Robert Tressell (real surname Noonan) wrote "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" while he was working (or often not working) as a painter and decorator. It is a classic of working-class literature despite the fact that it has never appeared on any school or college curricula. In 2003 the BBC with its "Big Read" looked for the "nation's best-loved novel". Tressell's classic did not win but it came in the top 100. Imagine where it might have come if people had actually been encouraged to read it.