This is a wonderful book. If I have a criticism it is that the gentility of its prose masks the obvious and, for us, the unimaginable suffering the people of Salford endured during those days.
The suffering of the people is portrayed in the book but it is so wonderfully written that it seems to underplay this aspect which is, in reality, the whole 'raison d'etre' of the book.
on 12 November 2012
This author (Robert Roberts) grew up in Salford, at a corner shop years ago, He relates the lives, joys and tears, of ordinary folk. This book from Amazon joins my other books about Salford by this author - memories too of growing up there myself.
on 19 May 2012
I read first of all the author's book "Classic Slum" which I found very disappointing. A Ragged Schooling: Growing up in the Classic Slum is more readable and quite funny in parts. The story of the scoutmaster is hilarious as is the story of Abigail and her husband and the lodger. However, I was still disappointed that the author was unforthcoming about the actual area of Salford in which he lived. He mentions some place names (Barbary Coast), but I am fairly certain that others were made up even though there is a drawing by Harold Riley which identifies the author's home as Waterloo Street, which here is renamed Zinc Street - why? For this reason I have given it only four stars. It is quite funny in parts and for that reason I would recommend it.
on 16 June 2011
This is an interesting and entertaining read for anyone interested in a first hand view of social history, particularly the industrial slums of the Edwardian-era slum cities, in this case my hometown of Salford. Despite the tile, there is little coverage of his education with most of the text devoted to stories of Roberts' relationships with his family, friends and entourage. On the downside, I found the writing episodic and lacking in overall narrative structure; it is also too upbeat for my liking although from a child's perspective (it covers the years when the author was between 5 and 15 years old) the gloom perhaps arrives later in life. Nonetheless, I found it unputdownable.
A better but drier read is Roberts' The Classic Slum which covers the same ground but with a wider ranging, third person view more; a more scholarly text perhaps but well constructed and highly readable which I would recommend to anyone interest in Salford life at the turn of the 20th century. Read A Ragged Schooling first though.
on 22 June 2015
An excellent read that serves as a brilliantly told record of an experience growing up in a slum area of town. Must be read, although I would also read Roberts' 'The Classic Slum' beforehand to give you some background: some of the anecdotes overlap, but as they are so well written and powerful it serves to make more of an impression. The author takes you with him and you can feel the grime, the oppression, the poverty and the cold along with the wonder, excitement and fear of a child.