accountant, Philip Hugh Slater, was appointed as the liquidator and was responsible for its sale.

The Pelman Schools company was "valued" at £125,000 despite all of its liabilities being taken over by The Pelman Institute Limited. Of the purchase price £75,000 was to be paid in cash to the shareholders of Pelman Schools, the overwhelming majority of which were owned by W. J. Ennever, having acquired C.L. Pelman's shareholding shortly before the liquidation.

Profits appear to have fluctuated wildly, peaking in the years prior to the 1905 and 1920 Prospectuses.

The voluntary liquidation and the reforming as The Pelman Institute Limited was effectively an elaborate accounting process whereby Pelman Schools was valued without an independent check and sold by an interested party, its accountant, to a previous director who benefitted in the amount of about £75,000 from the public offering. The process replaced a straightforward Company name change to effect a transfer of value from the Company to Ennever.

The Official Receiver raised these very concerns in a document filed with the Supreme Court of Judication in November 1921 and sought to remove Slater as the "Special Manager" of The Pelman Institute Limited. He appears to have taken no further action.

The Pelman Institute Prospectus
The Pelman Institute Limited Prospectus
The Pelman Institute Limited Prospectus  The Globe 10/3/1920
Slater was to feature in the creditor's liquidation of The Pelman Institute Limited in 1921, a creditor's liquidation meaning that the company had more liabilities than assets. He was previously the signatory to the Auditor's certificate in the 1920 Prospectus which certified that the Pelman Schools Limited profit for 1919 and the average of the past three years was sufficient to pay the Preference dividend of 8% more than five times over.

This effectively meant that the average profit for those three years was in excess of £10,000pa, while after a small profit in 1916 it is thought that a large loss was incurred in 1917 requiring 1918 and 1919 to be exceptionally profitable years. At best, averaging these three years was misleading given the seemingly large fluctuations in profitability.

The Pelman Institute Limited liquidation
Mr. B. J. Redman's Affairs
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 17th June 1924
Mr. B. J. Redman's Affairs <br />
       Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 17th June 1924
The Official Receiver gave his reason for the failure of the Company in 1921, after less than two years trading, as a fall off in the number of students. The creditors had formed a very different view earlier, blaming the £22,000 taken out of the Company by Redman, his £100pw salary and various speculative enterprises. They also believed that Messrs. Redman, Knowlson and Pickles were culpable as Directors for allowing security for the loan to be based on assets worth significantly less.

Redman was a Leeds-based stockbroker until 1910 and was declared bankrupt in 1924 filing liabilities of £121,000 (excluding contingent liabilities which he disputed of £329,000) and assets of £15. At one time he had been Chairman of eleven companies.

£100pw in 1921 equates to approximately £175,000pa today (2018)

Testimonials
My "Little Bit" by Marie Corelli c1919
My 'Little Bit' by Marie Corelli c1919
Marie Corelli's book "My "Little Bit"" published in about 1919 takes a sharp dig at Pelmanism, telling how she was offered, and refused, 50 guineas to write a promotional piece. It seems highly probable, therefore, that most, if not all, of the many testimonials for Pelmanism were solicited and paid for.
Mr. T.P. O'Connor M.P.
T.P. O'Connor M.P.
T.P. O'Connor M.P.
O'Connor was elected Member of Parliament for Galway Borough in the 1880 general election, as a representative of the Home Rule League. At the next general election in 1885, he was returned both for Galway and for the Liverpool Scotland constituency, which had a large Irish population. He chose to sit for Liverpool, and represented that constituency in the House of Commons from 1885 until his death in 1929 and he became "Father of the House of Commons ", the longest continuously-serving member, in 1918 until his death in 1929 at which time he had served for 49 years, 215 days.

In 1913 O'Connor was the subject of an advertisement in The Scotsman entitled "Public-Spirited Action by World-Famous London Editor" and interested persons were asked to send a response coupon not to The Pelman Institute but to "T.P.'s Weekly", 29 Henrietta Street, London W.C. requesting a copy of Mr. T.P. O'Connor's article on Mind and Memory Training."

In 1914 he was the figurehead of advertising for The Pelman Institute featuring the headline "M.P.'s message to the Nation" in a double column advertisement in The Times and O'Connor was the Chairman of the Reconstruction Committee of The Pelman Institute from August 1918 to August 1921 at a salary of £1,000 p.a. Unpaid for the final four months of this period he was a creditor of the company in the amount of £333.6.8p.

In addition to his significant salary he was a shareholder in The Pelman Institute so also stood to profit personally from his testimonials, for which he was almost certainly also paid handsomely.

George Creel, Chairman of the Bureau of Public Information on America's entry into the First World War,
The Indianapolis Star 21st September 21 1919
The Indianapolis Star 21st September 21 1919
From 1919 until late 1920 George Creel was featured in American advertisements entitled "What I Think of Pelmanism" saying that "Pelmanism is the biggest thing to come to the United States in many a year".

