Emanuel Lovekin (1820-1905): Habits and Beliefs

Lovekin did not go in to detail about any activities that he had taken part in as a child which may be because of his working life as a young boy. However he did mention briefly about a violin where he said ‘But the school master was very good violin player… I began to learn one which I scratched on for many years. But could never make much of it’.  However activities like this were not touched upon in his memoir and thus Lovekin decided to spend his spare time in a different way.

Although during the 19th Century, music and drinking became quite a popular leisure activity to men, Lovekin never touched upon these activities in this memoir and it is unclear whether he did partake in them at all. Instead, he turned his attention to having significant roles in other areas of his community. He became a passionate Primitive Methodist and also an active Sunday School worker where he became superintendent and class leader. As well as teaching a class full of young men he taught a women’s class. He exclaimed that ‘I did what I could to teach them the truth and the way’. He furthered his passion for teaching by saying ‘It was a pleasure to want to be at school and I always tried to be there in time’

In addition Emanuel also became the secretary of local branch of Chartists, where he stood trial after Pottery riots in 1842. He wanted to spend his leisure time by rebelling over the low pay that was imposed on him. As well as this, he became prominent member of the Oddfellows. The Oddfellows were a large group who would come together to partake in social activities together.

A predominant theme throughout Emanuel Lovekin’s autobiography is his work. However Emanuel was not shy when it came to discussing his other activities that he did when he was not working. With a large family, it was easy for Emanuel to keep himself occupied as he said that ‘We soon had children till there were 14teen of them, so I had always plenty of ways to spend what I got’ (pg.11) and in 1887 on the 20th April, Lovekin travelled to America to visit his 2 sons. He also discusses how he helps to care for his own grandchildren too. Although Lovekin’s memoir discusses in great detail his working life and hobbies, he did not allow his family to become strangers through the pages.

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Shropshire Church

I began to understand that Lovekin’s time off and away from work were used to help support local communities whether it be through teaching at Sunday School or through helping to gain political rights for working class men like himself. With a large family and plenty of mouths to feed, the money he earned was to help support them which is evident that he did not choose to follow the same path that his father chose. Emanuel’s father spent a lot of his money on leisure activities such as drinking. Emanuel did not mention wasting money on activities like this, instead he spent his spare time trying to help make a difference.

 

Bibliography

Lovekin, Emanuel. ‘Some notes of my life’, MS, pp.32 (c.7,000 words). Extract in J. Burnett (ed.), Useful Toil. Autobiographies of working people from the 1820s to the 1920s (Allen Lane, London, 1974), pp.290-6.

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