September 15th Silas Hocking (Death)

St. Stephen – in – Brannel born Silas Hocking (1850 – 1935) was the first writer to achieve sales of over one million copies of his books in his lifetime.

The brother of the novelists Joseph Hocking (March 4th) and Salome Hocking (April 10th), Silas was expected to follow his father in to tin mining but he felt called to the Methodist ministry and studied in Manchester.

He was ordained in 1870, after which he worked in many areas of England, spreading the Methodist message before retiring in 1896 in order to to devote himself to writing and to Liberal politics.

Hocking became famous with the publication of his second novel, ‘Her Benny. A story of Street Life’ which was about street children in Liverpool, sold over one million copies and became one of the first silent films (1920).

He wrote an autobiographical novel, ‘The Strange Adventures of Israel Pendry’ (1899) and, after writing another fifty books, he contemplated the nature of Sin and Guilt, in his volume ‘God’s Outcast’ and in another autobiographical novel, ‘My Book of Memory’ (1923).

Politically involved, Hocking also contested, unsuccessfully, Aylesbury for the Liberal Party (1906) and for Coventry (1910).


                                                                                                                                             Previous                                 Next