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REFLECTIONS OF LIFE IN LONDON'S EAST END IN DECADES PAST

East End Tales (Quick Reads) - Gilda O'Neill

"EAST END TALES" gives the reader through the veil of Gilda O'Neill's own personal experiences and the experiences of East Enders she interviewed, what life was really like in that area of London from the early 1900s, the interwar era (the years between 1919 and 1939), the war years, and during the 1950s (when O'Neill lived there as a child). 

Much of what I read in this book reminded me of the stories I had read several years ago of the British poor and working class --- in their own words --- of the Edwardian Era (1901-1910). In that era, though a basic education was free, people lived hand-to-mouth in shabby housing with outdoor toilets and washtubs for weekly bathing and for tending to laundry. They also worked long hours in labor-intensive jobs and could ill-afford medical care. The highest aspiration any woman could have in that time would be to secure secretarial work or a job as a schoolteacher, nurse, or journalist. 

The commonality between the life that I had read about in Britain during the Edwardian Era and the life of the East End of London (circa 1900 to the 1950s) as described in "EAST END TALES" was that East Enders tended, in general, to stick together and shared what little they had with each other. Any reader of this review who has watched the TV series "Call the Midwife" would understand that.