In March 1920 he had become the Manager of US Office Pelmanism earning for the American Institute a fee for every student enrolled.

Joseph Charles Sherrott, Chartered Accountant and Liquidator of The Pelman Institute Ltd, UK.  
Joseph Sherrott was appointed liquidator of The Pelman Institute Limited in 1922 shortly before W.J. Ennever and Ernest Bridger purchased the company back from its appointed manager, the company's auditor, the company in the process of being wound up at the time. Sherrott was Ennever's cousin by virtue of Ennever's father's marriage to Teresa Ann Sherrott, Joseph's aunt.

In 1919 Sherrott was a director of a newly listed public company, The Taxi-Cab & Motor Supply Co., Limited, and Chairman of the similarly named The Taxi-Cab and Motor Finance Co., Ltd., which was an associated company. Auditors of the former were Deloitte, Plender, Griffiths & Co., the company who Mr. Kettle worked for. Kettle had been the Special manager appointed to manage the affairs of The Pelman Institute Limited, in November 1921, then in liquidation. Sherrott was appointed as liquidator in June 1922. The Taxi-Cab and Motor Finance Co., Ltd went into creditor's liquidation in October 1921.

While there is no suggestion that Sherrott acted improperly, would the creditors have agreed to this arrangement had they known of the close family connection to Ennever, the business failure and the possibility that Kettle and Sherrott knew each other?

Sherrott later became a Brighton Town Councillor and in 1941 sued an Alderman for alleged slander uttered during a Council meeting. Judgement, with costs, was awarded to the Alderman.

Ironmonger Lane
Map of Ironmonger Lane
The majority shareholders in The Pelman Institute when it went into creditor's liquidation in 1921 were E. (Edward) Dexter and P.D. Thomas, both accountants, of 21 Ironmonger Lane, London E.C.1. They were not shareholders of The Pelman Schools Limited prior to its voluntary liquidation in 1920.

Messrs. Peter Thomas and a Mr. McNair induced Redman to retire from The Pelman Institute in 1921 and they joined the Institute board as nominees of the Rock Investment Company Limited. McNair was the manager of Annan Dexter & Co. whose senior partner, Mr. Dexter, above was also a Director of the Rock Investment Company.

Joseph Charles Sherrott's business address was 19 Ironmonger Lane and he too was an accountant but not a shareholder in either Pelman Schools or The Pelman Institute.

Coincidences or not?

Buckingham Palace
Daily Herald 15th April 1912
In June 1913 Lieut.-Colonel Frederick Ponsonby, on behalf of The Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, wrote to the Under Secretary of State complaining that "We have had some difficulty with the "Pelman School of Mind and Memory Training". The Institution presented a copy of their book entitled "Memory Training Lessons" to the Prince of Wales, and received a letter of thanks from Mr. Hansell, His Royal Highness's Tutor; They thereupon printed in their circulars a statement to the effect that "The King had accepted the Pelman Course for the Prince of Wales" and added to their advertisements "As supplied by His Majesty the King to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales".

The Home Secretary consulted with the Treasury Solicitor who advised that it was not possible to prevent the use of the Prince of Wales's name; and that there was no authority for saying that falsely claiming the King's patronage rendered the advertiser liable to criminal proceedings.

Extract from an advertisement The Times 17th July 1917

The Pelman Schools appear to have heeded the Palace's concerns and ceased using references to the Prince of Wales.

In 1917, however, an advertisement in The Times used a sub-title of 'Has a "Royal Road" to Success been discovered' and 'The King's Message' as a paragraph header inferring that the King was a supporter:

That the King fully appreciates the significance and the national importance of Memory Training, which the Pelman Institute has advocated for over 20 years...

21. Pelmanism and Health Culture     Show details

Pelmanism and Health Culture
Pelmanism and Health Culture (incl "Stalag IV A" POW stamp)
Basic health exercises were included in the very early Pelman System of Mind and Memory Training booklets. The author of these exercises was Eustace Miles, who had been an early director of Pelman Schools.

The pre-WW1 mind and memory course and many of the "little grey books" also contain physical exercises as an integral part of a Pelman fit body and mind program and a course of these exercises was published separately around the time of the second world war.  They may have been popular with members of the armed forces as an example is known to have been used in the Stalag IV A prisoner of war camp by a Private A L Covill from Cambridgeshire.  It contains the "Stalag IV A" POW stamp on its inside cover (see over).  

22. Pelmanalysis (Pelman Institute Vocational Guidance Bureau)     Show details

Pelmanalysis c1920s

Pelmanalysis c1920s

Letter referring to Pelmanalysis 1930

Letter referring to Pelmanalysis 1930

In the 1920s the Institute had introduced "Pelmanalysis", a "scientific enquiry into the abilities of men and women" which pointed to "their eligibility to fill specific positions".  The analysis was based on a large chart containing 82 questions of a personal nature and then based upon this information the Institute sent the client a set of psychometric tests which, in turn, were returned to the bureau and analysed.

