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Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s

Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Jennifer Worth

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  • Publisher: Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 24mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 6 March 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0753823837
  • ISBN 13: 9780753823835
  • Illustrations note: 8
  • Sales rank: 438

Product description

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.

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Author information

Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and was later ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, then the Marie Curie Hospital, also in London. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about twenty-five years. Jennifer died in May 2011 after a short illness, leaving her husband Philip, two daughters and three grandchildren. Her books have all been bestsellers.

Customer reviews

By Sally 18 Oct 2010 4

This book was a fascinating insight into the life of a midwife in the poorest part of London during the 1950's and 1960's. I'd highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the social aspects of this period of time or who is interested in midwifery.

Review quote

Worth's books are full of fascinating social history: about living conditions in east London, the scale of poverty and violence, the realities of postwar medicine and the workhouse NEW STATESMAN