Researching and reading about the life of Frank George Marling has been both interesting and rewarding. Having to read the personal accounts of a life that was lived long before mine was a great privilege and I enjoyed every aspect of it. I have learned a great deal about working-class life in the 19th century. In particular, researching Frank’s memoirs has enabled me to understand and contribute to work on studies in working-class childhood as well as Victorian leisure.
I had chosen to research and write about Frank’s memoirs because they were focused on his childhood and had very detailed descriptions of his school days. Not only this, but I enjoyed reading a memoir that had not already been transcribed. Being able to see Frank’s handwriting made his memoirs all the more real. I loved reading every word of what he had to say about his life. Reading about all the fun and games he played, as well as his love for the annual Club Days, was really interesting and heartwarming to read. I could see the emotion and passion in his writing through every page. It is fascinating to read about a person’s life experiences that have happened in a time before myself. To know that I am the one who has been able to tell Frank’s story is truly an honour.
Being involved in the collaborative research project has been exciting and has provided me with skills that I can bring to my future career. I have also gained and developed skills in researching, copy-editing and proof-reading; these are all skills that I can take foreword into future work. The project has also enabled me to learn a new way of writing and thinking. It has allowed me to think about how to write for an online audience, while also trying to represent Frank in my posts as much as I could.
Posting each theme in the form of a blog post has also been a new experience for me that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Writing a blog post each week has allowed me to demonstrate skills in time-management, organisation, and being able to write to tight deadlines. It has also given me a great opportunity to build a portfolio of writing, which is something that will be very useful for me. During the process of writing, I was aware that my work would be read by many, so I wanted to ensure that each post was perfect every time. This meant that I became more aware of my writing and wanted to ensure that it was easy to understand. Discovering Frank’s relative online has also been so moving, as I have been able to find photos of Frank and his family. These photos have enabled me to bring more life to Frank’s words.
Developing my social media skills has also been a great experience for me. I have learned how to use Twitter effectively in order to promote my own as well as other people’s posts, using hashtags as well as mentioning people and pages that may be interested. The social media aspect has also enabled me to promote myself and my work to potential employers. Over the course of the module, the positive feedback gained from sharing my posts on Twitter has given me the confidence to write in the future and has pushed me to continue to develop and improve my skills.
Overall, writing for the Writing Lives project has enabled me to practice and develop my writing skills. The experience has demonstrated to me how much I enjoy writing content for people to read and enjoy. This has meant that I have become more certain about my career goals, as well as having a starting point to continue to build and develop my writing. Everything about the process of writing the blog has been enjoyable, from the planning and researching, all the way to the editing, publishing and sharing. Being a part of the Writing Lives project and having the opportunity to write about Frank’s life and share it with everyone, has been a wonderful experience that I will be able to carry with me into the future. I am very grateful that I have had the chance to contribute to this amazing project and I hope that Frank’s life will be continued to be read by many.
- ‘Frank George Marling’ in Burnett, John, David Vincent, David Mayall (eds) The Autobiography of the Working Class: An Annotated, Critical Bibliography 1790-1945. 3 vols. (Brighton: Harvester, 1984, 1987, 1989)
- Marling, Frank George. ‘Reminiscences’. Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies. Brunel University Library. Special Collection, 1:492.
- Barton, R. (2016). ‘Mr and Mrs F G Marling’. [image]. Btsarnia. Available at: https://btsarnia.org/2016/12/28/sharpness-union-chapel/ (Accessed:02/05/18).