The lack of available source material suggests that this analysis did not have a great deal of success and no examples of the questionnaire, the tests nor the resulting advice have yet been found although we do know it was still being marketed as late as 1930.

The author or instigator of "Pelmananalysis" is not known although Ennever appears to have been at the helm of the Institute at the time.

23. The Institute of Personology     Show details

7 Weeks to Conquer the Weaknesses
The Institute of Personology
Picture Post 31/12/1938

7 Weeks to Conquer the Weaknesses<br />The Institute of Personology<br />Picture Post 31/12/1938

We know that William Joseph was declared bankrupt in 1940 and it appears that, in 1938 and possibly earlier, he was attempting to stave off this outcome by launching 'The Institute of Personology' and was using his knowledge and past reputation to rebuild his wealth and reputation.  The new Institute used his undoubted success with Pelmanism to sell his new 7 week course 'Personology' but was careful to avoid using the words Pelman or Pelmanism.  The Picture Post advertisement refers to his 'mind, memory and personality training' and that he 'pioneered the first comprehensive system that swept the world and put a new word into the English Dictionary'.  It also continued the extensive use of testimonials, the Picture Post advertisement including quotations from seven well-known publications including the Daily Sketch and the Sunday Times.

'Personology' looked and felt like 'Pelmanism' in all respects and offered a free copy of a book entitled 'Plus Minds' and a course that 'can make YOU a dictator - of Yourself'.  The Sunday Graphic's glowing testimonial saying:

'...Rich in backbone and stimulation.  Delivers a deadly blow at the inferiority complex.  Its contents are so shrewd, and its approach so sympathetic that it may be called not one but all mankind's epitome.'

Despite the hype and high profile advertising it is likely that this revamped offering had very limited success as no examples of the 'Plus Minds' booklet or the 7 week course have yet been found.

24. The Ennever Foundation and W.J. Ennever's courses     Show details

Brain Building for Success by W J Ennever. The Ennever Foundation Ltd (c1938)
Your Mind and How to Use It by W J Ennever. Doubleday & Doran Co, New York (1938)
The Ennever Foundation is known to have existed from the late 1930s and it is probable that Ennever had parted company with The Pelman Institute by this time as he had also founded his Institute of Personology by 1938. Probably in an attempt to stave off his personal bankruptcy W J Ennever published his mental training techniques as hardcover books and while they contained many of the exercises from the grey books it was no longer a correspondence course requiring the reader to complete and return 'answer sheets' having become a 'self-instruction course'.

These hardcover books are first known in the 1930s as 'Brain-Building for Success' published by The Ennever Foundation Ltd. It contained a dedication to the late C L Pelman and records W J Ennever as the founder of Pelmanism.

"This book is dedicated to the memory of my friend and partner of early days-the late C.L. PELMAN".

His friend and colleague from The Pelman Institute, T Sharper Knowlson is the book's associate editor and it contained the following sections:

  • Your Place in the World
  • Why not a Better Memory?
  • Educate your Desires - as well as your Intellect
  • The Will to do Well
  • Concentration: The Mark of Mental Mastery
  • Mental and Physical Rhythm
  • A Common-Sense Talk about Personality and Self-Expression
Your Mind and How to Use It. Brain Building for Success by W J Ennever. Thorsons Publishers Ltd (reprinted 1958)
Your Mind and How to Use It. Special Forces Edition by W J Ennever. Thorsons Publishers Ltd (c1945)

An example of the book published in New York in 1938, published by Doubleday & Doran Co. of New York, included a similar set of chapters.

Later versions then appear also entitled "Your Mind and How To Use It" and are simplified and smaller in size and content compared to the above versions in a presumed attempt to regain a mass market and also specifically marketed again to members of the armed forces.

In a foreword by Ennever and T. Sharper Knowlson these later editions are sold as "... not a book on psychology, but an entirely new course of mental training developed out of the experience of forty years.  A book on psychology is about everybody's mind.  This book is about your mind."

It is probable that examples of these titles may be found in the countries in which The Pelman Institute had offices and covering a period from the mid-late 1930s until some years after the end of second World War.  The special war time edition produced for the UK's HM Forces was an abridged version of "Brain Building for Success" and attempted to build on the success the correspondence course achieved during the Great 1914-18 War. 

Over 100,000 members of the forces had enrolled for the special Great War course that was developed for them although the Institute believed that a lower cost would have substantially increased the take-up.  The second World war edition, being a self-instruction course, was their response.  The 1958 edition for general consumption was virtually identical to its war-time predecessor probably because both Ennever and Knowlson had died in 1947.

The Ennever Foundation Sixth Book (c1940s)
The Ennever Foundation Sixth Book

W J Ennever had returned to his successful little grey books format, although few examples are known, but now using a more distinctive light blue. He published a version of his 'Brain-building for Success' as these 'Little Blue' books apparently in the same structure as the chapters of his 'Brain-building' book but until more examples are found it will be difficult to confirm this.

