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Up West: Voices from the Streets of Post-War London [Paperback]

Pip Granger
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

13 Aug 2009

Do you remember the West End of London during the 1950s? Did you live or work there? If so, I want to hear from you ...

This was the advertisement author Pip Granger placed in a local newspaper, and the response was immediate. Soon she was hearing from people who recalled what it was like when sweets were rationed; from families who'd been bombed out of their homes during the Blitz; from men who'd worked in the flower markets of Covent Garden; and from the son of a family of immigrants who'd opened one of the very first delicatessens in Soho. All had extraordinary stories to tell.

Based on the author's own memories and dozens of interviews and written testimonies, Up West evokes a unique and vibrant community, and a way of life that is vanishing fast.


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Up West: Voices from the Streets of Post-War London + Alone + The Widow Ginger
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (13 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552153753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552153751
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 373,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

In the bestselling tradition of Call the Midwife and Shadows of the Workhouse, true stories from London in the 1950s.

From the Back Cover

Do you remember the West End of London during the 1950s?

Did you live or work there?

If so, I want to hear from you ...

This was the advertisement author Pip Granger placed in a local newspaper, and the response was immediate.

Soon she was hearing from people who recalled what it was like when sweets were rationed; from families who'd been bombed out of their homes during the Blitz; from men who'd worked in the flower markets of Covent Garden; and from the son of a family of immigrants who'd opened one of the very first delicatessens in Soho. All had extraordinary stories to tell.

