Shadows Of The Workhouse: The Drama Of Life In Postwar London by Jennifer Worth, SRN, SCM
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 fascinating people she encountered. There's the story of 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 6 months of each other 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, comes to visit 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 Hatten Garden in the nun's room. The case is taken to court and Sister Monica Joan becomes a cause celebre. These stories give a fascinating insight into the lives of the poor in 1950s London, of the shadow of the workhouse that always hung over their lives but also of the resilience and spirit that enabled ordinary people to overcome their difficulties.