William Wright (b. 1846): Biographical Entry

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 Ancient Order of Foresters, find this picture here.

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.

Image Reference:
‘The Ancient Order of Foresters’: http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/Foresters.html (Epsom and Ewell History Explorer)

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