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Twopence to Cross the Mersey / Liverpool Miss (Helen Forrester Bind Up 1) [Paperback]

Helen Forrester
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 Aug 2010 Helen Forrester Bind Up 1

First and second parts of Helen Forresters poignant autobiography.

Twopence was the price of the ferry-boat between Liverpool and Birkenhead. A tiny sum but an impassable barrier for the poor of Liverpool - desperate to escape the city's grinding poverty.

When Helen Forrester's father went bankrupt in 1930, she and her six siblings were forced from their comfortable middle-class life into utmost destitution in Depression-ridden Liverpool. The running of the household and the care of her younger siblings all fell to twelve-year old Helen. In slum surroundings and with little food or support from her feckless parents, Helen was forced on her own resources.
Told with compassion, humour and a remarkable lack of self-pity, this is a fascinating picture of life in Britain before the Welfare State and the moving story one young girl's courage.

NB:Liverpool Miss is in the same binding and starts on page 169


Frequently Bought Together

Twopence to Cross the Mersey / Liverpool Miss (Helen Forrester Bind Up 1) + By the Waters of Liverpool / Lime Street at Two (Helen Forrester Bind Up 2) + Liverpool Miss
Price For All Three: 19.81

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (5 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007279787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007279784
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘It was the biography that I would have written if my parents had not been given benefits, if they’d had to rely on parish hand outs … [I] want to press this book into your hands and go, “You must read this”.’ Caitlin Moran

‘Remarkable that from so bleak and unloving a background came a writer of such affectionate understanding and unsettling honesty’ Sunday Telegraph

‘What makes this writer’s self-told tale so memorable?… An absolute recall, a genius for the unforgettable detail, the rare chance of subject’
The Good Book Guide

'Should be long and widely read as an extraordinary human story and social document' Observer

Book Description

The classic true story of a Liverpool childhood.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this and you'll read the rest... 18 Jan 2008
Format:Paperback
Since reading this autobiography, I have gone on the buy and read every book this woman has written - including the next three volumes of the autobiography itself. It is inspirational and incredibly unusual, in that Helen Forrester tells her fascinating story without the slightest hint of self-pity. Twopence To Cross The Mersey is the first volume of her autobiography and describes how Helen and her family - her humiliated and bankrupted father, her 'difficult' mother and her six siblings arrive in depression-ridden, pre-World-War-Two Liverpool, hoping to make a life for themselves, only to be plunged into the depths of the most abject poverty and penury imaginable. Kept at home to keep house for the family of nine, Helen desperately seeks a way of finishing - and furthering her education, only to have every attempt thwarted by her shiftless parents and ungrateful brothers and sisters. I could not put this book down until I had devoured every last page, and immediately grabbed the next three volumes - all equally as fascinating. Without a doubt the best autobiography I have read.
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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liverpool in the thirties 14 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Some of the happiest memories of my childhood feature the ferries that criss-crossed the Mersey between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It was a great treat when my grandparents took me down to the Woodside landing stage. We would buy our tickets and walk down the floating gangway to wait for the Mountwood or the Woodchurch to ferry us to Liverpool. The boats were impregnated with the stench of stale cigarette smoke, beer and cheap whisky, and unsanitary lavatories, but the ten minutes it took to sail between Birkenhead and Liverpool passed all too quickly. I have read "Twopence to Cross the Mersey" countless times since its publication but the stark fact that Helen Forrester's family were so poor that the least expensive means of travelling this short distance in order to reach the Wirral seaside town of Hoylake where the author had been born and where her grandmother still lived never fails to give me a jolt. Read "Twopence to Cross the Mersey" and you will share my sense of shock from first page to the last.
Helen Forrester introduces herself as a plain-as-a-pikestaff twelve year-old, the eldest of seven children. The degree of poverty in which the Forrester family live is impossible to describe without revealing key elements of the storyline. Suffice to say that the Forresters were not only poor in the sense that the majority of Liverpool's working-class were poor in the Depression of the early nineteen-thirties. The middle-class family from south-west England that arrived at Lime Street Station in the hope of recovering from bankruptcy were submerged into an underclass of malnourished, ragged, and unwashed individuals wholly dependent on the support of the Liverpool Public Assistance Committee, known to Helen's younger siblings as 'Mr Parish'.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liverpool in the thirties 14 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Some of the happiest memories of my childhood feature the ferries that criss-crossed the Mersey between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It was a great treat when my grandparents took me down to the Woodside landing stage. We would buy our tickets and walk down the floating gangway to wait for the Mountwood or the Woodchurch to ferry us to Liverpool. The boats were impregnated with the stench of stale cigarette smoke, beer and cheap whisky, and unsanitary lavatories, but the ten minutes it took to sail between Birkenhead and Liverpool passed all too quickly. I have read "Twopence to Cross the Mersey" countless times since its publication but the stark fact that Helen Forrester's family were so poor that the least expensive means of travelling this short distance in order to reach the Wirral seaside town of Hoylake where the author had been born and where her grandmother still lived never fails to give me a jolt. Read "Twopence to Cross the Mersey" and you will share my sense of shock from the first page to the last.
Helen Forrester introduces herself as a plain-as-a-pikestaff twelve year-old, the eldest of seven children. The degree of poverty in which the Forrester family live is impossible to describe without revealing key elements of the storyline. Suffice to say that the Forresters were not only poor in the sense that the majority of Liverpool's working-class were poor in the Depression of the early nineteen-thirties. The middle-class family from south-west England that arrived at Lime Street Station in the hope of recovering from bankruptcy were submerged into an underclass of malnourished, ragged, and unwashed individuals wholly dependent on the support of the Liverpool Public Assistance Committee, known to Helen's younger siblings as 'Mr Parish'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read full of history! 20 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
I'm far too young to know what life could have been like for Helen Forrester, but felt as though I was there with her. I was the eldest of a large family and know how hard times can be in but also all the joys as you make the most of what you do have. I wouldn't pretend my life was anything like Helen's, the Forrester family were a very poor family living in Liverpool at the early part of the twentieth century.

