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Farewell to the East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives

(The Midwife Trilogy #3)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  14,702 ratings  ·  1,214 reviews
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 cov ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Phoenix (first published 2009)
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Wendy I would say yes. I read the Shadow of the Workhouse and I did not care for that one ass much . But there is nothing from that book you need to know in…moreI would say yes. I read the Shadow of the Workhouse and I did not care for that one ass much . But there is nothing from that book you need to know in order to read the last one.(less)
Jennifer It's just a trick with language. If I rewrite the telling of the story a bit, it makes sense!

Each of the three diners paid 10 shillings, for a total o…more
It's just a trick with language. If I rewrite the telling of the story a bit, it makes sense!

Each of the three diners paid 10 shillings, for a total of 30 shillings.
The meal was actually 25 shillings, so the waiter received 5 shillings in change. He told them the meal was actually 27 shillings and gave them each a shilling back. The waiter kept the two leftover shillings.

25 shillings - paid to restaurant
3 shillings - paid to diners
2 shillings - kept by waiter

25 + 2 = 27, with 3 leftover as change for the diners.(less)

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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  14,702 ratings  ·  1,214 reviews

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Blimey, this memoir was bleak.

Jennifer Worth's third book about her years serving as a midwife in London's East End in the 1950s was much darker than the first two. It was well-written and the stories were all compelling, but it covered some serious stuff, including babies who died during delivery, botched abortions, children killed by tuberculosis, a father who prostituted his daughter on a ship, and the Contagious Diseases Acts.

I need to pause here to explain how horrified I was to hear about
Petra X's driving in a Mustang GT to Key West
This isn't like Jennifer Worth's first two books in the series, The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times and Shadows of the Workhouse. They were sweet memoirs of how hard it was in times gone by, but there were rays of sunshine, love and jollity to enliven the days. The books were fairly faithfully filmed as a sugar-candy feelgood somewhat addictive series.

This last book was filmed in very much the same manner but was not faithful to the book. It was quite a surprise to see that Wort
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction, memoir
I have been thinking about what I want to say about this series. First of all, I have to give a caution to my friends who my want to read these books. They are not for the feint of heart! They are full of some very descriptive harsh realities of life, particularly for that time and place in history. I was once harshly criticized at a book group because I did not finish a book that was too brutal and ugly. The person who chose the book accused me of having my head in the sand. That book was ficti ...more
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teenagers, nurses, social workers, care workers
In this third book, Jennifer Worth largely reverts to the format of ‘daily’ life based around the life of the convent, and some of the more memorable, less straightforward, deliveries that she and her fellow midwives were called upon to perform. She doesn’t entirely abandon her portrayal of extreme social hardship, so graphically and vividly portrayed her second book, “Shadows of the Workhouse.’

It is that innate ability flowing forth, to communicate with such graphic, vivid, convincing, and comp
4.5 stars - Spoilers

Really enjoyed it. The stories were engrossing, the people were fascinating, and the 1950s East End setting was easy to imagine and immerse into.

Random Thoughts:

-I preferred the format of this one compared to the second book, there was a lot more focus on Jenny's experiences, her patients, and midwifery in general.

-I enjoyed getting to know more about Cynthia, she was a bit of a non-character in the earlier books… All that I knew about her was that she was nice and had a cal
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Imo, this deserves 3.5 stars, but it felt wrong rounding it up to 4 stars as it was slightly less light-hearted than the first two volumes of the trilogy.

In this 3rd and last volume of the “Call the Midwife” series, Jennifer Worth ties the loose ends of her first two volumes describing the hardships and joys of nursing in the East End in the 1950s.

