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Portobello Voices Paperback – Abridged, Audiobook, Box set

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; First edition edition (13 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075249936X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752499369
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 1.7 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 599,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Blanche Girouard has made two documentaries for BBC World Service and was shortlisted in the "Guardian"'s International Journalism competition while recording the lives of missionaries and their children in Burkina Faso. She has written for professional journals, "Country Life" and the "Guardian."


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've been going down the Portobello market ('down the Lane', the locals call it) since I was about five and my mother had a café there. That was in the early 1960s. I don't live in Britain anymore and I was looking forward to this book. I've loved reading it, not so much for the nostalgia but for the splendid interviews that make this book hard to put down. The first chapter describes how Portobello Road came to be built and the story of the Portobello name, which goes back to 1739 and the War of Jenkins' Ear. But then Blanche Girouard lets the atmosphere of the Lane materialise through the words and language of the market traders, for this is their history. Each one (I counted thirty-three) has a chapter and since this is a 150-year-old community many of the traders know one another, their parents and children. There's a butcher from a family of market butchers, and costermongers selling fruit & vegetables from the same stall that their grandparents had; there are autodidactic antique dealers whose stories briefly made me want to go into antique dealing myself; there's a milliner, a haberdasher and ladies selling vintage clothing; there's the local council's rubbish collector and its market inspector (a Slav), a Salvation Army officer and a couple of local residents.

Portobello Road used to be rough, and though the stories are amusing in places they're also occasionally tragic. One woman, who came to England from Trinidad at the time of the 1950s Notting Hill race riots, met Michael de Freitas - aka Michael X, who was later hanged for murder in Trinidad - and she tells how a misunderstanding led to her narrowly avoiding being set up in a flat by Peter Rachman, the notorious slum landlord, with Michael X acting as a pimp.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i was raised in notting hill gate and worked down portobello road so this book holds some treasured memories - i even recongized some of the people in the old photos! it was recommended to me by friends on facebook - a group simply known as born in W .10 now i can look back on the old days once more !
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed immensely reading the book "Portobello voices" of Blanche Girouard. I never have been on this market but reading the book I felt like being there. The atmosphere of this market seems packed in this book with so many different and interesting life stories of all kind of people making part of this market with its long tradition. Blanche Girouard lets people speak in their own manner, that's a special and sympathetic way to make the reader feel the individuality of each person, so colorful like the market itself.
The book is not only interesting and entertaining, but also helps to conserve some historical aspects, the Portobello market how it still exists and we hopefully wish it will last some more time in its traditional way.

Edith, Switzerland
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Format: Paperback
There is something rather patronising about sending out a lady with a posh name like Blanche Girouard to hold a microphone in front of some semi-literate street traders and encourage them to wax lyrically about a commercial culture that is and will continue to be their primary if not only means of making a living until they or the market dies, and it is a race against time as to which occurs first. The street traders' experiences, reminiscences and viewpoints are only of moderate interest and that quickly palls as the interviews become increasing same-y. What this book is begging for is an author who has something of herself to contribute to the book, not least in digging deeper in each interview to rise about the hackneyed gabble pouring forth. Maybe the author is content to relying on these market stall traders portraying themselves in such a way that London's upmarket chattering classes will, at cocktail or dinner parties, declare them to be the "salt of the earth". I think the only real truth about this book lies in its title. I'm relived it was given to me rather than my having to buy it.
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Format: Paperback
Really interesting as I grew up in the area I found out things I had not known . It had a little to much for my preference about antiques dealers, but if you like that sort of thing you will love it . I love finding out about people's life's and this book covers a lot about the stall holders and how the area became so diverse today
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really gives the reader an insight to the people that live and work In Portobello. The stories are told as told to the author and this really works very well.
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