Norman Jacobs is one of Britain's most prolific local history and sports writers with 27 published books to his name.
Born in Hackney, London, in 1947. He went to school in the East End before leaving the capital for Teacher Training College in Norwich. On leaving college in 1967 he went to work at the British Museum where he stayed until early retirement in 2004. His latest book is about growing up in the East End of London, around the Whitechapel and Bethnal Green areas, between the Wars. It is the memoir of his father, who came from a large family and talks about what it was like growing up in poverty during that period. He talks about his neighbours, many of whom are named.
But as well as being a family story, it is also a social and political history of its time. There is much about the shops and stalls of Petticoat Lane, Brick Lane and surrounding streets, their owners and stallholders. The itinerant street vendors and street entertainers. Also the rise of the Blackshirts and the fear amongst the community, culminating with an eye witness account of the Battle of Cable Street that turned the tide.
But in spite of the difficult times, it is also a story of the love and community spirit of the East End and above all, the book records with affection the area and its people as well as now-vanished aspects of everyday life.
The story is full of hardships but also of the hope and pride that defined the working class families in the slums and Buildings of the East End.
As well as writing books, Norman has had many articles published in a wide variety of journals and magazines. These include Apollo, Local History Magazine, Essex Journal, Picture Postcard Monthly, Speedway Star, Vintage Speedway Magazine and Cockney Ancestor. Between 1990 and 2005 he was editor of Clacton Chronicle, described as the ''best local history journal in the country'' by Local History Magazine.
He is also a well-known speaker on a variety of subjects including local history and Victorian and Edwardian Music Hall. He is currently secretary of the Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress, chairman of the Clacton and District Local History Society and chairman of the West Cliff Theatre (Tendring) Trust.
Norman is widowed with two children, two grandchildren and two cats and lives in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, where he is a member of the Nomads Leopards table tennis team.