The author was obviously a firm believer in the progress made in midwifery from the Midwives Act, 1902 onwards. It’s wonderful to think that over th
I would recommend this series all around. They’ve made me laugh and cry. I love them and hate that they have come to an end.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
I mistakenly read this one before Shadows of the Workhouse! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is obviously in the same vein as Call the Midwife. People who love the BBC series should know, however, that not all the stories in the memoir end up as resolved and happy as depicted in the series (which I love). Even some of the disturbing stories are more disturbing when you read them! However, though the essays on the "ship's woman" and back-street abortion are emotionally trying to read, I feel ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked this. Even though this is nonfiction, it reads like fiction....and I mean that in a good way. This was fascinating. These midwives working, helping, enduring. This covered so many major issues, like poverty, birth control, abortion, unwanted babies, adoption and more. Life as a woman was hard and they were desperate at times. It was so sad, but this was also surprising and heartwarming. There is always need for service, just because times change, there will always be needs to be met.
Eliza Crewe
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was definitely weaker than the first two, but that's to be expected, as it's an autobiography and I'm sure she already used all the best stories in the first two books. It didn't matter, however, I still found it fascinating. ...more
Jamie Collins
This is the last book in the trilogy which has been developed by the BBC into the television show “Call the Midwife”. This book more closely resembles the first one, with an emphasis on stories about the nurses and the nuns of Nonnatus House, who delivered thousands of babies in the slums of London’s East End in the 1950’s.

Although I enjoyed this series very much, I am a little uncomfortable with the author’s intimate narration of events which were outside her personal experience. Since this is
This memoir continues on with the recollections of Jennifer Worth and the other midwives living at Nonnatus House. There are three books in this series. After reading book #2, which was incredibly bleak and depressing, I wasn't certain if I wanted to continue on with the series. Thankfully this final book had a much better mix of humorous stories, along with the devastating tales of suffering, disease and poverty. Although I am a fan of the tv series, I realized the scripts didn't precisely foll ...more
As with the first book, The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times, I enjoyed most of the stories. I have a very different view of some of the issues brought up, and cannot agree with this:

"The Criminal Abortion Act 1803 was repealed in 1967. Knowing that I had been a midwife I was sometimes asked if I approved of it or not. My reply was that I did not regard it as a moral issue, but as a medical issue. A minority of women will always want an abortion. Therefore it must be done properly
Diane S ☔
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another entertaining and insightful book by Worth. Sociological issues are explored, babies are born and some die, and the nuns and midwives persevere. As a whole this was a wonderful series. I really got a feel for the East end of London in the forties and fifties, the poverty, the sickness and the strength of the sisters and the midwives. I am going to miss the antics of Sister Monica Joan, the coarseness of Sister Evangeline and the quiet wisdom of Sister Julienne. This series was such a perf ...more
Kim A
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
My favorite of the three in the series as it was darker and not as sugary.

Really enjoyed hearing stories of the nuns with Sister Monica Joan in particular who is as entertaining in books as she is on the BBC TV series of Call the Midwife.

Heart wrenching to read at times especially the ship's daughter and also the botched abortion but it made me better appreciate the fact I was born female in the late 60s.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming, heart wrenching,informative, absolute delight!
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing series. I'm so sad to say good-bye to Nonnatus House and its lovely midwives. ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Call the Midwife series it was hard to finish the 3rd and final book in the trilogy. I wanted to turn the page and still be able to read the next story. Each chapter was a mini-story; I easily wanted more.

But the 3rd book will bring back the crazy, unexpected births that you read about in the first book. Jennifer Lee saw some amazing things living in the poor, East End Docks of England right after World War II. From an utterly poor woman, with no clothes, or bed to her name, giving births
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gone are the happy baby stories, gone are the bitesize glimpses into a past full of amazing titbits that are so fun to read. The first two books focus on the joy of babies being born with some tears but mostly laughs and fun of Nonatus house
The writing style changes, the outlook changes the length of the stories changes............and I love it. This book is filled with essays about the East End.
Essays about how devastating tuberculosis really is in an wonderful intergenerational story. It has
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm in love!!! Wow what a fantastic way to end the trilogy. One thing grab tissues if you watch the PBS show then tissues are a must. I fell in love with the show and was running to my kindle when I found out it was a book. I read it in a two day span devouring every page. I gave it as a gift to everyone I love and reads like me. Book two was ok not great dragged a bit but now I get why. It paved the way for the final installment. Each page made me either laugh, cry, laugh some more or it just w ...more
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a review of all three books in her memoir series.

