Jean Court: Researching Writing Lives

When I originally chose Writing Lives for one of my final year modules, I had no idea what to expect. Initially, I had presumed we would have to write about a famous authour, but I am so glad we did not, because instead, I got to write about a woman whose life now feels so familiar to me. I chose Jean Court as my authour. A young, working-class girl who emigrates from Canada back to her mother’s home town of Bristol. This is where her story begins.

After contacting local museums and libraries in Bristol, it seemed that there was not much information out there on Jean Court. I signed up to every single ancestry site I could find but still had no luck, however, Jean had packed her memoir full of interesting, detailed memories and I found out everything I desired to know for my posts.

Jean is an extremely humble, down to earth child within her memoir, and her writing suggests that she still holds such pleasant traits. Jean has made me realise how lucky I am to have grown up in a household where there was enough money for essentials as well as luxuries. Her life on the lane really makes you think about how hard times must have been and how difficult her mother must have found it to consistently provide for her family, despite being unemployed.

Despite the gratitude Jean’s memoir made me feel, children of our time could learn a thing or two from the games Jean created and the imagination she held. Jean is such a grateful child, with nothing but her own mind to keep her busy. This is portrayed in such a heart-warming way within her memoir and makes me wish that children of our era were not brainwashed by mobile phones, but instead, still played on the streets with chalk and whatever else they could find within the 20th century!

This new format of writing has widened my skills and allowed me to find something new that I take pleasure in doing. I particularly enjoyed the creation of the blog posts; researching, finding images, scanning the memoir over and over and producing it into one post. The satisfaction is brilliant. I feel as though I have portrayed and put forward an account of Jean’s life that needs to be (and will be!) read. In a way, I feel saddened that I will never know what happened later on in Jean’s life, or her sisters, nor will I ever even know her mother’s forename, but I will cherish the delight and honour I feel in reading her personal, brilliant account of her childhood on the lane.

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