Triunfe Educando Su Mente, published 1953
Triunfe Educando Su Mente, published 1953

Given W J Ennever's experience in 1940 book 6 of The Ennever Foundation course contains a salutary lesson entitled 'When Disaster Threatens' saying 'Let us turn to another aspect of the subject. Take expectation - a fear of something evil, or unfortunate, about to happen. Perhaps a firm of high repute has failed, and as you are involved, it may mean your failure also unless you can obtain money due from a party abroad. Your ability or inability to do this is the origin of your fear. If you can - welcome relief! If you can't, stark bankruptcy!

William Joseph Ennever's book "Your Mind and How to Use It" published in about 1940 claims that over 100,000 members of His Majesty's Forces had enrolled during the Great War for a course that was specially designed for them.  Enrolment in the war-time course called "The Ennever Foundation Course" cost £1.10.0d.  The offices were now located at Vernon House, Sicilian Avenue, London W.C.1.

The Times carried an advert for "Super-Pelmanism" on 22nd October 1943, a version of the course it is thought he personally developed to try to regain some of his former glory and wealth. It "assured full benefits from short postal course of six lessons at fraction of former cost. Inclusive fee 30s." This was followed by other adverts in The Times in 1945 and the evolution of his training course into the book "Your Mind and How to Use it" published shortly before the Second World War. No examples of the "Super-Pelmanism" course have yet been found.

Several years after his death, in 1953, a Spanish version of "Your Mind and How to Use It" was published under the title "Triunfe Educando Su Mente".

25. The Institute of Personology, The Ennever Foundation and W. J. Ennever's advertising     Show details

Times advert

7 Weeks to Conquer the Weaknesses
The Institute of Personology
Picture Post 31/12/1938

The Straits Times, 8 September 1939 (Singapore)

The Straits Times, 8 September 1939 (Singapore)

Times advert

Source: The Times 22nd October 1943.

Your Mind and How to Use It<br />The Western Morning Mail

Your Mind and How to Use It
The Western Morning Mail
4th February 1944

Your Mind and How to Use It<br />The Western Morning Mail

Source: The Western Morning Mail
26th May 1944

Times advert

Source: The Times 22nd March 1945 & 16th May 1945.

Times advert

Source: The Times 5th December 1945, 6th February 1946,
1st May 1946 and 6th November 1946.

   

26. The Pelman Institute buildings     Show details

A number of advertising leaflets have been found that give us some idea of the grandeur of the Pelman Institute building in London as it was in the mid-1920s. Most of the international offices had addresses in prime city locations although some are believed to have been forwarding addresses. The Prospectus of 1920 identifies freehold and leasehold property valued at £6,000. The Official Receiver listed these the following year as a freehold building in Great Russell St and leasehold buildings in 4 & 6 Bloomsbury St, Bloomsbury Mansions in Hart St, Albion House in New Oxford St and Oakley House, Bloomsbury St.

The Royal Academy portrait of William Joseph Ennever can just be seen hanging above the fireplace in the "Chief Consultant's Offices" in the London Headquarters.

Pelman Institute offices London
Pelman Institute offices London
Pelman Institute offices London
Pelman Institute offices London
Pelman Institute offices Durban
Pelman Institute offices Durban
Pelman Institute offices Paris
Pelman Institute offices Paris
Pelman Institute offices Stockholm
Pelman Institute offices Stockholm

27. The Pelman Institute International Offices     Show details

As mentioned elsewhere The Pelman Institute had several offices around the world and in the early days had a number of branch offices in the UK. The following are mentioned in documents or advertising:

Country
Dates
Notes
1890s
1900s
1910s
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
UK (HQ)
70B Berners Street, London W.

70B Berners Street London W, 4 Bloomsbury Street, London WC and Wenham House, Bloomsbury St, London W.C.

4 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1, 1 Pelman House, Bloomsbury Street, London WC1, 60 Wenham House, Bloomsbury, London W.C. Also T.P's Weekly, 29 Henrietta St, London WC
Bloomsbury Street, London WC1, also 141 Pelman House and 7 branches (Bradford, Cardiff, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester & Dublin)
Adam House, Strand, London WC2 (The Institute of Personology)

4 Bloomsbury St, London W1 and Albion House, New Oxford Street, London WC1, also 99 Gower St, London. Also 205 Pelman House, Bloomsbury St.
28-30 Wigmore Street, London W1
19 Tudor House, Carter Lane, London EC4 (also 125 Tudor House)
1970s London W11 3BR

Australia
 
33 Stock Exchange Building, Melbourne, 47 Queen Street, Melbourne and GPO Box 402, Melbourne
46-48 Market Street, Melbourne, 33 Stock Exchange Buildings, Melbourne, 49 York Chambers, Queen St, Melbourne
396 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (also Gloucester House, Flinders Lane)
Gloucester House, 396 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
396 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

