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January 17 , 2010

Bombsites and Lollipops - My 1950s East End Childhood

My 1950s East End Childhood


World War Two is finally over. Millions all over the country are starting to wonder if peacetime really is much of an improvement on the War. Food shortages, endless queues, power cuts, rationing and freezing winters make it extremely difficult to make ends meet as husbands return from battlefields to families they hardly know. Yet some East Enders are living a bombed out damp and squalid Hackney slum, one family are leading a life of luxury, a loadsamoney world funded by illegal betting, where virtually everything is available, thanks to a thriving black market. The Hyams family has a retinue of unofficial servants: a chauffeur, a cleaner and an army of delivery men. They take seaside holidays in posh hotels and dine on the finest foods and delicacies money can buy...but at the core of their daily life, an ever-growing nightmare lurks, threatening to wreck their luxurious existence. In this honest and sincere memoir, Jacky Hyams revisits the 'live for today' world of her childhood, a world where money was no object, growing up in a household underpinned by betting, booze and bribes. From stories of her parents partying with the Krays in the East End of old, to the optimistic swinging sixties of London's West End, this is the intimate story of a unique childhood, set against the backdrop of squalid, post-War Hackney.
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