Writing Lives and Radio 4

Earlier this year Dr Helen Rogers was invited to contribute to The History Of Emotions blog organised by Dr Thomas Dixon, Director of the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions. The blog, containing many other specially commissioned themed blog posts, has been designed to accompany the BBC Radio 4 series, also presented by Thomas, Five Hundred Years of Friendship. Helen was also invited to be interviewed by Thomas for the show which was first broadcast over a three week period between March and April this year. Each week was themed accordingly:

Week 1. Extending the Family, 1500-1800

Week 2. Improving Society, 1800-1918

Week 3. Connecting the World, 1918-2014

Dr Helen Rogers wrote two blog posts for The History of Emotions Blog;  Helen Rogers, ‘Thick as thieves’ which includes references to another of Helen’s blogs Conviction: Stories From a Nineteenth-Century Prison. , and ‘Memories of Improvement‘, written in collaboration with Writing Lives students John England, Cleo Chalk, Steve Clark and Victoria Hoffman.

Helen can be heard in episode six of week two, ‘Felons and Oddfellows’ which includes references from ‘Thick as thieves’ surrounding the work of Christian philanthropist Sarah Martin, who in the 1830s and 1840s volunteered her time to befriend and instruct young offenders from Yarmouth Gaol in an attempt to steer them away from a life of crime.

Episode seven ‘Education of the Heart‘ looks at personal experiences of friendship and features a reading from the autobiography of Writing Lives author Harry West. Writing Lives authors, Jack Goring (1861) Lottie Martin (1899), Syd Metcalfe (1910) and Harry West (1880), are also discussed in Helen’s accompanying blog ‘Memories of Improvement’ to illustrate both positive and negative aspects of friendship in terms of self-improvement. Just as the friendships between the young offenders of Yarmouth Gaol often led to wrong-doing and prison, it was thought that friendship (especially for the young and impressionable) was ‘fraught with danger ‘with the wrong choice of friend having disastrous consequences; it being far safer to confine friendship to family and siblings. However, as shown by the personal testaments of Lottie, Harry, Syd and Jack, personal friendships often developed into long-lasting and influential relationships that assisted in their future success.

Writing Lives involvement with Radio 4 is just one of the ways in which not only our authors, but our student bloggers can gain a wider audience. Having a reading from Harry West’s autobiography included in the programme is a great achievement for his student blogger Cleo Chalk. Cleo has also secured another coup for Writing Lives by receiving positive feedback from Harry’s relatives, after discovering her posts on Harry on the Writing Lives website.

Read the Author Blogs by clicking on the links below:

Cleo Chalk, Harry Alfred West (born 1880)

Steve Clark, Syd Metcalfe (born 1910)

John England, Lottie Martin (1899-1976)

Victoria Hoffman, Jack Goring  (1861-1942)

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