53 BELCHER, William J., Untitled, MS (c.25,000 words). Brunel University Library.
Born 14 Sept 1884 in Wells St., London. Died 19 Nov 1961. Son of a gasfitter and electrician. 2 sisters. Educated at Duncombe Rd. Higher Grade School (to 1898); Sunday School; Evening Continuation Schools (for 4 years) and part-time electrician’s course at Tottenham Polytechnic. Married, 1914, with 1 son and 1 daughter. Lived in London all his life, except for periods in the Navy (1903-8; 1914-19).
Worked in an engineering shop learning brass-finishing (1898-1901); clerk (1901); assistant manager (4 months); rating in Royal Navy (1903-8); electrician (1909-14; 1919-).
As a youth his main interests were athletic (football, boxing, dancing) though his attentions turned increasingly to religion. Based his hope of a new social structure as being ‘of God’s construction under Jesus Christ’, and so became ‘an active worker for Jehovah’.
Although Belcher makes some interesting comments on childhood, this narrative (written from his diaries) is stylistically wearisome and the content lacks substance. The bulk of the autobiography was written in 1936 and Belcher concludes his narrative with comments on modernisation, technological innovation, politicians, social structure and the changing quality of life. From 1936-50 the memoirs take the form of a diary.
Belcher, William Untitled Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography. University of Brunel Library, Special Collection, 1.53