The East-End stories that inspired the BBC TV series, CALL THE MIDWIFE, in a gorgeous gift box. London's East End in the 1950s was a tough place: the struggles of post-war life - bombsites, overcrowded tenements, crime, brothels - bred a culture of tight-knit family communities, larger-than-life characters and a lively social scene. It was into this world that Jennifer Worth entered as a trainee midwife. But docklands life was tough, and babies were often born in slum conditions. In funny, disturbing and heartbreaking stories, Jennifer Worth recounts her time among nuns, prostitutes, abortionists, bigamists, gangsters and expectant mothers, portraying East Enders' amazing resilience - and their warmth and humour in the face of hardship. Written with affection and nostalgia, her midwife stories chronicle the lives, traditions and tales of a bygone era.
London's East End in the 1950s was a unique place: the struggles of post-war life - bombsites, overcrowded tenements, crime, brothels - bred a culture of tight-knit family communities, larger-than-life characters, and a lively social scene. It was into this world that Jennifer Worth entered as a trainee midwife. But docklands' life was tough, and babies were often born in slum conditions.In funny, disturbing and heartbreaking stories, Jennifer Worth recounts her time among nuns, prostitutes, abortionists, bigamists, gangsters and expectant mothers, portraying East Enders' amazing resilience - and their warmth and humour in the face of hardship. Written with affection and nostalgia, TALES FROM A MIDWIFE chronicles the lives, traditions and tales of a bygone era.
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.
When the Call the Midwife books became bestsellers, Jennifer Worth was inundated with correspondence. Letters to the Midwife is a collection of the correspondence she received, offering a fascinating glimpse into a long-lost world. Along with readers' responses and personal histories, it is filled with heartwarming gems such as letters sent by one of the nuns featured in Call the Midwife and a curious list of the things Jennifer would need to become a missionary. Containing previously unpublished material describing her time spent in Paris, and some journal entries, this is also a portrait of Jennifer herself, complete with a moving introduction by her family about the Jennifer Worth they knew and loved.
Jennifer Worth's bestselling memoirs of her time as a midwife have inspired and moved readers of all ages. Now, in In the Midst of Life she documents her experiences as a nurse and ward sister, treating patients who were nearing the end of their lives. Interspersed with these stories from Jennifer's post-midwife career are the histories of her patients, from the family divided by a decision nobody could bear to make, to the mother who comes to her son's adopted country and joins his family without being able to speak a word of English. In the Midst of Life also gives moving insights not just into Jennifer's life and career, but also of a period of time which seems very different to today's, fast-paced world.
This omnibus edition of Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End chronicles Jennifer Worth's career as a midwife from start to finish, from her arrival in the war-scarred Docklands as a wide-eyed trainee, to the demolition of the tenements and subsequent closure of Nonnatus House. It provides a fascinating snapshot of social history, documenting the East End in the days when there was a real sense of community, when times were tough but there was plenty of good humour and neighbourly support to help the inhabitants through the harsh econonic climate. The book also enables readers to follow Jennifer's personal story, as she discovers the amazing resilience of a population still bearing the scars of war, and the vibrant community of nuns with whom she lives and who teach her the skills of midwifery. In stories that are funny, disturbing and moving in equal measure, we meet prostitutes and abortionists, bigamists and mischievous nuns, and see Jennifer earn the confidence of people whose lives are often stranger than fiction.
This final book in Jennifer Worth's memories of her time as a midwife in London's East end brings her story full circle. As always there are heartbreaking stories such as the family devastated by tuberculosis and a ship's woman who 'serviced' the entire crew, as well as plenty of humour and warmth, such as the tale of two women who shared the same husband! Other stories cover backstreet abortions, the changing life of the docklands, infanticide, as well as the lives of the inhabitants of Nonnatus House. We discover what happens with the gauche debutant Chummy and her equally gauche policeman; will Sister Monica Joan continue her life of crime? Will Sister Evangelina ever crack a smile? And what of Jennifer herself? The book not only details the final years of the tenements but also of Jennifer's journey as she moves on from the close community of nuns, and her life takes a new path.
In this follow up to CALL THE MIDWIFE, Jennifer Worth, a midwife working in the docklands area of East London in the 1950s tells more stories about the people she encountered. There's Jane, who cleaned and generally helped out at Nonnatus House - she was taken to the workhouse as a baby and was allegedly the illegitimate daughter of an aristocrat. Peggy and Frank's parents both died within six months of one another and the children were left destitute. At the time, there was no other option for them but the workhouse. The Reverend Thornton-Appleby-Thorton, a missionary in Africa, visits the Nonnatus nuns and Sister Julienne acts as matchmaker. And Sister Monica Joan, the eccentric ninety-year-old nun, is accused of shoplifting some small items from the local market. She is let off with a warning, but then Jennifer finds stolen jewels from Hatton Garden in the nun's room. These stories give a fascinating insight into the resilience and spirit that enabled ordinary people to overcome their difficulties.
