Wright, William. ‘From chimney-boy to councillor – The Story of my Life’. See John Burnett, David Vincent, David Mayall. The Autobiography of the working class; an annotated critical bibliography. Vol. 1 1790-1900. 1st Pub. 1984. Item: 777.
Born 12 April 1846 at Alton. One of 10 children of a chimney-sweep/cutler/grinder/umbrella-mender. Attended school to age 8, and night school from age 8. Remained in Alton all his life except for a brief period in Portsmouth (1860-5).
Started working for father as chimney-boy at age 8; learned also the various trades his father, which supplemented his income in later years; started in business on own account in 1868, establishing a prosperous trade as a sweep and soot-dealer; worked as a builder in his spare time; was declared bankrupt in later life, but managed eventually to re-establish himself.
Member of Alton UDC (1919-31); joined the Ancient Order of Foresters in 1869.
The narrative is concerned chiefly with Wright’s work life and experiences, from his time as a chimney-boy to his success in business. The text includes some verse.
‘The Ancient Order of Foresters’: http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/Foresters.html (Epsom and Ewell History Explorer)