Jack Vallance (b. 1914) – Biographical Entry – Writing Lives

Jack Vallance (b. 1914) – Biographical Entry

Vallance, Jack. ‘Jack of all Grades’, Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies, university of Brunel Library. Special Collection, 2:780.

 VALLANCE, Jack. ‘Jack of all Grades’. MS with additions and amendments, unpaginated. Brunel University Library.

Born 20 July 1914 at Cromford, near Matlock, Derbyshire. Father a quarry worker. Mother employed in a factory making underwear. Educated at Cromford School to age 14. Married, 1939, with 1 son and 3 daughters. Lived with grandparents during World War One I and with an uncle in Reddish in 1925; subsequently lived in Cromford, Millers Dale, Rotherham, Sheffield and Chesterfield (from 1940). Living again in Sheffield in 1985.

Newspaper-boy; in a paint work (aged 14 16); quarry worker (aged 16 20); railway porter (from 1934); signalman; accepted lower grade work as a goods guard in order to obtain a transfer; horse parcel vanman (1941); relief clerk; station master; wife’s illness caused him to take work as an inspector at a yard nearer to his home; accepted redundancy in 1965; university porter (1965 79).

Joined church choir at age 8; trade unionist; member of Railway Preservation Group.

Childhood memories of games, Wakes, poaching and Shrove Tuesday football matches introduce a lengthy account of his railway career. Brief remarks are also made on IRA activity.


‘Jack of all Grades’ in Burnett, John, David Mayall and David Vincent Eds. The Autobiography of the Working Class: An Annotated, Critical Bibliography. Brighton: Harvester, 1987. 2:780.

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