This 1991 memoir by Lillie Morgan tells an often shocking story of the grinding poverty faced by working people in Brighton during the First World War. As a teenager she was working at a pawnbroker’s in Edward Street and witnessed first-hand the desperate lengths people went to to find the price of a loaf of bread simply to feed their family. Women pawned their wedding rings and husbands’ suits whilst they were away at war, or flea-ridden blankets and bedsheets.

At the Pawnbrokers tells of police collusion in black marketeering, the long hours worked in inhospitable conditions, and offers a snapshot of everyday life in Brighton at the time. Lillie told her story to her granddaughter, Jane Russell, who transcribed it, using her grandmother’s own words as much as possible.

This book is currently out of print, but you can download a PDF of the original text of At the Pawnbrokers by clicking here.

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