396 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Director: EH Welford

Established as The Melbourne Pelman School in 1900.
Canada
 
Toronto
15 Toronto Street, Toronto (Mr Arthur C Pratt)
Temple Building, Toronto
France
 
Ave. de Neuilly 149, Paris

35 Rue Boissy d'Anglais, Paris
(also 33A)

9, cité du Retiro, Paris 8

 

80 Boulevard Haussman, Paris & 176 Boulevard Haussman, Paris
80 Boulevard Haussman, Paris, 176 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris
176 Boulevard Haussman, Paris
Paris. See 1967 advertisement for Pelman Language Institute (1967)
'Le Temps' announced the cité du Retiro branch in July 1927
Germany
 
Prannerstrasse 13, Munich & Mozartstr. 9, Munich
13, Prannerstr. Munich
Holland
 
Leliegracht 30, Amsterdam
Leliegracht 30, Amsterdam & Damrak 68, Amsterdam
Prinsengracht 1021, Amsterdam
India
 
25 Esplanade Road, Bombay
10 Alipore Road, Delhi, 57 Park Street, Calcutta & Chewpatty Sea Face, Bombay
10 Alipore Road, Delhi
10 Alipore Road, Delhi and 102 Clive Street, Calcutta
10 Alipore Road, Delhi
Delhi. See 1967 advertisement for Pelman Language Institute (1967)
The 1920 India Office also operated in Burma and Ceylon and was established soon after 1905.
Ireland      
51a Dansen Street, Dublin
         
Java
 
Malabarweg, Malang and Kromhoutweg 8, Bandoeng
Russia
               
USA ads c1904 references a course in Russian but no office address has been found.
South Africa
 
Club Arcade, Durban and 42 Lynn Buildings, Durban
Club Arcade, Durban
25 Natal Bank Buildings, Durban, Club Arcade, Durban & PO Box 360, Natal Bank Chambers, Durban
Natal Bank Chambers,Durban
Natal Bank Chambers, Durban (PO Box 1489) & PO Box 4928, Johannesburg
Natal Bank Chambers, Durban PO Box 1489
Durban. See 1967 advertisement for Pelman Language Institute (1967)
Established in 1903.
Sweden
 
Sveavägen 23, Stockholm and Ake Bonnier
Ake Bonnier, Stockholm
Ake Bonnier was recorded as if this was an address but it was correctly the name of the Swedish licensee.
USA
 
Various room/suite numbers (901, 922, 926, 930, 964, 967) Whitehall Building, New York, & 1654, 1661 & 1681 Masonic Temple, Chicago
71 West 45th Street, New York, 2575 Broadway, New York & Suite L-242, 19 West 44th Street, New York.
71 West 45th Street, New York & 271 North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York
271 North Avenue, New Rochelle, New York
UK (branches/ other)
Exeter
Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Manchester & Bradford and others.
15 Hanover Street, Edinburgh (The Pelman Information and Enquiry Bureau for Scotland
Royal Ins Building, 48-49 St James's St, Piccadilly, London S.W.1. (The Ennever Foundation)
57A Gordon Square, London WC1 (Super-Pelmanism by WJ Ennever) Sicilian Avenue, London WC1 (The Ennever Foundation)
The Institute of Personology (1938)
Adam House, Strand, London WC2

We believe that several of William Joseph Ennever's family were also involved in the business and although verifiable information is limited we do know that his brother, John Dominic Joseph Ennever, travelled to South Africa in 1903, presumably on Pelman Institute business and is recorded as the Assistant Secretary, Memory Training School in 1911.

28. Testimonials for Pelmanism (UK)     Show details

As we saw earlier many well-known personalities of the day had given personal tributes to the value and benefits of Pelmanism. We also have evidence that at least some of these testimonials were solicited and a fee offered. The following is a short list of many of the people who gave testimonials for publications in the UK.

