Millions of people are familiar with the 'East End' from television soaps and celebrity 'mockney' accents, but in this fascinating book Derek Houghton gives a colourful insight into life as a real 'East Ender'. Personal recollections and lively anecdotes are combined with a thorough social history to show a neighbourhood undergoing huge change. The memories recalled so openly by the author give a snapshot of a community characterised by contrasts. Neighbourliness and community spirit were highly valued, yet whole families often found themselves turned out onto the streets by ruthless landlords. The war provided a sudden rupture, both in the life of the author and his community. The relative peace of his time as an evacuee contrasts strongly with the destruction of Bethnal Green when the bombs rained down. The locations that provided the backdrop for Houghton's early life; the Hackney Empire, Pellicci's cafe and Kelly's Pie & Mash Shop, will be familiar to residents, and provide reference points for those just discovering the area. The stories and characters described so vividly are brought to life with a range of photographs.
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