Things I Liked:
These stories are incredible! I wish I'd read the books before watching the series, but I was still blown away! It is absolutely amazing and awful and beautiful the kinds of conditions these women who were giving birth lived in. The midwives are incredible as well, but I read some of these stories and just felt almost embarrassed at how much I have and how whiny I can be about it. A wonderful look at a specific time and pl
Novelle Novels
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
4 out of 5 stars
This is the third book in the series which I didn’t realise until after I started it which makes sense as it’s so different from the first one. The call the midwife first book is mainly about the job of the maternity nurse from the east end post war and all that entails focusing on birth and the author starting out in nonnatus house but this one is so different and focused on more hard hitting things that affected the east end such as TB and backstreet abortions which makes this
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
After watching the first season of Call the Midwife on Netflix, I very much wanted to read Jennifer Worth's memoirs upon which the show is based. They did not disappoint although I will say that bits of it are rough reading. Some of the situations that the midwives of Nonnatus House came upon were just absolutely horrific and stomach churning. With that in mind, I highly recommend this as a read, especially if you are interested in the period/subject.

This is the third installment so if you are a
As always Worth's book does nothing but excel. I loved it, as I loved the previous 2 books. It had all of the characteristic charm and fun, while still having the stories that were sad and touching. I particularly loved the story about the "ships woman" as it led to Chummy meeting her future husband, while also revealing the dirty secrets of some ships. I also loved Meg and Mave and their constant raving about "crossed tubes" and other such crazy illnesses.
It was tied up quite well, giving a br
Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
So much history, so sad to see it end. Jennifer Worth has such a talent and appreciation for the people of the East End, and the midwives and the nuns and it shows in her writing. I still want to know if she takes liberty in adding to all the inner thoughts of the people but even if she does it still rings true. I might be an awful person but I get so frustrated with Sister Monica Joan. I mean, I get that we find out something that redeems her but she's still so self centered and irritating with ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fascinating instalment into life as a midwife, in East London circa 1950s. The chapter that stands out for me (and I thought I was pretty much unshockable these days was The Captain’s Daughter. My chin was scraping on the floor whole time I read that one! As usual I was in love with Chummy - delighted with her outcome! I love the final chapter too actually, where the author gave us a little bit about what happened to the Midwifes and Sisters after the book ended. But this book isn’t the ...more
I've been a great fan of the BBC tv series which has picked bits of stories from each of Jennifer Worth's books. It is nice to be able to read more of her excellently described memories of midwifery in post-war East End London.

Also unlike the tv series which sends characters away and brings them back, Jennifer finishes off her friends' stories with what happened to each of them and where they were at he time of writing. There are both happy and sad endings, but it brings it all to a nice close.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent memoir of being a midwife in London's East End in the 20th Century.

Well known to all fans of "Call the Midwife", but if you didn't watch, as I didn't, don't let it put you off.

It's an interesting, well written, and, at times, shocking book.

Highly recommended.
Becky Loader
I am hooked on the PBS series "Call the Midwife," so I had to read the three books written by Worth. Some of the stories on the series are from the books, so I felt as if I had a little more background information. This third volume was weaker than the first two. ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This concludes the events of the midwives and nuns of Nonnatus House. A bit more graphic than the two previous books in the series, but I enjoyed listening to this book.
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Worth, born Jennifer Lee while her parents were on holiday in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was raised in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. After leaving school at the age of 14, she learned shorthand and typing and became the secretary to the head of Dr Challoner's Grammar School. She then trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and moved to London to receive training to become a midwife.


Other books in the series

The Midwife Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times
  • Shadows of the Workhouse

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