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FRED KITCHEN (1890 – 1969) was was born in Sherwood Forest in 1890 to a Methodist family. He grew up on the Sandbeck Estate, where his father worked as a cowman for Earl of Scarbrough. He became a farmhand in 1904, aged thirteen, but went on to work at collieries and on the railways in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. In 1925, he returned to farm labouring, in Hooton Levitt and at Maltby Main, becoming a cowman like his father. He later became a journalist, radio broadcaster and school caretaker. An avid reader of books borrowed from public libraries he kept a diary for some fifty years, encouraged by the Workers Educational Association in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. His journals, from which Brother to the Ox is drawn, form a near-complete account of his working life, and were recently dramatised for BBC radio as Journal of a Joskin.

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