In this poignant book, the author writes with candour about her experience of growing up in a workhouse children’s home in London during the Twenties and Thirties. Kathleen Dalley’s story is told with clarity and sensitivity, yet refrains from sentimentality.

She describes an institutionalised childhood where strict members of staff upheld the rules and procedures that were in place, and the institution took the place of the family unit, having overall responsibility for the upbringing of the children in care. This is an important and compelling work that vividly describes both a personal and a social history of the times. It depicts the actual experiences and expectations of working-class girls, who at best, as adults went into service, or at worst were sent to the workhouse.

Team: Jackie Blackwell, Jane Carlisle, Stephanie Cole, Anne-Fay Townsend, Michelle White