Name Extract from testimonial
Mr. A.W. Gamage (founder of the Gamage Stores), The late Dr. Forbes Winslow, Sir David Burnett (Lord Mayor of London), Mr. C.E. Town (Secretary for Commercial Education, London Chamber of Commerce) & Mr. T.P. O'Connor M.P. (see below)
These were among the first individuals to lend their name to The Pelman Course of Mind and Memory Training. The advertisement featuring their photographs appeared in The Scotsman in June 1913. The advertisement claimed that Mr. O'Connor was a world famous editor and that he had been successful in arranging a 40% reduction in course fees. His motivation may have been honourable but as a shareholder in, and paid provider of fee services to, The Pelman Institute he stood to gain personally from his many advertisements.
Sir Max Pemberton, a popular British novelist, working mainly in the adventure and mystery genres.
Whilst many thousands have perceived the gigantic flaws in our intellectual fabric, one man began long ago to re-design the building.
Dame Sybil Thorndike, actress
I am happy to tell you what a really excellent course in mind training we have received from your twelve little grey books.
The Rt. Hon. J M Robertson, formerly Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Pelmanism is a progressive method by which all men of ordinary education who are content to take trouble for a good end can profit mentally to an indefinite extent.
Lieut.-Gen. Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell. KCB, KCVO, LLD, FRGS and "Chief Scout".
I feel that no man - no matter how educated or what his age or what his profession - who seriously takes up the Course can go through it without improving himself to some degree, while to many it will assuredly point a path that will help them to successful careers.
Mr Edgar Wallace, one of the most popular and successful of living authors and dramatists.
I have found Pelmanism the most useful method for the organisation of thought. To students of all ages it seems to me to be indispensable. It is the machine-tool of thought.
T P. O'Connor, the "Father of the House of Commons".
The system is all that it professes to be. It is not only unique in itself, but deserves well of the country and of the world. This is one of many of O'Connor's testimonials.
Sir Herbert Austin, Head of the world-famous Austin Motor Co.
Pelmanism is proving of immense help to the people of to-day. A study of the science of Pelmanism will enable the student to develop a Will and to make his brain an efficient servant of that Will. Too many people are just drifting. Pelmanism can stop that drifting and start the drifter on a useful journey.

29. Testimonials for Pelmanism (USA and others)      Show details

As we saw earlier many well-known personalities of the day had given personal tributes to the value and benefits of Pelmanism. We also have evidence that at least some of these testimonials were solicited and a fee offered. The following is an short list of many of the people who gave published testimonials in the USA and elsewhere.

Name Extract from testimonial
George Edward Creel, investigative journalist and writer, a politician and government official. Chairman of the Committee on Public Information during World War I(USA)
Pelmanism is the biggest thing to come to the United States in many a year. (see 1920 advert above for the full text)
Major Gen. Sir Frederick Maurice, the world's foremost military authority
I can think of no better method than the Pelman course, either for keeping the mind fit in times of leisure or slackness, or for restoring mental vigor to a soldier whose mind has become flabby from over-strain or physical weakness.
Jerome K Jerome, famous English author and dramatist
Pelmanism should be included in the education of every boy and girl (part of a testimonial in "Scientific Mind Training" c1930.)
A. Gillespie
Vice-President, Peabody & Company
Had I known at 30 what Pelmanism has taught me since 50, many things in my life that were difficult would have been easy.
Baroness Orczy, author of "The Scarlet Pimpernel"
Even the most superficial glance at the 'Little Grey Books' will open up the most dazzling possibilities...
Dame Sybil Thorndike, actress
I am happy to tell you what a really excellent course in mind training we have received from your twelve little grey books.
T P. O'Connor, the "Father of the House of Commons".
The system is all that it professes to be. It is not only unique in itself, but deserves well of the country and of the world (part of a testimonial in "Scientific Mind Training" c1930.)
Granville Barker
Famous Actor and Playwright
Pelmanism helps you to measure up to your capacity
Lieut.-Gen. Baden-Powell, the Defender of Mafeking and "Chief Scout".
Now in Pelmanism I find practically the same principles enunciated as in the Boy Scouts training, including even a number of the same ideas in detail. (part of a testimonial in "Scientific Mind Training" c1930.
Mr Edgar Wallace, one of the most popular and successful of living authors and dramatists.
I have found Pelmanism the most useful method for the organisation of thought. To students of all ages it seems to me to be indispensable. It is the machine-tool of thought.
H.R.H. Prince Charles of Sweden, brother of His Majesty the King of Sweden
Pelmanism shows us the way to the improvement of character and an active life. The power of expression is increased and will power developed. I hope that Pelmanism will gain adherents in increasing numbers and show many an uncertain and hesitating wanderer the way to a happy life.
Sir Harry Lauder, Comedian
Pelmanism is a good Idea. Remember that is the thing to pull you through.

30. Pelmanism, the card game     Show details

There are also countless websites about "Pelmanism", the memory card game, which is often claimed to have its origins in the Pelman course although there is no real evidence to support this.  There is no specific reference to the card game in "the little grey books" although even the first lesson includes an exercise in which the student is encouraged to deal out four playing cards face down, turn each over in sequence and then after two minutes remember the four cards in order.  Once mastered the student is encouraged to move on to five cards and gradually increase the number.  Other card memory games appear as student exercises but none which could be described as "Pelmanism".

John Waddington Ltd, the famous playing card manufacturers, also sold a card game based on the Pelmanism mind training course which was designed to find the emotional age of the player or players.  This was advertised along with Pelmanism courses but had little or nothing to do with memory training, however.

Pelman pack of cards.  Advert by The Pelman Institute Pelman pack of cards Pelman Card Game Pelman Card Game 2

The rules of Pelmanism, the card game (also known as Concentration and Pairs):

Any deck of playing cards may be used. The rules given here are for a standard deck of 52 cards, which are normally laid face down in 4 rows of 13 cards each. The two jokers may be included for 6 rows of 9 cards each.   In turn each player chooses two cards and turns them face up. If they are of the same rank and colour (e.g. 6 and 6, Q♣ and Q♠ or both jokers if used) then that player wins the pair and plays again. If they are not of the same rank and colour, they are turned face down again and play passes to the player on the left. The game ends when the last pair has been picked up. The winner is the person with the most pairs and there may be a tie for first place.

