Frank Prevett (b.1904): Biographical Entry

2:638 PREVETT, Frank, ‘Memoirs of a Railwayman’, TS, pp.347 (c.150,000 words). BruneI University Library.

Born 1904 in Brighton. Father and grandfather were both railwaymen, the former a stationmaster. Family of 5. Educated at village school and Higher Grade School, Eastbourne, leaving just before his 14th birthday in the summer of 1917. Married, 1930, with twin sons. Received considerable help and encouragement from his wife, whom the author believes changed completely his way of life and outlook. Lived in Brighton (1904-9); Withyham, on the Sussex and Kent border (1909-16); Berwick, East Sussex (1916-30); Glynde, Sussex (1930-8); Berwick (1938-42); Woldingham, Surrey (1942-3); Sanderstead (1943-6); Addiscombe (1946-50); Mitcham (1950-3); Tulse Hill; West Croydon (1953-5); Redhill (1955-64); Buxted.

Started work for an uncle in the office of his butcher’s business (for a couple of weeks only); then in offices of another butcher nearer home, but left when he was expected to work as a delivery-boy also; commenced railway career at age 16 as a clerical learner, rising to become a stationmaster in 1942; supplemented income in the early stages of his career by working as a part-time newspaper reporter.

Secretary of a brass band; secretary of Parochial Church Council; member of Local Defence Volunteers; secretary of a local Disabled Association.

Written in 1967-8 from his diaries, the author provides full details of his childhood and family life, married years, and of 45 years in railway service (duties, promotion, war work and female labour, staff problems, industrial disputes). Among the topics discussed are ancestry; hop-picking; children’s games; World War I (casualties, food shortages, female labour); farming; rural life; social clubs; the village store; ‘vague’ memories of the General Strike; courtship; childbirth; self-improvement; outbreak of World War II; holidays. The text includes a brief extract from his father’s memoirs of early life and railway service.

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