Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Quarry Bank Runaways: The Journey to London of Thomas Priestley & Joseph Sefton in 1806 Author: G. J. Griffiths

Note from Jacquie: This is an excellent slice of history set in the genre of historical fiction. Teachers and homeschoolers looking to add a bit of adventure into 19th-century history need look no further. Please be aware of differences in UK and US spelling and grammar.
 In the early 19th-century, it was the policy of many of the poorhouses and workhouses to maintain harsh and unpleasant conditions. Children were separated from their parents, removed from orphanages and poor houses, and forced to work at a very young age.  It was within this context that two boys snuck away from their apprenticeships at the Quarry Bank Cotton Mill and set out on a 200-mile journey in search of their mothers. 

Quarry Bank Mill beside the River Bollin: 2016
It was likely that these enterprising travelers took advantage of the drovers’ roads and the newly developed “motorways” of the times – the canals. Perhaps they were lucky enough some days to hitch a lift; their general direction of travel taking them to Beartown, the Potteries, Dunstable Downs and eventually to London. Whatever challenges they encountered along the way archive evidence shows that they made it.

This is the story of their adventure and it concludes with the events in the Middlesex Courthouse. This well-crafted book is available on Kindle and in hard-copy at this 

Amazon Link More about Mr. Griffiths and his accomplishments may be found on his Author's Page

Note from Jacquie: I asked Mr. Griffiths to please share what inspired the writing of this historical fiction novel. His answer gives us all food for thought.

During the writing of my latest book, The Quarry Bank Runaways, I referred to several other books, papers, and texts and one of the most amazing was The Real Oliver Twist by John Waller.
This is not a review of the book because I intend to do that later but I wanted to recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in history, but especially history during the period of the Industrial Revolution, say about 1750 to 1850. I did not enjoy any of my history lessons at school through very poor teaching in my opinion as a retired (science) teacher of secondary school kids. This book did not inspire my later fascination with history as I believe it grew through reading the novels of Dickens, Elliot, Gaskell, and Austen. However, what John Waller's book about Robert Blincoe, a real "work'us child", did for me was fan the embers of my interest into flames of a real passion for reading more factual books about some of the less fortunate characters during that time.
Robert Blincoe's suffering as a child worker in various cotton mills will cause successions of tears, horror, and incredulity to emerge from any reader, of that I'm sure. We can only be pleased that such a thing does not occur in today's factories - at least as far as we know! However, one hears of so-called child "sweat shops" involved in the production of artefacts for sale in all kinds of "developing" countries around the world. So obviously there is still a lot of important awareness work to be done. Where the right people are to do it is a real problem in today's world.
The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe: A Life that Illuminates a Violent Age
The Real Oliver Twist Robert Blincoe A Life that Illuminates a Violent Age by John WallerRead the book and see if you agree!

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