Pinafore Street - A Fenland Childhood, by Kathleen Lord

Pinafore Street - A Fenland Childhood, by Kathleen Lord

Book published by Leonie Press in 2004, 128 pages. Paperback (N7565X1)

This book was originally called 'Pinafore Street' because when the author wrote her account in the 1970s she didn't did not want to pinpoint her childhood home too clearly, to avoid giving unwitting offence to anyone mentioned in its pages! However, she was persuaded that it would have much more historical significance if she revealed that she actually lived in Freiston Road, Boston (the original title was however retained). The book thus provides a fascianting insight into life in Boston in the 1920's, and will delight anyone with an interest in the social history of the town and wider area.
From the rear side cover: Kathleen Lord (nee Hall) was born in 1914 and spent most of her childhood in Boston, Lincolnshire. Her father worked in the building trade and the family moved to a claustrophobically small two-up, two-down cottage in Freiston Road when she was four. It had a shared cold water tap in the front garden of the house next door and a two-seater privy, complete with fly-papers, at the bottom of the garden. This was Kathleen's refuge when she wanted to read her comics in peace and the -embarrassing setting for her mother's mortifying encounter with the 'dillyman'.

In 'vivid and witty detail, this charming book describes everyday life in the town and surrounding fens seen through the eyes of a young girl. The story covers the aftermath of the First World War and the 1920s, and brings a long-gone era sharply back into focus. Kathleen writes about the neighbours, children's games, fights with her little sister, her soft-hearted father's reluctant tellings-off, visits to The Pictures for tuppence, excursions to the local drains and rivers, trips "Down Below", school­days (complete with liberty bodices, serge frocks and pinafores for the girls), the thrills of Empire Day, Sunday School treats and the Fair, learning to swim in the gender-segregated Corporation baths and wobbling her way to cycling prowess.

She describes junior meetings of the Sons of Temperance, her time in the Girl Guides, digging and delving on her father's allotment, the visiting anglers from Sheffield, Christmas rituals, and a stay with relations in Manchester when her father could find no work in Boston. When she was 19, Kathleen moved to Stamford, where she met her husband. She is remembered with affection by generations of students to whom she taught shorthand and typing at evening classes. In her retirement she penned these beautifully-written memoirs, which will be read with nostalgic pleasure by her con­temporaries - and with great interest by those who love local and social history...

Condition of the book is generally excellent. The covers are clean and bright, the spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is an old price printed and a small price sticker, both on the rear side cover.