Feb 052015


A Good Man’s Miracle By Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) 1844


Last year I was approached by Amberley Publishing in Stroud to write a book called Secret Gloucester, part of a series of ‘Secret’ books based around little known facts about places in the UK.  I was delighted to accept the commission and am now busy writing and researching for publication later this year.  Whilst researching Robert Raikes, founder of the Sunday School movement worldwide I came across this little gem which I thought I would share with you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote this short story/essay about Mr Raikes in 1844.  He refers to Gloucester as ‘London’ but I have changed this to Gloucester in the text which I have reproduced in full below.  The street in question was St Catherines Street (where the cider pub is now).  I think it brings Gloucester to life and is a fascinating insight into the social conditions of the time.

“IN every good action there is a divine quality, which does not end with the completion of that particular deed but goes on to bring forth good works in an infinite series. It is seldom possible, indeed, for human eyes to trace out the chain of blessed consequences, that extends from a benevolent man’s simple and conscientious act, here on earth, and connects it with those labors of love which the angels make it their joy to pefform, in Heaven above. Sometimes, however, we meet with an instance in which this wonderful and glorious connection may clearly be perceived. It has always appeared to me, that a well-known incident in the life of Mr. Robert Raikes offers us one of the most hopeful and inspiring arguments, never to neglect even the humblest opportunities of doing good, as not knowing what vast purposes of Providence we may thereby subserve. This little story has been often told, but may here be related anew, because it so strikingly illustrates the remark with which we began.

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Oct 132014

A bit late I know but I’ve been busy!!

This year was the 20th Anniversary of the Heritage Open Day events. When I discovered this I was ashamed that I’d only been frequenting this gem of an event since 2009.  A veritable newbie.

This year I really enjoyed the Gloucester History Festival, (6-19September 2014).  Partly because I was asked to do a book talk and signing at the Folk Museum and was featured in this year’s Official Programme.  The talk went really well – I thought! – even though the printed ticket had the City Museum as the venue and consequently some people arrived late – not their fault!  An audience of about 40 people came to hear me speak about the research I undertook and what inspired me to write the novel.  I hadn’t done any public speaking in a very long time but surprised myself at how UN-nervous I was.  I’ve put this down to the fact that I was talking about something I know!

If you didn’t get to go to any events this year make a date in your diary for next year.  I can’t recommend it enough.

Heritage Open Days 10-13 September 2015.

The Gloucester History Festival usually takes place two weeks either side of these dates.