Silvertown: An East End Family Memoir

Silvertown An East End Family Memoir Silvertown is the story of the life of author Melanie McGrath s grandmother Jenny Page As McGrath acknowledges It was the kind of life that could have belonged to a thousand women living in the mid

  • Title: Silvertown: An East End Family Memoir
  • Author: Melanie McGrath
  • ISBN: 9781841151427
  • Page: 332
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Silvertown is the story of the life of author Melanie McGrath s grandmother, Jenny Page As McGrath acknowledges, It was the kind of life that could have belonged to a thousand women living in the mid years of the twentieth century in the East End of London Except that it didn t It belonged to Jenny McGrath s achievement in the book is to make Jenny s very commonplaceSilvertown is the story of the life of author Melanie McGrath s grandmother, Jenny Page As McGrath acknowledges, It was the kind of life that could have belonged to a thousand women living in the mid years of the twentieth century in the East End of London Except that it didn t It belonged to Jenny McGrath s achievement in the book is to make Jenny s very commonplace, circumscribed life not only believable and moving but also to turn it into a mirror in which the reader can see the changes that the century visited upon the East End When Jenny was a young girl, the London docks were the biggest port in the world, teeming with life and industry By the time she was an old woman, all the docks were closed and the old East End was a part of history Not that Silvertown encourages nostalgia The descriptions of Jenny s impoverished childhood, of the pulling of all her teeth on her 17th birthday, of the sweatshop where she worked, are enough to make readers throw away any rose tinted glasses they might be tempted to use Very occasionally the dialogue in the book lapses into the Cor, blimey, strike a light, guv nor kind of Cockney heard in so many bad British films of the black and white era Largely, both dialogue and narrative combine to provide a remarkably convincing and lively portrait of an ordinary life rescued from oblivion and of a world that s gone Nick Rennison

    One thought on “Silvertown: An East End Family Memoir”

    1. There has been a rise in popularity of personal histories over the last few years. It is hard to pinpoint what stimulates this interest in personal recollections of history. Is it symptomatic of a society that has no clear vision of the future and so looks for solace and authenticity in the past, or is glorified sentimentalism filling in the void created by a cultural meltdown? The working-class today are often not portrayed as a class of people that work at all and are commonly derided and dism [...]

    2. Some of the subject matter was fascinating, along with the history of the East End, but I could barely stand the author's writing style. For a start it was very strangely written in the present tense & didn't seem to flow as a result. I don't see how you can carry off writing someone else's memoirs in the present tense, let alone do it well. Yes, did I mention that it isn't a first hand account? More like a series of reminiscences from various sources folded together with a pinch of supposit [...]

    3. What a book and what a memoir. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Jane/Jenny and her husband Len Page. I could not put this book down as alt of the people lived in the same area as I lived and went to school. It evoked wonderful memories of my own East End childhood. I loved hearing about Jenny and her life, aid felt sad for her and happy for her. I hope that I may have crossed her path when I was younger and that she gave me sound advice. It is beautifully written with depth of feeling and a re [...]

    4. A brilliant social history. The hardships and low horizon aspirations of the woman in the story shocked me. I felt i caught a taste of the East end. I would love to visit London and find remnants of these places. This book will be required reading for my home schooled teen in 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the greyhound tracks, the dogs were inconsequential to the human suffering. The food, the clothes, the talk, the relationships, the attitudes all governed by the docks, the tides, an [...]

    5. A revealing insight into what life was really like for people on the bread line in the East End less than one hundred years ago - an area that is quickly becoming a redeveloped and trendy part of London.A graphically tragic but absorbing read.

    6. Quite interesting from a historical perspective. Stu's Mum Grace gave it to me & it's like she said her parents childhood was. Quite bleak but a community. Enjoyed it but not a classic.

    7. This was mostly good because I was reading about actual lives; real people who existed.Other than that, it lacked a bit of personality from the author, in her style of writing.

    8. I learned quite a lot from this book, about the living conditions and social life of people in the East End of London from the 1920s to the 1940s. An interesting and an easy read.

    9. Wow this book had some vivid scenes. I still shudder with horror recalling when Jenny has her teeth pulled. It was amazing to discover this time/place.

    10. An amazing family memoir with history very new to me. I knew things were tough in the East End of London during the previous century, but had never read such details! Very moving indeed!

    11. Generally it was good. I love reading about how Jenny's life was like from the Edwardian Period towards WWII. However the ending left me quite sad.

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