Reg Beeston (1905-1999) Purpose and audience

Beeston is  casual in his autobiography, as if he has been asked to write his story down after a conversation.  The purpose of the piece is to tell the reader about his personal memories of growing up in Uley. He is expressing how he saw life in the past, and  that life was happier back then.

The audience of Beeston’s autobiography is  a personal audience of possibly his family or friends, likely it was written for his children or  grandchildren. Beeston’s writing is very conversational as if he was telling the story to someone he knew as he wrote it down. He frequently forgot things and then went  back to tell the reader he has forgotten to mention a person or a place. This shows us that Beeston was not writing for the general public.


It seems he is not talking to somebody who is familiar with Uley, and he wants to paint a picture in their mind of how it used to be. He is very fond of Uley and wants the readers focus to be completely on what the village looked like, as well as the people who occupied it, and what their life was like before, during and after World War one. His aim is  to bring Uley to the attention of the younger readers, possibly to try and persuade them to visit.

Even the title of the autobiography, “some of my memories of and about Uley until about 1930” is unprofessional, as is the fact that it was not published show that it is a  personal piece of writing that is close to his heart.  The autobiography was clearly not intended for a wider public audience. Beeston is not  a shy and retiring character, as he is  a prankster, which makes it a more intimate personal reflection of the person behind the writing.

Oddly, Beeston’s handwritten account has very few mistakes in it, which is peculiar for someone who left school aged thirteen. The handwriting is not unusual itself, as it seems that the autobiography was scribbled down on a spur of the moment, rather than something that has been planned and typed up in advance. This make it more endearing in a way he has thought about what was important enough to transcribe onto paper.

The purpose and audience also pales in significance to Beeston who gets lost in his own tale, as he recounts the memories  he enjoyed as a child and a young man. At times the reader can feel like an intruder looking into Beeston’s head as he discusses Uley feast, and the reading rooms and how he clearly enjoyed those times. It is a very masculine autobiography in a sense he does not  talk about things being visually attractive despite the fact that he does like to go into detail of what was where in the village.

Beeston, Reg, ‘Some of my memories of and about Uley until about 1930, Brunel University Library, vol no. 2:56

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