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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
River Gardens
Format: Paperback|Change

on 1 February 2014
I bought this book because I am interested in the social history of my time. I was not disappointed. ‘River Gardens’ spans almost forty years of social change in Sudbury-on-Thames. Although I was not born in the South of England, or in a newly constructed purpose built housing complex where this journey begins, however the social importance of this book was immediate as the author commences her journey with well documented evidence.

It begins when the social needs of the country were being considered; in this case in and around London. Architects were being asked to consider the daily needs of families who would live in this particular housing complex. This approach is innovative in itself. The scene is set for this factual journey.

Lynda Kiss reveals, in her well presented and widely researched account, how lives were changed and communities developed. Her personal experiences of education, friendships and the transition into working life mirror my own experiences and I realised that a small mining village in the north of England was not so different after all. Many of the events and episodes she described about her family in River Gardens echoes the conversations I heard from my own parents and grandparents. Such an interesting and informative read; it is a revealing book in more ways than one.
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on 3 February 2014
I read the book in bed at 5 am this morning. I could not put it down until i had finished it. For anyone who enjoys social history circa 1940s - 60s this is a must. It was a very nostalgic trip for me, because although I was brought up in the North, I moved into a very similar house that the author describes with young families and we all became friends.

The author recollects how children could walk to school and play in the roads. There is humour and sadness in the book as the author describes the day-to-day events which happen in the new estate.
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on 6 May 2014
As someone who has lived in Sunbury for 40 years (from childhood) I was fascinated to learn how much the area had changed in the 40 years beforehand. My children attend Kenyngton Manor School so the former River Gardens Estate is somewhere I visit every day. I was amazed to discover how it all began and how it was a rural idyll when it was first built. Nothing rural about it now!

My only gripe is that the reproduction quality of the photographs was quite low and many were distorted to fit the shape of page.

But otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you for taking the time to research it and write it.
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on 14 February 2014
I very much enjoyed this personal account of life on an estate during and after the Second World War in Britain. It gives a fascinating insight into those baby boomers born during and after the second world war, covering post First World War suburban housing development and the lives of ordinary, working families. I particularly liked the personal, historical accounts and memories from individual residents. Describes how British suburban families and their lives were re-defined by the impact of the Second World War, not just economically, but in the context of community and family dynamics.
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on 20 September 2014
As This book was not for myself I cannot make a comment
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on 31 July 2014
Growing up in the 50's. I wonder what our children will write about their way of life.
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on 13 May 2014
Lovely walk down memory lane. I lived in Ashridge Way until I was 5. Wish I could remember more of it.

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on 28 May 2014
Well written and researched. Brought back great memories and names from my youth.Times were certainly different then and children were less demanding and self sufficient.
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on 17 March 2014
I settled myself down this morning to read River Gardens & before I knew it I was transported back to my childhood in East London just after the war.

Reading about the children's adventures, just being kids & having the freedom to find enjoyment in the 'jungle' where a heifer was tethered & having baby goats in the 'orchard'. Where was health & safety then? Making fishing nets from mums old stocking fixed onto a pole with a bit of wire all came flooding back.

If only the young of today knew what they were missing when they sit in their bedrooms on their iPads & Xboxes. They think they have it all but really they are the losers missing out on community that belongs to a past age. Nobody had very much but were willing to share. Today is a world where people do not even know their neighbours & yet the folks of River Gardens lasted three decades.

I continued until I had finished the book feeling both happy & sad. Happy for the past way of life but sad that nothing stays the same. If you are a baby boomer this is the book for you. Happy reading.
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on 14 April 2014
I learnt a lot about the early years from the book and found it so interesting that
I can't wait for the sequel.
Greg Spence
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