I purchased this book specifically because I am a first generation Australian. I was born in Sydney and grew up with my English mother, grandmother and great grandmother who died when I was eighteen years old. I remember hearing all kinds of fascinating stories about London especially working class London which is what my family were. And when I was in my early twenties I went to London. Since then I have lived on and off out of Australia for a total of eighteen years and it all began in London.
Mayhews London is extraordinary because it is written so clearly by the author who had a sharp eye and a fine memory. The day to day descriptions of working class Londoners is nothing short of fascinating. How they survived, what they did for entertainment and especially the invented language they used so that upper classes could not comprehend what they were speaking about. In my youth it was known as 'pig latin' so when we spoke we dropped the first letter of every word and added it to the end of the word with ay attached. Eg. allcay imhay = call him. The colour plates are especially wonderful and overall this is one of those books which is so compelling that I became immersed in the atmosphere of the daily lives of the era. And I had the good fortune to live in a warehouse in Tooley Street London from 1974 -1977 which was one of the main areas described in this book. And now it has all gone - completely. This book brought it all back to me and I give it my highest recommendation. Pilgarlic - aka Bruce Hart.