Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings but also because of what they were expected to endure.
But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction.
Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer's stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.
©2007 Jennifer Worth (P)2008 Orion Publishing Group
heartfelt, humanitarian, funny.
I found Stephanie's narration fantastic. all the characters were brought to life with warmth and compassion, especially Sister Evangelina. The cockney banter is lovely.
10 years hard labour
Not at all soppy as you might expect - a snapshot of the lives of eastenders as seen by an outsider, who recounts her own changing impressions, stories from her day to day life and stories from the lives of the people she meets with a perceptive eye. The writing is evocative but in a blunt, matter of fact way. There are some really astounding stories mixed with quite touching moments of reflection.
The narration is truly excellent, especially if you are a fan of the narrator putting on voices. My only gripe would be the pronunciation of 'docklands' which is a bit odd.
Time to try the TV series?
True factual history of life before the Dawn of the NHS in 1948. The year I was born to a young Mother in London who had run away from the Vallies in S.Wales. Had my birth been any sooner well I might not be here today.
A very well written book.
The account of life in the slums of the East end
of London. For anyone thinking that there life was tough read this book and thank Heaven
and all that is.. that the Workhouses have been
abolished. That young children are cared for by a welfare state. Profoundly moving book.
Fantastic true accounts of courage, sadness,life and death and an insight into the squalid and over crowded housing of yesteryear....Onto book 2 now...Shadows of the workhouse.
The TV series was good listening to it is even better.
You can get the feeling & imagination that you are looking over their shoulders. if you like the series then this is a must have
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