Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Boreham and the Sampling of Appetising Wares

F. W. Boreham recognised the role of entertainment[1] in his writing but he believed that merely to present a display of ‘literary acrobatics’ was an insufficient motivation for a writer.[2]

The desire to educate was another underlying aspect of Boreham’s editorials. His regular urgings to his readers to avail themselves of the educative treasures that were to be found in nature, literature and travel were indicative of a general influence that pervaded Victorian Britain. Literature was regarded as an important means by which people could appreciate different viewpoints, develop national pride and it “could serve to place in cosmic perspective the petty demands of working people for decent living conditions or greater control over their own lives.”[3]

According to John Collins’ study on English literature written in 1891, the people “need political culture, instruction, that is to say, in what pertains to their relation to the State, to their duties as citizens; and they need also to be impressed sentimentally by having the presentation in legend and history of heroic and patriotic examples brought vividly and attractively before them.”[4]

Having extended his own education at a Mechanics’ Institute in Tunbridge Wells, Frank Boreham frequently used his editorials to meet these needs, by encouraging his readers to broaden their education and commending the avenues where his life had been enriched. This motivation is well illustrated in his editorial on the author Oliver Wendell Holmes, in which Boreham entices his readers, whets their appetites and concludes that Holmes’ birthday offers us an excuse “to sample afresh his appetising wares.”[5]

Geoff Pound

Image: Popular tourist attraction in Tunbridge Wells, FWB’s home town. These are the Pantiles, a parade of colonnaded shops whose name derives from the method of manufacture of the original paving slabs.

[1] F W Boreham, Cliffs of opal (London: The Epworth Press, 1948) 101.
[2] F W Boreham, A faggot of torches (London: The Epworth Press, 1926), 7.
[3] Terry Eagleton, Literary theory: An introduction (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), 25.
[4] John C Collins, The study of English literature (n.p., 1891), 25.
[5] F W Boreham, Mercury, 29 August 1953.