Arthur Gill (b.1887): Reading and Writing

gold_beaterThroughout Arthur’s memoir he alludes to the bible, comparing his life and works to that of biblical stories. It is very clear that Arthur is very religious, drawing parallels between his life and work and those spoken of in the Bible. The most prominent is when Arthur draws parallels between his work as a gold beater and the ancient biblical telling of Solomon. This allows Arthur reassurance in the fact that Gold beating was one of the oldest professions, and how it’s mentioned in the old testament.

“And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the arc of the covenant of the Lord. And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height thereof; and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar. So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold; and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold too. And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished the whole house; also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.”

The bible and Arthur’s reading of it obviously had a massive influence on his own, and his family’s life.  After all Arthur did meet Ellen, his wife, in Sunday school. Further, in the later years his son Walter became a Methodist minister. Arthur’s, and presumably Ellen’s affect on Walter must have been significant, as he chose to pursue a career within the church. Although religion to dictate his life, it is very evident that it did influence it very strongly.

boy readingReading and writing was essential to his career as a show writer.  His time in the army and as a telephonist reading and writing was essential.

Throughout his years in the army Arthur encountered many men who could not read or write, one of which he read the letter aloud and replied at his colleagues request. Further, Arthur wrote his memoir at the age of 81 years old, with his wife Ellen still by his side and his children grown up.

army man reading

Arthur’s memoir allowed me, the reader, to get to know a man from a different generation. His writing was a very important, helping to tell the story of his life, work and beliefs. Arthur was recording his life for posterity, the life of a normal working class man as he saw it, at the turn of the century, to live on long after he was gone.   Without his memoir, the reader could not have delved into our humble narrator’s life as done, never comprehending the struggles of a working class hero, blind to the struggles of a life so removed from one’s own.

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