4 August 2022
My thanks to the publisher and edpr for my copy of the book
and the invitation to the blog tour
Sorrow and joy in London's oldest suburb..
Welcome to the East End.
Life in Cockney London was tough in the post-war years. The government's broken promises had led to a chronic housing shortage, rampant crime and families living in squalor. But one thing prevailed: the unbeatable spirit of the East End, a tight-knit community who pulled through the dark times with humour and heart.
Drawing on both family history and her own memories of growing up in the 1950s and '60s, as well as her working life as a district nurse and local police officer, Jean Fullerton vividly depicts this fascinating part of London - from tin baths, to jellied eels, to tigers in a Wapping warehouse.
A Child of the East End by Jean Fullerton published on the 4th August by Corvus, in paperback original, priced £8.99
📖 My review..
I have enjoyed reading Jean Fullerton's novels over the years and have always been impressed by the way she brings the East End of London to life in such an authentic way. Her remarkable ability to get right into the heart of the community springs from her own background of growing up in the places she writes about so vividly.
In A Child of the East End we meet Jean in 1954 when lived with her family in a small workers' cottage in London's East End. Surrounded by extended family, and friends, Jean's upbringing was typical of the time, and whilst material possessions were in short supply in houses with no indoor plumbing, there was never any shortage of friendship and support amongst those who called the place home. Tight knit communities, who saw both the best, and the worst of times, encouraged a deep seated loyalty and the unique ability to make the best of what you'd got but still reach for something better.
I've really enjoyed reading this memoir which takes us from the mid-1950s, through to the late 1970s, and found it to be a fascinating journey through the social history of the post-war generation, inviting us into the East End of London during some momentous years of change. The author's warm personality come shining through as does her love for her family, the area she lived in and her genuine rapport with everyone she comes into contact with. I enjoyed the different chapters and found much to enjoy as we get to observe all aspects of the author's life, the good, the bad and even, at times, the sad and the challenging.
A Child of the East End is a beautifully written memoir with a fascinating insight into the author's life growing up in this vibrant part of East London.
🍴Best read with..a plate of jellied eels
About the Author
Jean Fullerton is a native East Londoner and authentic cockney. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, as a child she lived in a derelict one-up one-down cottage by London Docks before being rehoused as part of the post-war slum clearances
Because of her love of history, Jean hoped to become a theatrical costumier, starting out as a general dogsbody in a local clothing factory before working her way up to being a patter cutter at Jaegers. Clearly not the next Mary Quant, Jean decided take a completely different career pathway and at twenty-three joined the Metropolitan Police Force, an 'eye-opener even for a street wise East End girl'.
After taking time off to have children, Jean trained as a Registered Nurse once her youngest went to school and spent most of her working life in the East End of London. She is also a qualified teacher and has lectured on community nursing at a London University.
The author of nineteen historical novels, including The Ration Book series, Jean now writes full time.
Twitter @JeanFullerton_ #AChildoftheEastEnd