This insightful and gripping book is published today. Here is an excerpt from the introduction by the author, Corinne Sweet:
“Nottinghamshire, 1930. A county in the Midlands, right in the centre of England, with a heavily industrialised city at its heart. Nottingham was known for its tightly-packed, soot-encrusted, red-brick back-to-back terraced houses; smoke curling over cooling towers, barges on canals, trams and buses cutting through cobbled streets. Narrow lanes led to industrial yards and huge factories, and teemed with street sellers, and horses and drays led by cloth-capped workers. People made their way around town on foot or pushing sit-up-and-beg bicycles.
When Money on’t Table begins, Nottingham was renowned for its manufacturing, and for three household names in particular: Boots the Chemist, Players cigarettes and Raleigh bicycles. There were other industries as well, names like Avery, Austin Reed and – in nearby Derby – Rolls-Royce. It was the heartland of England and chimed with national pride.
It has changed so much in today’s post-industrial world, but there are still some amazing older people in Nottingham who can speak about their lives and times working in the now disappeared factories. This the gritty stories in this book we follow the lives of Derek, Betty, Albert, Pauline, Dorreen and Bob, from 1928 to about 1960.
They have a lot in common: they all grew up in hardship. The toilet was at the bottom of the yard, they had no running water, no central heating or even electricity in some cases, and certainly no TV, phone or other mod cons. It was a time of deprivation and hard work – most left school at 13 or 14 to put money on the kitchen table. But it was also an era of community, of sharing and caring, and learning to make do on very little.
The men and women in this book were resilient and faced life with good humour, despite experience of challenging events such as war, disease, disability, inequality, poverty and the death of loved ones. Hearing their fascinating stories is to be brought into direct contact with a way of life in the city now forever gone.”
Corinne Sweet, from the introduction to Money on’t Table – Grit, Work and Family Pride