Reading Helen's book was much better and far more interesting than learning history at school and it is her story and yet it is also a history book. Her fascinating account of her life in the thirties, gives the reader a real insight into what life was like for a poor family in Liverpool. Helen never gave up hope of an educated and better life. It is a book that you don't want to put down until you have read to the end.

A brilliant book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Again not a can't put down book but enjoyable just the same. Gives you an insight to life in Liverpool at that time from the poorer side of life
Published 22 days ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tribute to Ms.Forrester's strength of character.
I was unable to put this book down. A family of gentlefolk suddenly find themselves penniless and without hope in a city already brimming with depressed, out of work people. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Lizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend!
I found this book really hard to put down! Although it was a very poignant story of extreme hardship and suffering, it was told with humour. Read more
Published 1 month ago by choddlles
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to Kindle
Got this for my aunt, she loved it - her first foray onto Kindle and she loved the technology as much as the story.
Published 1 month ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read
Glimpse into impoverished life in Britain pre World War 2 & before the luxury of today's Benefit society. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs R Hossack
5.0 out of 5 stars Twopence to cross the Mersey
Another down to earth fascinating, compelling story by Helen Forrester, one which must be read through before putting it down
Published 2 months ago by Beachlady
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Loads of history of Liverpool couldn't put it down Very sad and heart warming at times Will read all of her books
Published 2 months ago by Martine Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
How it was and classic, Times have changed but people do not realise how hard it was and not that long ago.
Well worth the whole story
Published 3 months ago by Mr John M Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
A very sad book to think people lived in such poverty is hard to believe ,how this family have survived is a miracle in itself but a good book not the best I've read but still... Read more
Published 3 months ago by stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book.
As a Liverpool lady in my late 60's, I could relate to this book. The places were real to me. The problems I knew about although I was fortunate enough to not have to cope with... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Ashford
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