520 MORRIS, R. W., ‘Autobiography of R. W. Morris’, TS, c.350pp. (c.140,000 words). Extracts published as ‘A Boy goes down the pit’, Bulletin of the Durham County Local History Society, No. 20, Oct 1977, pp. 4-12 (edited by G. Patterson). BruneI University Library.
Born 1 Feb 1895 in South Row, Newfield, Co. Durham. Eldest of 10 children of a miner. Educated at village school (to age 13), and in later life at night school (USA); Workers’ Educational Association classes and at Ruskin College. Married. Lived in Newfield before emigrating to USA. Returned to live again in Newfield and then Oxford.
First job was as draper’s assistant (1908); apprentice blacksmith at colliery (1909-14; 1919-?); naval rating (1914-19); then employed in wide variety of employments in England and USA, including repairer at the colliery; electrician; deliverer and collector of parcels; packer in a paper mill; miner; labourer; car factory worker; caretaker; van driver/storekeeper; animal technician.
Written in the 1970s, the text can be divided into 2 sections. The first part provides an extremely interesting account of home and work life in a Durham mining village, with comments on, for example, schooling; pig-killing; leisure and customs (‘egg jarping’ at Easter; Shrove Tuesday football games); itinerant entertainers and the General Strike. The second section deals with work during World War I, time in America, and his later life when back in England. Pagination is not sequential and themes are subject to some repetition, but otherwise a highly useful document.