Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Streets - Anthony Quinn

Put a Norfolk naive in an East London environment and step back to see the results.
David Wildeblood arrives for his new job as a novice journalist after his father calls in a favour to obtain the post for him. He's prepared to give it a proper chance as well, taking his investigative duties seriously.
His boss is gradually building a social map of the area, similar to General Booth's, and asks him to interview as many people as he can in the area.
Easier said than done when his accent marks him out immediately and he can also read and write. He's seen as a toff and mistrusted immediately.
Striking up a friendship with a local barrow boy makes access to the tenements easier and he learns about life from the tenants.
As he delves deeper into local life it becomes clear that there are a group of slumlords overseeing the properties who refuse to be called to account.
In an illustration of social uprising we get to see how the riots may have come about and also learn of a very radical solution proposed to help with the regeneration of the area.
There's a little bit of romance, a lot of gallantry, raw east end life and some sad stories as the book goes on.
It's a statement on the era with a fair amount of research behind it which makes for entertaining reading if you're a fan of Dr Barnardo, General Booth, Father Jo and the sisters that make up Call the midwife.

Publisher - Jonathan Cape

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