Based on the author's own memories and dozens of interviews and written testimonies, Up West evokes a unique and vibrant community, and a way of life that is vanishing fast.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lively and fascinating 8 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
An essential read for anyone who loves London. Up West brings alive the range of experiences of the many ,varied and fascinating characters who lived, worked and played in the West End during and after WW2. A very well written, entertaining and instructive book, which I wanted to finish, but at the same time I did not want to end. A mixture of enchanting voices and experiences, all of which I loved, and some of which reminded me of my own childhood. I am sure new readers will be surprised and enchanted by Pip Granger's vivid and lucid new book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on Soho 14 April 2010
Format:Paperback
The events are little before my time but the 50s still lingered into the 60s and 70s in some parts of London, in particular, in Soho, so a lot of the things mentioned were very familiar; though as the book mentioned, places like Carnaby Street etc were just tourist places by that time. A totally fascinating story of rationing, the markets, shops, the food, the music, the characters, clothes, living a normal life (not the usual celebrity / famous ones) etc of Soho. There are a few other books on the subject, but this is possibly my favourite (Dog Days was pretty good). The only downer being the book only contains a few pages of photos (surely someone could bring out a book packed solid with pics of Soho of the 40s 50s 60s etc?)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pip's best so far! 6 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
Pip Granger is nothing if not versatile - she has shown herself capable of producing delightful novels and excellent non-fiction. "Up West" is a very well-written, thoroughly researched, historically valuable and highly readable book. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could better it as a record of Soho in the mid-20th century, in all its aspects; it has an inescapable air of being a truthful record but manages to avoid the paralysing dryness of some works of this type - Pip's irrepressible wit and sense of humour are well to the fore. She has succeeded in vividly describing every facet of Soho life in the 40's and 50's, as remembered by herself and others, men and women she interviewed at length, who thought of this unique little area as home. There are recollections of great hardship, sometimes, but so much else besides. I was fascinated to read about Pip's personal memories of the many celebrities she encountered in person as a child - including the wonderful Goons; I laughed out loud at the descriptions of some of the local "characters" - and felt very glad not to have encountered the more sinister. I do not know London at all well, so "Up West" holds no personal nostalgia for me, but despite this, the book held my interest, and I am sure anyone who reads it will find much to enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant multi-memoir 26 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback
This is much more than another oral history, and more, too, than a strictly personal reminiscing. Pip Granger's own vivid memories of her stamping ground in London's postwar Soho, and her novelist's gift for language (never florid, never overstated) enhance the stories told by a series of 'ordinary people' (always a patronising phrase, but these are tales of the everyday existence of otherwise uncelebrated denizens of that cosmopolitan corner).Up West brings back to life the furniture (figurative and literal), the accessories, the flavours -all the minutiae - of a life that few of us now remember clearly. For me this work is even more powerful than Pip Granger's fictional revisitings of her childhood, combining as it does the moving and illuminating real-life experiences of real people, and the author's penetrating commentaries on that strange mix of the exotic and the humdrum that was Soho in the Fifties, a unique setting, ahead of its time, precursor of the multiethnic, trendy London of the 21st century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UP WEST IS LIVING HISTORY 9 Aug 2011
By panache
Format:Paperback
I AM RESERCHING MY FAMILY HISTORY AND BECAUSE OF THIS FOUND A 2ND COUSIN; SHE ADVISED ME TO READ 'UP WEST' BECAUSE IT DEALS WITH SOHO & COVENT GARDEN AREAS AND IN PARTICULAR PEABODY BUILDINGS, WHERE OUR FAMILIES ALL LIVED. IT'S FASCINATING IN SO MANY WAYS AND REMINDS ME SO MUCH OF MY TEENAGE YEARS SPENT IN AND AROUND 'THE WEST END'. TROUBLE IS I'M NOT SLEEPING AS I CAN'T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN AT NIGHT. IT'S ESSENTIAL READING FOR THISE WITH LINKS TO THIS GREAT AREA.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia 4 Jun 2013
By Nesbo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A wonderful insight into Soho after the war - disappointed no mention of Del Monico's the deli and wine shop opposite the 2I's. I understand the family business left Soho in the middle 1960's and moved to the West country, but was a major shop when I knew Soho in the late 1950's. A fascinating read nevertheless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved this book. I'm just about old enough to remember some of the happenings of the late 50's and 60's. So, to be transported back to those creative and dangerous days is both thrilling and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple story of a childs life in London 8 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Written as if by a young child living in the Soho area of London, this is the story of a day to day life among the characters who exist in her small world. Her 'parents' (she is adopted), own and run a cafe which is patronised by the various dubious and interesting characters who inhabit that almost sleazy area of London. The tale is simply and well written and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I bought this via Kindle and am now just into another of her books, "Up West", about life in Soho and the Covent Garden areas during the 50/60s. As I was visiting there in 1959-61 the story brings back fond memories of that lively area. Ronnie Scotts jazz club was my focus during those happy days.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars bit boring >>
Not what I expected, bit boring >>
Published 1 month ago by sue palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
Beautiful portrayal of that area of London that often does not get written about, especially from a working class perspective. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S Cecil
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
As a resident of Soho during the 40s 50s 60s This brought back so many memories. Places names .It captured how life was in those days for the people who actually lived in Soho.
Published 9 months ago by lion
4.0 out of 5 stars took me back
when a teenager I work in London in the rag trade and this brought many memories back. This is obviously written with feelings.
Published 9 months ago by Mrs Linda M Day
5.0 out of 5 stars Bodie
What a brilliant book, I didn't want it to end. A fascinating insight into the the lives of Londoners - real people from Soho and Covent Garden of the 50's and 60's. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bodie
5.0 out of 5 stars Up West...
great book, good incite to Soho from 1940's onwards.....loved it and the people of that period....especially having lived and worked in Soho....
Published 14 months ago by Ms. M. A. Harrison-kahn
5.0 out of 5 stars Up West by Pip Granger
At the moment I am still reading this wonderful book and I can't put it down. It brings back memories of my time in the l950s working in London - highly recommended
Published 17 months ago by janet turner
5.0 out of 5 stars nice read
This is a great item and I would most certainly recommend it to others.
It is worth every penny paid for it.
Published 17 months ago by ian
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Up West: Voices from the streets of post- war London by Pip Granger reminded me of my early days, during, and after the second world war. Read more
Published 18 months ago by PAMELA ELLIS
5.0 out of 5 stars Up West
An excellent read for anyone interested in post war London from the people who lived there. Transports you back to another time.
Published on 12 Feb 2012 by blondlie
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