Shadows of the Workhouse is a book by British author Jennifer Worth ( ). It formed the basis for the second series of the television drama Call the. The sequel to Jennifer Worth’s New York Times bestselling memoir and the basis for the PBS series Call the MidwifeWhen twenty-two-year-old Jennifer Worth, fr. Buy Shadows Of The Workhouse: The Drama Of Life In Postwar London by Jennifer Worth (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low .

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I expected more of the same from Volume 2 as I eagerly started reading. He wanted to break the spirit of this bright, intelligent and lively girl whose only crime was wanting a father and a family who would love her. The surprise witness at the end was good too. Her memoirs of living and working as a nurse and midwife in the East of London in the ‘s are some of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

Jane began sharing her fantasy with other girls at the workhouse. The stories she tells are interesting and sobering in light of the cruel and ignorant statements I see today about those who, for a variety of reasons, cannot make the transition to the economy of the 21st century.

Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth – Sam Still Reading

There was scarce ever a fire in the grate unless the coal could be scavenged and the kids went ragged and barefoot — but they were free and together and loved. Poverty was frankly regarded as a moral defect. Apart from that, many of them had been in the workhouses for so long, subject to the discipline and routine, that they were completely institutionalized, and could not have adjusted to the outside world Jul 26, Kingfan30 rated it liked it Shelves: The second section focuses on Sister Monica Joan.

In this book, she revisits the setting and many of the same people. But it did have a ring of finality about it, a fate every bit as terminal as a revolution tumbrel. Even though the “work houses” were officially abolished inthey remained in actual practice long after that time, and they functioned under different Jennifer Worth is a first rate story teller. The characters are truly memorable. I was completely saddened by the cruelty of poverty in the past yet at the same time engaged by the wholesomeness of the character traits in those whose stories were being told.


Given that it was socially unacceptable for a young woman to be pregnant and unmarried, her family shunned her and she had no choice but enter the workhouse.

After the second season of the show ended, I was eager for more tales of Jenny, Cynthia, Chummy, Trixie and the nuns. Spoilers This wasn’t quite good as Call the Midwife … I still really liked it but it was missing some of the charm and worhh of the first book.

These were the standards of society, wkrkhouse by rich and poor alike, and the workhouses merely reflected this. The death of children was taken for granted. It was kind of terrifying that such atrocities only occurred in very recent history.

Shadows Of The Workhouse : The Drama Of Life In Postwar London

In the s Jennifer Worth became a midwife attached to a convent in the East End. In a fourth volume of memoirs ‘In the Jennkfer of Life’, published inWorth reflects on her later experiences caring for the terminally ill.

Reportedly, she had been conceived as the result of an affair between her mother and a man of high social standing.

I loved workhkuse feisty Anglican Nuns – serving the poor community, seeing life in all its harsh crude reality, with wisdom and selfless devotion to their calling to bring some degree of social justice for women in the Docklands of London. This was horrific reading at times, but interesting. Perhaps wirkhouse years with the nuns have made her more forgiving than I find myself able to be — especially in the light of the epilogue, which shows the shadow looming still, certainly as recently as the late s.

I thought of them as a Victorian institution, and in a way they were, but it’s easy to forget that inthe “Victorian era” was astonishingly recent — and the workhouses did not close until the s. I loved the cockney witness and the confused judge, their exchange was hilarious. It makes this book rather more dark than the first one, although Worth does try to give a balanced account and highlight some of the positive aspects, such as they are; nevertheless, it is a bleak picture.

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I suppose the intentions in developing the workhouses could have been good ones; but as with many ideas which are based on good intentions, the workhouses turned out to be a horrible, dehumanizing experience for those who were corralled inside of them… mothers, fathers and children… all housed separately so they could not even offer each other the smallest comfort. This is a poignant and heart-wrenching memoir of frighteningly rapid social change c. I doubt meek Wormhouse confided in her about things she thought were humiliating and best forgotten.


However, what altered my opinion and gave it the extra star was the lengthy account of Mr Collett’s life in the final chapters. What does that make you think of? As children often do. Just send us an email and we’ll put the best up on the site. View all 29 comments.

This book also contains searing political commentary, accurate historical information, the joys and terror of birth and families, and the best and worst of humanity. It was such a painful story. Thousands in our cities cannot find adequate housing. She is writing the life stories of people whom she met 40 plus years ago.

I loved the use of humor to lighten the tone of otherwise depressing stories, the chatter of the housewives and wordplay of street peddlers, the banter of the young nurses and the grace of the nuns was charming. It makes one shudder to think of it. Hunger and hardships were expected. Worth’s book made me cry in a railway carriage The author chronicles a lot of sadness of the poor in this book and it will take a few days for some of it to sink in, and parts of the book really affected me emotionally.

Contact the Imperial War Museum in London.

Shadows of the Workhouse

Notify me of new posts via email. Did they really give her this much info during their conversations or did she elaborate on their tales?

Poverty was frankly regarded as a moral defect……” There were many moving stories in this book but the story Ms.

Last modified: December 31, 2019