31. Bellmanism (Mind-Minus-Memory)     Show details

It was probably inevitable that a popular and successful mind and memory system would have had its critics although documented references to them appear to be limited to Maria Corelli, who disliked the system of paid-for testimonials, and a humorous and rather uncommon satire by someone who clearly wished to remain anonymous. The author of 'Bellmanism', which was published by Gee & Co. in 1921, purports to be published by Whizz Publishing of London.  There are no clues as to the author's real identity who describes his work as a 'Little Gay Book', a take-off of the Pelmanism 'Little Grey Books'.

The 'Bellman' is the leader of an expedition in 'The Hunting of the Snark' by Lewis Carroll in which the Bellman has a rule-of-three: What I tell you three times is true.
Bellmanism Bellmanism Bellmanism
The '£500 a year increase!' cartoon reads:

Managing Director (on right) :- Mr Jones!  Have any of your men bad memories?  I want someone to act as my private secretary but I do not want one who will remember my private affairs.  I want a man whose memory cannot be relied on.

Mr Jones :- I think, sir, that Mr. Nincolm Poop would suit you sir.  He can never remember anything for two minutes together, sir. He has recently taken a course of Bellmanism, sir, which I believe is a system of mental training by which the inconvenient retention of unpleasant facts in the memory is avoided, sir.

Managing Director :- Very well, Mr Jones, send him to me at once -and- Mr Jones, you can increase his salary £500 per annum!

Mr Jones :- Very good, sir.

32. Punch cartoon featuring "The Little Grey Books"     Show details

Heath Robinson's early career involved illustrating books – among others: Hans Christian Andersen's Danish Fairy Tales and Legends (1897), The Arabian Nights (1899), Tales from Shakespeare (1902), Gargantua and Pantagruel (1904), Twelfth Night (1908), Andersen's Fairy Tales (1913), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1914), Charles Kingsley's The Water-Babies (1915) and Walter de la Mare's Peacock Pie (1916). In the course of his work, Robinson also wrote and illustrated three children's books, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin (1902), Bill the Minder (1912) and Peter Quip in Search of a Friend (1922). Uncle Lubin is regarded as the start of his career in the depiction of unlikely machines. During the First World War, he drew large numbers of cartoons, depicting ever-more-unlikely secret weapons being used by the combatants. He also depicted the American Expeditionary Force in France. He also produced a steady stream of humorous drawings for magazines and advertisements including the following which was published in Punch in 1919.

In its own way the cartoon seems to be poking fun at Pelmanism and its somewhat surprising success.

BellmanismBellmanism
The cartoon reads:

Farmer X, having developed "the will to more" (sic) by "the little grey books" focusses his powers on a weak-minded hen ------

----- with astounding results!

33. Pelmanism and the Scout Movement     Show details

Lieut.-Gen. Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement, had featured in advertisements for Pelmanism from the 1920s until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. These testimonials can be traced to the "Headquarters Gazette" of the Boy Scouts Association in which The Pelman Institute advertised from about 1918.

Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB, DL (1857–1941) was a British Army officer, writer, author of Scouting for Boys which was an inspiration for the Scout Movement, founder and first Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association and founder of the Girl Guides.

In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. In 1907, he held a demonstration camp, the Brownsea Island Scout camp, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. Based on his earlier books, particularly Aids to Scouting, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Sir Arthur Pearson, for boy readership. In 1910 Baden-Powell retired from the army and formed The Boy Scouts Association.

The first Scout Rally was held at The Crystal Palace in 1909, at which appeared a number of girls dressed in Scout uniform, who told Baden-Powell that they were the "Girl Scouts", following which, in 1910, Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell formed the Girl Guides from which the Girl Guides Movement grew.

Pelmanism "The Little Grey Books"
Headquarters Gazette April 1918
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Published in the USA 1927
Pelmanism in 1925
incl My views on Pelmanism by Sir R.S.S. Baden-Powell, K.C.B.
Headquarters Gazette Feb 1919 p1/2
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Showing images of Pelman Institute offices around the world, including interiors of the London headquarters.
Pelmanism in 1925
Headquarters Gazette Feb 1919 p2/2
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Table of contents of the booklet, showing the portrait.
Article by the Chief Scout giving his views on Pelmanism
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Published in the USA 1927
Article by the Chief Scout giving his views on Pelmanism
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Showing images of Pelman Institute offices around the world, including interiors of the London headquarters.
Article by the Chief Scout giving his views on Pelmanism
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Table of contents of the booklet, showing the portrait.
Article by the Chief Scout giving his views on Pelmanism
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Published in the USA 1927
Article by the Chief Scout giving his views on Pelmanism
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Showing images of Pelman Institute offices around the world, including interiors of the London headquarters.
Article by the Chief Scout giving his views on Pelmanism
Scientific Mind Training booklet. Table of contents of the booklet, showing the portrait.

