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Over the Border: The Other East End Paperback – Illustrated, 21 Jun 2012
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About the Author
Neil Fraser was born in 1966 and grew up mostly in the North of England. He has lived in East London for twenty-one years, in West Ham, Barking, Stratford, and now in Leytonstone with his family. He has worked in a betting shop, a mail-order book club and is currently a teacher. Over the Border is his first book.
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I only wish they'd taught us more of this stuff when I was at school in Bow. So much for a grammar school education! We moved out to the Essex 'burbs' before I got to see much of it. Thereafter, it was mostly somewhere to rush through on the way to somewhere else apart from visits to the East Ham Granada, and the Two Puddings. Recommended!
I was born in West Ham and went to school in Stratford so I think I can say I know the areas covered in this book. I was looking forward to a good read tinged with sadness at the total destruction of my childhood's playground but found it was like reading a travelog and a boring one at that! Full of facts but little else.
Interspersed with fascinating industrial background he provides potraits of notable characters of this part of the east end of London.
This book is of particular relevance to those Londoners who live south of the border and those who lived there but have moved on to other parts of the country and indeed other countries in the world.
At the same time the authors style has resulted in a book that will be thoroughly enjoyed by the wider British public
wherever they live.
Further in from this revelation on page 3 I thoroughly enjoyed the observations made from the authors' time in the area and his reminiscing. Land Grabbers and Stratford East workshops filled previous blanks for me, while other chapters were informative and interesting.
Stratford has indeed changed considerably in a few short years. The population is up 50% in a decade, the extra all living in expensive high rise cubicles, the transport network transformed, and ethnic cleansing of poor people in Stratford and Canning Town as developers move in. Who would have predicted 3 hotels on the run down dump High Street 15 years ago?
Not the first time these (or other) areas have seen a metamorphosis, and probably not the last, but this is a good observation of local change well told.
I would love to have a beer with Angry Bob>