Love On The Dole
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Love On The Dole

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  318 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In Hanky Park, near Salford, Harry and Sally Hardcastle grow up in a society preoccupied with grinding poverty, exploited by bookies and pawnbrokers, bullied by petty officials and living in constant fear of the dole queue and the Means Test. His love affair with a local girl ends in a shotgun marriage, and, disowned by his family, Harry is tempted by crime. Sally, meanwhi...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 17th 1993 by Vintage Classics (first published 1933)
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Janet
Published in 1933, 'Love on the Dole' became a huge influence on the British public's view of unemployment and social deprivation, and even prompted an investigation by Parliament, leading to reforms. This is a work of fiction, but is very closely based on the lives of real people - Greenwood himself and the people he grew up with - and later studied from street corners - he always carried a notebook with him to make observations for later use.

Although the lives of the residents of Hanky Park se...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
Love on the Dole is a must-read for students of sociology and class distinction. While it is set in England, it fit quite well with the coal mines in Alabama where I grew up. At the end I compare the sadness in this book with that in The Full Monty, which is advertised in the USA as a "comedy." Wonder what re-viewing that film would elicit from readers in Occupy/99ers.

Greenwood shows how very young boys are brought into factory work before they are of age to work. During those times, they can be...more
Chris Schmidt
I loved this... a wonderfully vivid account of working class life in Salford between the wars. With all the social history of Orwell's 'Road to Wigan Pier' and the reality of Tressell's 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' but with a valuable insight, without excessively heavy political influences, of how life must have been living through true austerity and exploitation. Add to this a strong narrative structure, some beautiful descriptive writing on par with Steinbeck and a cast of characters you...more
Kathie
This was a great read. The author exposed the era, the cycle of poverty and its effects on working class families so well.
Mary
This was another book set close to home. This one in set in Salford, during the 1930's. I read this described as Cathy Come Home for the 1930's. Now as much as I think that should be the other way around it is a good comparison.

This tells the story of Harry Hardcastle and his sister Sally. They live in 'Hanky Park' one if Salford's industrial slums. There isn't much cheer here. If I magine the setting I think of something similar to an Adolphe Valette scene. Greys, damp and fog.

Harry has 'ideas...more
LauraJade
This novel was on my reading list at university for my 20th Century Working Class Lit course, along with the likes of Room At The Top, Trainspotting, Up The Junction and a whole host of others - none of which are quick reads!! And as we had to start a new one each week for the lectures and seminars the most I got out of the majority of the books were about five chapters each.

But this was one I most definitely wanted to return to and hurrah, I have finally finished it! Have to say it was worth th...more
Liz
This isn't an easy book to read. Set in the early 20th century in a part of Salford, Hanky Park, that many of my friends still remember, the story is an extreme version of what is going on in Britain today. While we may have a more generous safety net for people who lose their jobs, the attitude of government to those on benefit seems not to have changed. The precedence of capital (the economy) over the rights of workers and the short termism of employers and policy makers that would rather see...more
Nigeyb
I have recently been reading a lot of 1930s-1940s English fiction - most of it set in and around London. It was interesting to shift geographically up to Salford in the North West. Love On The Dole's dialogue is written in a Northern vernacular & it took me a while to adjust.

This book was published in 1933 and there is a wealth of great period detail but it is the overriding impression of grinding, unremitting poverty that is most powerful. The story is fairly predictable and is centred on...more
Ciaran Mcfadden
Don't know why it has taken me so long to getting around to reading this book as it has been on my "to read" list for years.
Well eventually did pick it up and read it and glad that I did. Excellent book .. a very gritty and realistic description of working class life in North West England during the late 20's and early 30's.
Very well written, good story and strong characters .. Recommended !!
Tina
The colloquial languaged used by Walter Greenwood adds to the atmosphere of desperation and oppression which permeates throughout this incredible novel. The hopelessness of life and lack of future resonates only too well with the current economic climate, and the characters leap from the page as if people you could have, or might have, met. The book concentrates on the experiences of two children of the Hardcastle family, and the different experiences gender gives to such utter degradation and a...more
Ryan Williams
Hard to get over just how much impact this had, back in its day. Before TV, the Internet, before the kitchen-sink-dramas curdled into tropes, there was this book. It brought the North to the South with the force of a tidal wave.

Oddly fresh, alive, it more than holds its own against Orwell's The Road To Wigan Pier.
Simon
It's summed up on the back as a pretty good novel but, a very important piece of social history. I agree. Like reading English Journey, it is a tragic peek into these stolen lives. It makes me angry to think lives could have been so disregarded. The work these people did in making Britain prosperous should be forgotten when times get rough. Ingratitude. Callous ingratitude. And the tories and this bloody coalition government still have this as their model of how things should be. Fat bosses skim...more
Charlie Trafford
This is a powerful book of grinding poverty in the North of England, set around Hanky Park which no longer exists, its a brutal yet inspiring tale by Salford man Walter Greenwood.
Matt Micucci
So old yet so near to the social issues of today. The situation may have been even more desperate back then, but it sure ain't better now. The description of the man on the dole is still beautiful and relevant today, and harsh reality that man cannot gulp down. Written very well, it's also interesting to see a lot of the phonetic writing of the dialogue of the book.
Paul
A great book of 1930s Salford the neighbouring City to Manchester. It shows how hard the life was in Salford and the Hankinson Park area of Salford when the crash of the late 20s came and how disposable life was for the underclass.

It is very much about love, loss and hope for the future, based on real events.

Great read try it
Catherine Evans
It's grim oop North. No, really... it reads like the Monty Python 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch. It also felt really patronising towards the demographics it was trying to portray... and deciding to write all your dialogue in dialect and then translating it in parentheses does not make for an easy read.
Susan Kent
My brother gave this book to my daughter and said the subject matter is relevant today. He was right - young people hanging round on street corners, no jobs and no prospects. I really enjoyed this, but I did find myself reading it with a northern accent. Recommended.
Paperback Percy London
Aug 31, 2010 Paperback Percy London rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Socialists, northeners
Been meaning to read this book for years. Took me ages to finish it and left me a little disappointed.

Not sure how relevant Larry's ownership of the means of production is these days.

It's grim up north.
Tommy
Good example of what it's like to be poor and have no chance to rise out of your circumstances. Told in relation to a manufacturing town during the depression in early 20th century in England.
Sheila
My family was in this situation during the 20s/30s. My grandfather, a veteran of WWI and service in India, was a single parent to five children after losing my grandmother to childbirth.
Karen
It's amazing to think that this book was written nearly 80 years ago - history repeating itself? A fascinating snapshot of Britain's social history
Deanne
Think this has been done better by other writers in particularly Tressel, reading the dialogue was interesting but it reminded me of my grandparents.
David Hardy
Excellent, Very Good Story, very well written. A real bona-fide classic. I wouldn't hesitate recommend this brilliant book to anyone.
James Bridges
Wonderful... In every way. Recommended by my mother, I put off reading it for far far too long.

Branny
Shaped my view of Manchester?Salford while a medical student in the city
Zehra
A great insight into the world of unemployment in he 1930s.
Heather
An older Penguin classic that still haunts me.
Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2014
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“Altogether, a pleasant place, marred by activities of unpleasant people whose qualities, perhaps, are sad reflections of sadder environments.” 3 likes
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