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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.
Midwife.
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 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.
The stories of those who lived in the shadow of the workhouse'??During the nineteenth century the workhouse cast a shadow over the lives of the poor. The destitute and the desperate sought refuge within its forbidding walls. And it was an ever-present threat if poor families failed to look after themselves properly. As a result a grim mythology has grown up about the horrors of the 'house' and the mistreatment meted out to the innocent pauper. ??In this fully-updated and revised edition of his bestselling book, Simon Fowler takes a fresh look at the workhouse and the people who sought help from it. He looks at how the system of the Poor Law _ of which the workhouse was a key part _ was organised and the men and women who ran the workhouses or were employed to care for the inmates.??But above all this is the moving story of the tens of thousands of children, men, women and the elderly who were forced to endure grim conditions to survive in an unfeeling world.??'A poignant account ... draws powerfully on letters from The National Archives ... [Simon Fowler] brings out the horror, but it is fair-minded to those struggling to be humane within an inhumane system,' The Independent??'A good introduction,' The Guardian.??The history of workhouses and poverty ('misery history') has recently been prominently covered on TV shows like WDYTYA? and ITV's Secrets from the Workhouse, and referenced in historical dramas like The Village and Ripper Street.
Thomas Painter, a talented wood carver, discovers that he can also do weather magic and undertakes a journey that could lead him to hone that skill and save his village from drought, or perhaps to a completely different destiny.
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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