MY VIEWS ON PELMANISM
By Sir R. S. S. BADEN-POWELL, K.C.B.

I have had so many inquiries from Scouts and others as to my views on self-education and Pelmanism that 1 take this opportunity of stating them.

In Pelmanism I find practically the same principles enunciated as in the Boy Scouts raining, including even a number of the same ideas in detail.

It is because these attributes are common to both movements that my sympathy has gone out to Pelmanism.

I have been asked many times whether I recommend Pelmanism which is a system of mental training taught by correspondence. I cannot base a recommenclation on personal experience of the' Pelman Course because I have never been through it myself; and I have made it, I am glad to think, my invariable rule throughout hfe never to recommend a man or a measure with whose merits, achievements and possibilities I have not had personal experience.

This rule, however, leaves me quite free to say that the Pelman System, so far as I can judge from what I have seen of it, appeals to me because it deals with the individual; and because it offers to him in a practical form the cardinal steps to the development and strengthening of mental character, which is the foundation of success in any line of life. And many, if not most, of these steps · are those which have been omitted in the average school training.

How much or how little benefit he will derive from such a scheme depends largely, o£ course, on the extent of the student's previous education and on his own application. I feel, however, that no man-no matter how educated, or what his age, or what his profession- who seriously takes up the Course offered can go through it without improving himself in some degree, while to many it will assuredly point a path that will help them to successful careers.


From the 1925 advertisement.

34. Pelmanism today     Show details

It seems that the system still has its followers today, albeit many seeing using the original material as a commercial opportunity, as can be seen from the following books and web sites:

Web sites Details  
Pelmanism in Vietnam
A book entitled 'con duong lap than' has been published in Vietnam apparently dated as late as 1999 with a credit to W J Ennever although it seems highly unlikely that this is an official publication (see image right).
con duong lap than
http://www.pelman.nl/
A Dutch company apparently claiming to be "The Pelman Institute".
http://www.pelmaninstitute.com
Looks just like how a web site of the original Pelman Institute might have been.  It even uses endorsements and text from some of the original Pelman Institute publications!
http://www.sector51.com
Has created pdf versions of the 12 booklet course with full text. Site no longer active (Oct 2017).
http://www.memory-improvement-techniques.com/
A website offering to sell you some very dated memory training systems (incl Prof. Loisette's "Assimilative Memory" first published in 1896 and with references to the "Pelman Method of Mind and Memory Training" (in 4 volumes).  See other links here offering the booklets for free!
 
http://pelmanit.blogspot.com/ A website that had plagiarised my material and claimed it for their own (now deleted after my second request to them)!  
http://www.pelmanismonline.com
The Lost Art of Pelmanism (for a fee).  But see other links here offering the booklets for free!
 
http://www.pelmanism.co.za
"The mysterious Power of Pelmanism Disclosed"!  Download a pdf file containing a scanned copy of the 12 lessons. Site no longer accessible (Oct 2017).
Pelman Institute of America
http://pelmanism.thoughtpower.info
Download a pdf file containing a scanned copy of the 12 lessons. Site no longer active (Oct 2017).
http://www.powersofthemindcourse.com
Another site extoling the virtues of the "Lost Art" (for a fee) and using some original Pelman Institute material. No longer active.

http://www.thepelmansystem.com/

Update Oct 2017 (this site now contains inappropriate content)

A website offering free access to the text of the "Little Grey Books".  It quotes 'To read the FREE 15 Lessons online please click on "15 Lesson Guide" in the navigation bar at the top of this page. Thank you.' "Unless a man can control the workings of the mind he is its slave and not its master."
Not known
The unknown "Pelman Institute of America" appear to have published "Pelmanism, A Whole New Mind: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" in 2008. See image right.
Note: neither I nor any of the family, as far as I am aware, have any connection with any of these sites and I have provided them for information only. I must add though that even the closest descendants of William Joseph Ennever, while recognising the phenomenal success the course had in the early 20th century, would certainly question the validity of many of the claims made for it by the above concerns. 

Sources     Show details

I would like to thank Ann Miller, W J Ennever's granddaughter, and John Karp for their help in the early development of this history of The Pelman Institute & Pelmanism and to the late Ray Girvan for his advice on Messrs. Pelman, Foster and Loisette.

If anyone has any further documents or information on the Pelman School of Memory, the Pelman Institute, Pelmanism (particularly Pelmanalysis), the Institute of Personology, Bellmanism or Whizz Publishing Co., Christof Ludwig Poehlmann aka Christopher Louis Pelman, Richard Frederick Foster or the life and career of William Joseph Ennever I would be delighted to hear from you. 

Author:  Barry Ennever

Last page update: 18th Jul 2018

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