I just loved the book. I am not that old and I am a foreigner, however I enjoyed in-merging into another person's world and comparing the differences between modern and past. I can vividly recall postwar memories of my granny and great-granny from a different European country that may a bit differ in actual facts but that are quite similar in character. I also really enjoyed an insight, albeit a brief one, into cockney dialect. Although I have heard o this I never realized what a cryptic language this could be. Having lived for a long time in Scotland I can relate some Glaswegian characteristics that are similar, but perhaps this is due to an influence of TV. Although I never heard of this writer before I will keep his name in mind and perhaps get some of his other books later. His writing is vivid and it was a pleasure to read the book.
Because of the author's age his childhood appeared to be over in the early 60's and therefore perhaps not as objective as someone who actually spent that decade as a child. As such there are some differences between the author's recollections and mine. I grew up in the adjoining district of Forest Gate and went to school from 1959 to 1970 and had mixed classrooms of black and Asian children from certainly 1962 onwards. I would have liked to read more about the immediate local area and seen more photographs. The there is one major niggle that may be down to poor editing and that is the compass directions in quite few places appear to be reversed. For example the river Lee is described as being to the West of London when it is in fact to the East.
I have always held nostalgic memories of my own East End childhood with regards to spending old money, playing out, going to school, eating dinner and tea, family kinship, the dentist, the milkman, the coal-man and everything else regarding my early years. However Simon Webb does dispel some of the myths and nostalgia that I hold so dear. Maybe it was not all so great after all and the fillings in my teeth, the amount of accidents I had, the poor diet and the lack of supervision may have contributed to some of my pitfalls today. Saying this the nook is a trip down memory lane, be it good or bad and some of the fond memories are still displayed in this book. The locations, the lack of social media, the support from local people and the joy of traffic free roads. It is a must read for anyone who wants to take their own trip back down into the heart of the East End. Or maybe for those who do not understand what we cockney's keep going on about when we say "back in our day". It is wonderfully written with some glorious pictures that supplement the text and allows the reader to have a wee glimpse into the past. Thanks to Simon for bring this book to the public.