William Adams, Memoirs of a Social Atom

Picture of William Adams

William Adams was born in 1832, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. He was apprenticed to the proprietor of the Cheltenham Journal at the age of fourteen, and while an apprentice was drawn into radical politics. In 1854, by now a journeyman printer, he spent a year at "Brantwood", on Coniston Water in the Lake District, and later the home of John Ruskin, assisting with the publication of the English Republic — and it is here that our excerpt from his autobiography begins, tracing his walk to London after this radical journal collapsed. In London during the 1850s he authored a series of radical pamphlets. In 1862 he started working for the Newcastle Chronicle, becoming its editor for 36 years until 1900. He died in 1906. Our text is an excerpt from his Memoirs of a Social Atom, originally published as a series of articles in the Chronicle. We are grateful to Ian Petticrew for permission to use his transcription.

The following sections are available:
On Tramp
Tramp Life
London in the Fifties