Annie Ford (1920 onwards): Purpose and Audience – Writing Lives

Annie Ford (1920 onwards): Purpose and Audience

Mrs Annie Ford wrote an autobiography as she was motivated by another individual.

“After reading Mary Turner’s book, I doubt very much if I could improve on what so many of her pupils have already written about Collyhurst” (p7)

Annie’s motivation came from a former teacher’s book that included descriptions of Rochdale Road and Livsey Street. However most importantly was Collyhurst, the area Annie grew up and lived on. Annie was motivated to express the roots of where she came from.

Annie’s purpose for writing her autobiography was to reveal parts of her childhood, the good and the bad spent on Collyhurst Road. Annie refers to the area she grew up in as “My Collyhurst” (p1). She aims to speak of her fond memories as a child and how Collyhurst played a special part in her childhood as it was a comfortable place to live.

Annie started writing her memoir in the late 1940’s where she talked of the previous past 27 years of life and her childhood. Annie’s memoir displays what life was like living in the 1920’s to late 1940’s. This time period is significant in the memoir as it represented early 20th Century Britain and the period of the Second World War.

Annie wrote her memoir in order for the next generation of working class people to recognise how changes have occurred throughout the development of working class areas growing and becoming more common. The audience of working class families are seen to influence what the author mentions in her memoir. Annie says “I never realised we were just about scraping”.

Annie does not explicitly state the purpose of her memoir but she rather implies this at the beginning and end. Annie reflects that she was “better off” than her parents but expresses how now she feels as she is missing something. Annie explains how she has “Lost the grace out of life.” The memoir aims to inform readers of the hardships of a working class during her childhood while also showing how it was also a happy time in her life of which she has fond memories.

Annie speaks for a collective group of the generation who grew up in 1920’s Manchester and now living with their own families decades on in nearby areas. Annie says “Over the past weeks I have been talking to friends around my own age and older, and although we are better off by far than our Mothers and Fathers” (p7)

Annie’s aims and motivations differ to those of other working class autobiographies. One of these differences is because some target the depths of deprivation and extreme poverty in the early 1900’s. Although the area of Collyhurst Road was said to have been over taken by a “rougher and harsher element” in 1938, it was still described as “comfortable” and “proudly looked after”.


‘Mrs Annie Ford (Born 1920)’, unpublished memoir, 2:291, Burnett Collection of Working Class Autobiography, Special Collections Library, Brunel University. 2:291 FORD, Annie, Untitled, TS, pp.7 (c.2,000 words). Brunel University Library.

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