Heart-warming tales of nursing and midwifery from the Sisters who worked with Jennifer Worth. ‘A second’s silence and then an almighty scream. It was the most moving thing I had ever seen ... A baby, a real live baby, another human life had entered the world. It didn’t seem possible and yet I had witnessed it with my very own eyes.’ Born into a happy working-class North London family in the mid-twentieth century, Katie is determined to ‘do something’ with her life. Working in the impoverished East End in the 1950s, she meets the Sisters of St John the Divine – a community of nuns dedicated to nursing and midwifery. The Sisters have been present at births, cared for the sick and laid out the dead of the East Enders for a hundred years, and Katie soon joins them to start her journey to becoming Sister Catherine Mary. As a nurse and midwife, Katie learns to deal with everything from strokes to breech births. Tragedy is never far away, but there are also moments of pure joy as lives are saved and the Poplar residents rally round. As a young novice Katie rallies against the vow of obedience, yet over the years learns much about the nature of dedication and love. Full of desperate hardship, humour and compassion, Katie’s story brings to life the unique world of these nursing Sisters in London’s East End. Sister Catherine Mary’s story was written by Helen Batten after in-depth interviews with today’s Sisters of the Community of St John the Divine. The Community of St John the Divine was founded in 1848 in a bid to make nursing a respectable profession. Early Sisters worked in the Crimea with Florence Nightingale and were instrumental in developing recognised training and qualifications for nurses and midwives. In the early 20th century they were working in areas such as Poplar and Deptford becoming a treasured part of the community. Today the Sisterhood is based in Birmingham and their website is www.csjd.org.uk. Helen Batten studied history at Cambridge and then journalism at Cardiff University. She went on to become a producer and director at the BBC and now works as a writer and a psychotherapist. She lives in West London with her three daughters.
'Our childhood came to an end when our parents parted and from then on Jennifer was placed in the impossible position of having to be a parent to me, her sister. I shall always be grateful for her protection . . .' Millions have fallen in love with Jennifer Worth and her experiences in the East End as chronicled in Call the Midwife but little is known about her life outside this period. Now, in this moving and evocative memoir, Jennifer's sister, Christine, takes us from their early idyllic years to the cruelty and neglect they suffered after their parents divorced, from Jennifer being forced to leave home at fourteen to their training as nurses. After leaving nursing Jennifer took up a career in music, her first love, and Christine became a sculptor, but through marriages and children, joy and heartbreak, their lives remained intertwined. Absorbing and emotional, The Midwife's Sister by Christine Lee is testimony to an enduring bond between two extraordinary women.
The stories and secrets behind BBC television’s most-loved show. The official companion to series 1 and 2, as well as the forthcoming Christmas special.
'What is your name?' she asks, staring at me. 'Jennifer Ross.' 'Jennifer Ross, Sister. Well, Nurse Ross, you are dressed in the uniform of a nurse from the Leeds General Infirmary. Such a uniform is not worn with a cardigan. Take it off at once.' 'Yes Sister.' I can feel my face turn red. A trainee nurse in the 1950s had a lot to bear. In Jennifer Craig's enchanting memoir, we meet these warm-hearted yet naïve young girls as they get to grips with strict discipline, long hours and bodily fluids. But we also see the camaraderie that develops in evening study sessions, sneaked trips to the cinema and mischievous escapades with the young trainee doctors. The harsh conditions prove too much for some girls, but the opportunity to help her patients in their time of need is too much of a pull for Jenny. As she commits to her vocation and knuckles down to her exams, she is determined that when she reaches the heights of Ward Sister herself she will not become the frightening matron that struck fear into her student heart ... Rich in period detail, and told with a good dose of Yorkshire humour, Yes Sister, No Sister is a life-affirming true story of a life long past.
Readers of exciting, challenging and visionary literary fiction—including admirers of Norman Rush's Mating, Ann Patchett's State of Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, and Peter Matthiessen's At Play in the Fields of the Lord—will be drawn to this astonishingly gripping and accomplished first novel. A decade in the writing, this is an anthropological adventure story that combines the visceral allure of a thriller with a profound and tragic vision of what happens when cultures collide. It is a book that instantly catapults Hanya Yanagihara into the company of young novelists who really, really matter. In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu'ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub "The Dreamers," who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.
