The Stepney Doorstep Society

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Member Reviews

This is a fascinating and interesting read. This is a really well researched book about the strength of women and their roles at home during the Second World War. It is really well written and is an insightful read.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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This is an incredibly well-researched book, focusing on some amazing women all with different stories to tell. Alongside this scattered throughout are old-fashioned remedies, pearls of wisdom and recipes from a bygone era. There are inspirational stories and stories of heartbreak based on real-life interviews which the author conducted with the women in their later lives. It is a very poignant read, full of sadness and loss but then alongside it are moments of humour and vitality, It brings home the hardships of wartime Britain and the resourcefulness and fortitude of the women who lived through it. For me, it also highlighted something which is sadly being lost nowadays and that is a sense of community and a willingness to live ‘collectively not individually’. We can learn a lot from these women, they have a story to tell and it’s one we should all listen to, and take lessons from.
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I really enjoyed this book, in fact it quite transported me. Very well researched and really felt like I got an insight into life in the east end
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I really enjoyed the woman's tales in this fascinating insight into life in the East End of London during the war year's. A well researched and factual book.
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A fascinating insight into life in wartime Britain. A huge amount of research must have gone into this book and I for one definitely appreciate it. For anyone who has more than a passing interest in wartime Britain, I'd highly recommend this book for a look at how real people coped and thrived.
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What a very knowledgeable book to help you understand the old days of the East end and meet some of the amazing characters. and hear the stories from  Girl Walker, Beattie, Minksy Joan & Glady's.

   Some of these ladies and others were the Matriarchs of the east end of London in their crossover pinnies and strong arms from hard manual work they feed & keep their children in almost impossible ways. They live in poverty and fight daily to keep their dignity and cleanliness.
These ladies each tell their story of their daily struggle to survive and some of the high jinx they get up to.

This book made me laugh and cry but above all, it helped me to understand. The lives they led, the fight for survival and the sheer strength of these wonderful characters.
Thank you NetGalley xx
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Nearly finished this - it is SUCH a great book. So many inspiring and strong women from the past - the truth in the stories is so heart breaking - this is a book all generations should read and take note from.

thanks for the opportunity to read. Absolutely loving it :)

full review to come on blog
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What a thoroughly enjoyable book to anyone interested in life in wartime Britain.  The Stepney Doorstop Society is a fascinating read is based on first hand accounts from women of the East End and a great insight to their hard lives.  
An excellent read that makes you appreciate the life we have now.  Highly recommended.
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What a fantastic book I have read here I was gripped and it was so well written it was a insight to how people coped in the wars and we should be thankful what they went through during this time .Definitely deserves a 5 star rating .
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This is a memoir that takes a fascinating peek into the lives of London’s East End women, both during peacetime and throughout the dark days of the Second World War.

Join the unsung women who not only held things together during some of the darkest days in Great Britain’s history, but who fought numerous battles of their own on the home front, in an effort to improve their communities. Poverty was no stranger to these gutsy women, but their ingenuity knew no bounds!

There are the usual stories of women in the community who were the ones to go to if you were in any kind of trouble - the child minder, the abortionist, the midwife, the one who would lay out the dead, or act as counsellor in family feuds. There are also some moving stories, not least the Bethnal Green tube disaster in 1943, where over 170 civilians were crushed to death trying to escape an air raid. Everybody in the community knew someone who was killed in that tragedy, but it wasn’t spoken about afterwards for fear it would lower morale, particularly to a community already suffering the worst that the blitz could throw at them. They just got straight back on with their daily lives. It does make you wonder though, how many of them suffered from flashbacks and mental health issues resulting from the inability to speak about it.

I think we have much to learn from these resourceful women - they had little in the way of material possessions but they were happy, making the best of what life had thrown at them, they were definitely made of strong stuff!

From the street markets and the pedlars plying their wares, to the children playing hop scotch in the street, to the aroma of oxtail stew, if you enjoy social history, you’ll love this one.
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This is a meticulously researched and simply told story of the matriarchs who lives in the East End during the wars. 
I was particularly interested as my family is from the East End and I worked as a social worker visiting the Stepney Jewish day centre, but this book told me much I didn’t know.
Thompson centres it around the strong characters who lived there including Minksy who worked as a singer and seamstress In the rag trade.
Her accessible account brings home the horror of the air raids and Anderson shelters, and the tragedy of the disaster at Bethnal Green tube station.
It also brings home the grinding poverty of the East End of London as well as the incredible community spirit and resourcefulness  of the women who lived there.
This is  something of a nostalgic look at a time which - although hard - had the social cohesion so lacking in today’s property development, selfish  society.
The author writes as a social historian so you have to be interested in this era and place but it is beautifully evocative.
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