The Back Woods
A fascinating slice of social history - Jennifer Worth's tales of being a midwife in 1950s London
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.
About the Author
Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and was later ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, then the Marie Curie Hospital, also in London. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about twenty-five years. Jennifer died in May 2011 after a short illness, leaving her husband Philip, two daughters and three grandchildren. Her books have all been bestsellers.
The Back Woods
I loved this book and the rest of the series. It was an accurate glimpse into a portion of our history that we just do not get to see. These women were determined to make changes to improve the welfare of women having babies, how lucky we are that they existed.
Makes me grateful for modern obstetric medicine
The author lived and worked as a midwife in the 1950's in London's Docklands. It is a glimpse in to the sad, harsh and often heroic lives and lifestyle of a past generation. Docklands are now undergoing boutique re-development, if only the current generation of home owners and tourists knew of the ghosts of the past in areas they now work and live.
Great insight into the tragic circumstances of the poor and those that survived incredible hardship. Makes you appreciate today.
Bought this for my book club. It was perfect because each chapter is its own story so you can put it down and pick it up later, and it was an interesting and easy read for busy people. Everyone liked the book (rare!) and we had a great discussion on all the topics raised in the book. It has funny stories, sad stories and almost unbeleivable stories in it - what an amazing life the author had. I loved the TV series and also loved the book. Recommended.
Your service is unbeatable. Ordered on Sunday and it arrived at the local PO on Wednesday. Thank you
A well written book giving the reader a much better understanding of the 40's and 50's in England
I couldn't put this down once I started it, Jennifer tells the story so well, can't wait to read the next book!!
Wonderfully written, gives a true insight into the dificulties and struggles experienced by the families who lived in the East End and also the true dedication of the Midwives.
Worth's books are full of fascinating social history: about living conditions in east London, the scale of poverty and violence, the realities of postwar medicine and the workhouse - NEW STATESMAN
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 6th March 2008
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 13.0 x 19.7 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.26
Edition Number: 1