The Story of My Life
By Arnold Goodliffe
For many years, family historians have been sharing copies of a typescript manuscript that they had "found" in the Nottingham and Leicestershire Records Offices. It was entitled "The Story of My Life", written by Arnold Goodliffe. How the manuscript became lodged in the Records Office remained a mystery to many. Readers soon realised that they had a typescript copy and that the original work would have been handwritten. But where was it? Who had it?
This page tells that story:-
The Transcribed Typescript
The typed manuscript, a transcript of Arnold's original hand-written account was given, by chance, to Elizabeth Higgins of Market Harborough who was the far-sighted person who deposited a copy at the Leicester Records Office, Wigston. Elizabeth is a descendent of another Arnold Goodliffe, who was the son of our Arnold's brother (the name Arnold being taken from a maternal ancestor).
For many years the typescript was all we had, and many people have been fascinated by the wealth of information it contains. The whereabouts of the original, in Arnold's handwriting remained unknown.
The Original Handwritten Script
In late 2006 the original hand-written memoir was located by Elizabeth (read her version of the treasure-hunt here), and it too has been deposited in the Leicester Records Office. A scanned version of the original is available on this website.
Now that the original is available, we can see that there are major differences between the two versions. The typescript has a lot of detail missing, words have been transposed, Mrs has become Mr etc.
The Original book and the copy
In January 2007 I visited Elizabeth and was able to hold and to read both editions of the Book. The transcript has been bound in soft black leather to look as close to the original as possible, but has had the title in gold printed on the spine. The original is a small bound exercise book with ruled pages, just as Arnold had described.
The copy has been both poorly transcribed and poorly typed. By comparing the two versions, I am of the opinion that the copy was made, perhaps by hand originally, not long after Arnold died. This would explain the rewording of the section in which Arnold describes his brother John in a poor light and the addition noting that "They had 6 sons and 3 daughters, all living at the present time 1898". As Arnold died in 1888, this dates the transcription to 1898. Whether that was the date of the typescript is unknown, although typewriters were newly invented and would not have been common in 1898.
Last updated: 10/04/2016