Class of '37: ‘A wonderful rear-view glimpse of [a] vanishing world’ – Simon Garfield. Longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize
'A moving microhistory of working-class girlhood' BBC History Magazine
It is 1937 in a northern mill-town and a class of twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls are writing about their lives, their world, and the things that matter to them. They tell of cobbled streets and crowded homes; the Coronation festivities and holidays to Blackpool; laughter and fun alongside poverty and hardship. They are destined for the cotton mill but they dream of being film stars.
Class of '37 uses the writing of these young girls, as collected by the research organisation Mass Observation, to rediscover this lost world, transporting readers back in time to a smoky industrial town in an era before the introduction of a Welfare State, where once again the clouds of war were beginning to gather. Woven within this rich, authentic history are the twists and turns of the girls' lives from childhood to beyond, from their happiest times to the most heart-breaking of their sorrows.
A compelling social history, this intimate reconstruction of working-class life in 1930s Britain is a haunting and emotional account of a bygone age.
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