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My East End: Memories of Life in Cockney London
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My East End: Memories of Life in Cockney London

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The heart of the East End has always been Tower Hamlets; Gilda O'Neill is enough of a partisan to regard even Hackney as a bit out of bounds. My East End starts with the earliest times--the East of London has always been where dirty industry congregated, downstream from the Court and Parliament, and it has always been where incomers started, from Flemings in the Middle Age ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 28th 2000 by Penguin (first published January 1st 1999)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Andi Gaywood
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: east-end
Having been born in the East End (East Ham) I have always had a fascination with its history and culture. Of course times were hard back in the day with poverty, slums, overcrowding, diseases, low mortality rate and everything else associated with the East End. However there were many positives that are now lost to today's consumerism, corporate dominance and lack of communities.

A line from the book says conditions may be a lot better but there is a sense of loss. There were great things about t
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: friend-rec, at-home
Collected oral (now written) history of the area of London that I am most familiar with because of having a friend live there. Other than the experiences with the Blitz and bombings, the times seem to coincide with those in America, but distanced by about a generation or so.
Novelle Novels
3 out of 5 stars
This is a book that goes over the history of the east end for a long way back. I found it very informative but unfortunately it was abit bity and hard to get into. For me there were some eras that I found interesting and so many stories that break your heart. So much unfortunately that I felt overloaded. If you read this book slowly then I think you will definitely get more out of it.
tom bomp
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating story of the East End, primarily from 1900-1960ish as told by the voices of many people who lived there, the vast majority the poorer working class. Some other people have said there's too much romanticism and I think there definitely is quite a bit but the author tries to be balanced and is at least talking about the loss of actual things (sense of community and just human contact, the general feeling of disconnection as you grow older, feeling of neglect by most of the political cl ...more
Mary O'Leary
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Essentially, an historical account of the author's life in London's East End, from her birth in 1923. The main section of the book covers her childhood memories and the devastation of WW2 which began when she was aged 16. Also, an explanation of the beginnings of the East End in the Middle Ages, when Flemish settlers carried on their crafts and traded there. Huguenots came from France, Jews came from all parts of Europe, Germans too. In the 19th Century, enforced shore leave for the Chinese work ...more
Michael Moseley
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book resonated with various parts of my childhood as I lived on the edge of the east end is Islington before Islington was Islington from birth in 1958 through a marriage in Hackney until I left in the late 1990's. Lot of bits of the history that I remember and the book was a fascinating reflection of the time.

But please stop the nostalgia, it was a dirty, violent cramped existence with no bathrooms outside loo and shit of many different kinds. We all are in a much better place now please d
Bj Dewey
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The streets of East London can still harken some of the imagery the book lends to the reader with just a little imagination; however, if you're at a loss of travels and can't experience it first-hand, you'll find yourself well comforted within your imagination from the images and feelings this book conjures.

Although I was born decades after the author, and thousands of miles away, I still felt a deep connection with the culture and environment represented in this book. I couldn't help but feel
David Flin
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
It's interesting to compare my own recollections of the East End, growing up there from 1953-1969. Sometimes I recognise the recollections of others very strongly. At other times, it sounds that they're talking about somewhere else entirely different. Which I guess shows how variable and unreliable personal recollections of many years ago can be.

It gives vivid pictures; how accurate those pictures are is something beyond my ability to say.
Linda Rowland
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Could be over-generous with stars on this one. My rating my be colored by my trips there and my loss of a good friend whom I visited. Very interesting and more informative than expected view of East End. Lots of history, book type and oral, of the area. It does seem to be written for the Brits. I have made an effort over the years to learn and still failed to know what many things were. Damn, that is a bad sentence.
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Amazing collection of stories and details about the famed East End of London. First section of the book provides a brief history of the area, including well-intentioned but poorly-executed charitable work.
In the second section of the book there are snippits of conversation from those who lived in the area, telling stories about what they ate, how they celebrated, what type of work they had. Incredible stories really paint a picture of what life was like in the early to mid 20th century.
Anne wells
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This I the first time that I have read a book by this author and I wasn't disappointed. It shows how close people in the East end where.
It brought back many memories of my childhood where you could play in the street without any concerns. We're we would go of with our jam butties and not come home until it was dark
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I listened to about half of this long, well-researched book before deciding that I had learned all I wanted to about this side of London. It was pretty interesting with lots of first person interviews.
Sandra De Kock
Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Quotes from old folk who used to live in the east end. Most typically have a bit of a rosy glow. Looking back through tinted glasses I suspect. Does a good job of conveying what life in the east end was like.
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A social history of Cockney London told with warmth, wit and emotion that will have the reader rethinking our so called ideas of community and what it really means....home work for the politicians perhaps? If you will read just one book about the East End make it this one.
Liz C.
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great read, Gilda O'Neill is one of the best ...more
Tina Brophy
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting book. Worth a read if you're into British historical books
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Very interesting book on life in the East End. Social history with personal testimonies. Written with love.
Bloss ♡
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing

There is so much history and so much love in this book; a veritable time capsule!
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book it’s like sitting down with a cup of tea and listening to someone’s wonderful personal memories of a bygone age. Made up of a collection of interviews with numerous people who were born and lived in London’s East End from the beginning of the 20th century until the 1960s regeneration scheme which saw communities broken up and moved out of their beloved old East End. Having been born in the East End myself I found the traditions and antidotes of these wonderful memories heartwar ...more
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