Call The Midwife is the BBC's most popular drama ever - that is what viewing figures tell us with over ten million viewers per episode. The Christmas edition is always reviewed as a 'must see' event, just as important to some families as the Queen's Speech. All the principal actors are now household names and one in particular over the past two seasons has dramatically come to the front of the show - Doctor Turner, played by Stephen McGann. He is now seen as the lynchpin of the series, not only overseeing the many childbirths across episodes, but also dealing with a multitude of diseases that strike the young, as accurately portrayed by the show's writer Heidi Thomas. Polio, meningitis, measles, scarlet fever and thalidomide have all been meticulously depicted on the show. This new book, will now reveal how a local doctor - such as Dr Turner - not only dealt with such cases, but also how he worked within the newly created National Health Service, as well as lived alongside his East End community. It will be a facsimile as well as a fictionalised diary from the character, all conceived and written by the show's writer Heidi Thomas. Stephen McGann will also contribute his own narrative having studied for an MA in medical science. Beautifully designed, it will make a lovely present for any fan of the series, as well as those wishing to find out more about the history of what life was really like in this period.
1950s Liverpool. In the tight-knit Irish Catholic community of the Four Streets, two girls are growing up. One is motherless – and hated by the cold woman who is determined to take her dead mother's place. The other is hiding a dreadful secret which she dare not let slip to anyone, lest it rips the heart out of the community. What can the people of the Four Streets do when a betrayal at the very heart of their world comes to light?
A National Jewish Book Award–winning biography: A look at the early years of Israel’s statehood, experienced through the life of a pioneering nurse. During her extraordinary career, nurse Raquela Prywes was a witness to history. She delivered babies in a Holocaust refugee camp and on the Israeli frontier. She crossed minefields to aid injured soldiers in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and organized hospitals to save the lives of those fighting the 1967 Six-Day War. Along the way, her own life was a series of triumphs and tragedies mirroring those of the newly formed Jewish state. Raquela is a moving tribute to a remarkable woman, and an unforgettable chronicle of the birth of Israel through the eyes of those who lived it.
In this moving, wry, and candid novel, widely acclaimed novelist Ayelet Waldman takes us through one woman’s passage through love, loss, and the strange absurdities of modern life. Emilia Greenleaf believed that she had found her soulmate, the man she was meant to spend her life with. But life seems a lot less rosy when Emilia has to deal with the most neurotic and sheltered five-year-old in New York City: her new stepson William. Now Emilia finds herself trying to flag down taxis with a giant, industrial-strength car seat, looking for perfect, strawberry-flavored, lactose-free cupcakes, receiving corrections on her French pronunciation from her supercilious stepson – and attempting to find balance in a new family that’s both larger, and smaller, than she bargained for. In Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Ayelet Waldman has created a novel rich with humor and truth, perfectly characterizing one woman’s search for answers in a crazily uncertain world. From the Trade Paperback edition.
A young midwife's account of her training in the Midlands in the 1950s. A SUNDAY TIMES bestseller. It's 1957, and in a shattered post-war world, life goes on. Dot, a pupil midwife, negotiates the streets on her trusty old bicycle - come rain or shine - to help women in need. Living and working under the supervision of the strict Mrs O'Reilly, she must complete her training with twelve deliveries: there's Mrs Wardle who lives in a seedy slum; the eighth Clarke baby, born in an unusual place; the superstitious Wests, desperate for a boy; baby Murphy who is received with laughter; and brothel-worker Mrs Maloney. Amid lectures, textbooks and university dances, Dot must saddle up at any time of the day and night to attend deliveries. But just when she thinks she's got the measure of the job, fate deals her an unexpected hand...
The extraordinary 1950s London childhood of one of Britain's best-loved politicians. Alan Johnson's childhood was not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Not in respect of the poverty, which was shared with many of those living in the slums of post-war Britain, but in its transition from two-parent family to single mother and then to no parents at all. This is essentially the story of two incredible women: Alan's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better life for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility at a very young age and who fought to keep the family together and out of care when she herself was still only a child. Played out against the background of a vanishing community living in condemned housing, the story moves from post-war austerity in pre-gentrified Notting Hill, through the race riots, school on the Kings Road, Chelsea in the Swinging 60s, to the rock-and-roll years, making a record in Denmark Street and becoming a husband and father whilst still in his teens. This Boy is one man's story, but it is also a story of England and the West London slums which are so hard to imagine in the capital today. No matter how harsh the details, Alan Johnson writes with a spirit of generous acceptance, of humour and openness which makes his book anything but a grim catalogue of miseries.
Publisher description: "Our music, our culture, our science and our economic welfare all depend on a delicate balance between those ideas that are controlled and those that are free, between intellectual property and the public domain. In The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (Yale University Press) James Boyle introduces readers to the idea of the public domain and describes how it is being tragically eroded by our current copyright, patent, and trademark laws. In a series of fascinating case studies, Boyle explains why gene sequences, basic business ideas and pairs of musical notes are now owned, why jazz might be illegal if it were invented today, why most of 20th century culture is legally unavailable to us, and why today's policies would probably have smothered the World Wide Web at its inception. Appropriately given its theme, the book will be sold commercially but also made available online for free under a Creative Commons license.".