Brown, Edward. Biographical Entry – Writing Lives

Brown, Edward. Biographical Entry

93 BROWN, Edward, Untitled, TS, pp.199 (c.80,000 words). Brunel University Library.
Born 6 April 1880. Father worked in brewery. One of 13 children. Parents separated when author still a child. Was sent to live with a relative in Bromley (1886) so mother could get employment as domestic servant/nurse. Educated at National School (1886-93) and Congregational Sunday School. Attended evening classes in shorthand and French and passed final exam of Chartered Institute of Secretaries in 1904. Married, 1905, with 5 children. Lived in Marlow (1880-6); Bromley and London (I 886-?); Purley (1908); Bromley (1909-10); York (1911-12); Erdington (1913-14); West Bromwich (1915-30); Edgbaston (1930-).
Started part-time work in uncle’s hairdressing shop (aged 11); unpaid learner in the post office (1893-4); office-boy at local gas works (1894), progressing to secretarial position; Chartered Secretary (1904-50).
A keen reader and believer in self-education; teetotaller; member of various choral societies; active in various athletic pastimes (obtaining first secretarial experience with local boys’ football team); spent much time writing poetry, essays and even a novel on the Suffragette movement (unpublished); member of Public Speaking Club of Great Britain; attended Conservative political meetings; wrote and lectured on business subjects and secretarial practice, obtaining part-time lecturing post at Birmingham Commercial College; helped to run amateur theatrical society.
A ‘classic’ example of upward mobility with self-help and perseverance leading to the acquisition of professional qualifications. Good accounts are provided of life in Bromley in the 1890s; schooling; and of all his various employments, from his time as a child in a hairdressing shop to his work as secretary for a Liberal parliamentary candidate during the campaigns of 1904-5. Work-life dominates the narrative, with only sparing references to domestic matters.

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