Robert Edric was born in 1956. This is his memoir of a working class childhood in Sheffield in the 1960s, where he lived with his mother, father, younger sister and brother.
I enjoyed the details of the time he was growing up. I was born in 1969, so missed most of the 1960s and am unfamiliar with how things were back then. He mentions his household sharing three outdoor toilets with a dozen houses! I recall my grandparents having outside toilets, but contained in their own garden and just for their use. I didn’t know shared outside loos was even a thing!
The Second World War was still fresh in people’s minds when Robert was growing up and he writes about an air-raid shelter near his school. By my childhood, these were further back in history but things like ashtrays, Green Shield stamps and collecting cards from packets of tea still prevailed into the 1970s and Robert’s memories triggered some of my own.
Each chapter deals with a theme, a particular moment or topic from his childhood. We read about his father’s wig (toupee!), moving house, various family gatherings, getting into Grammar School, doing a paper round, trips to the cinema, the local working men’s club and so on. These are varying lengths, but easy to read and usually interesting. (I wasn’t so keen on the chapter about fishing.)
I enjoyed reading this, but I think you’d love it even more if you’re from Sheffield or brought up in the 1960s. I’m sure plenty of this book will resonate with you and bring back lots of memories.