BOOK OF THE WEEK: The Stepney Doorstep Society by Kate Thompson
This week's choice by the staff at Bookmark in Spalding:
These are the unsung and remarkable stories of the women who held London's East End together during not one, but two world wars.
Meet Minksy, Gladys, Beatty, Joan, Girl Walker . . .
While the men were at war, these women ruled the streets of the East End. Brought up with a firm hand in the steaming slums and teeming tenements, they struggled against poverty to survive, and fought for their community in our country's darkest hours.
But there was also joy to be found. From Stepney to Bethnal Green, Whitechapel to Shoreditch, the streets were alive with peddlers and market stalls hawking their wares, children skipping across dusty hopscotch pitches, the hiss of a gas lamp or the smell of oxtail stew. You need only walk a few steps for a smile from a neighbour or a strong cup of tea.
From taking over the London Underground, standing up to the Kray twins and crawling out of bombsites, The Stepney Doorstep Society tells the vivid and moving stories of the matriarchs who remain the backbone of the East End to this day.
- The Stepney Doorstep Society by Kate Thompson (RRP £7.99) is available from Bookmark in The Crescent, Spalding, at £5.99. Plus, there's a further 20% discount with the voucher in this week's Spalding Guardian (on sale March 14 until 20).