I must get hold off a copy of this. Available at Peel Park and the Lowry and online.
Set in Salford in WW1 Pippin’s distressed letter to her father, describing her Christmas dinner in 1916, reflected the difficulties of the families that were left at home when their men went off to war. She was 9 years old and they had just eaten her pet rabbit. The news, however, brought comfort to Edward who, along with his two lifelong pals, quick-witted, rugby loving Liam and the clumsy but compassionate Big Charlie, had just survived a horrific eight months in Gallipoli
The book is fiction. It is a very good read. I have just found this small piece on the web;
"My uncle has recently published a book about our great-grandfather's WWI. It's a work of fiction made from researching the movement of the regiment, the Lancashire Fusiliers, from recruitment to their return as broken men. More than that he has managed to capture the life of the people left behind, struggling at home with young children and scarce supplies. It's certainly made the war years much more real for me as, like most people, I had never really thought about a direct family connection to all those places that floated around the history classroom and were churned out on the news every November. It's called Made in Myrtle Street and is an excellent example of what can be done with material obtained from research into military records."
I have recently been in communication with the author of this excellent book, he has informed me that he is in the process of writing a sequel. He has also allowed me to post some extracts from Made in Myrtle Street.
Treat yourself, you will not be disappointed. It is a wonderful, humorous, yet poignant read which will bring back vivid memories of yesteryears Salford.
September 1914 – Cross Lane corner (p13) Muttered greetings were exchanged with Edward but the men respected the silence of his confused mood. To his left, Regent Road ran down into the bustling commercial centre of Manchester whilst to his right, the route ran past the huge, formidable Salford Workhouse and on through Eccles into Warrington. In front of him, Trafford Road was busy with the endless streams of carts ferrying products to and from the Docks; the horses leaving numerous, steaming markers to denote their passing. The rich warm vapour from the sweating horses hung like a thin cloud over the junction, contrasting sharply with the stale odours emanating from the open door of the Ship Hotel behind him. The cleaners had begun their daily struggle to free the pub of the evidence of the previous night’s indulgencies. Woodbine smoke hung in the still September air, dulled by the smell of the grain flour that had lingered for the last two days in the dockers’ jackets. A motorised cart tumbled the clouds of damp haze and left behind the pungent traces of burnt fuel as it passed through. Edward was fascinated to see that these trucks were becoming more commonplace. His Dad would never have believed that, in his son’s day, they would be seeing horseless carriages pushing the carters off the roads.
January 1915 – Pippin’s letter to her Dad in Egypt (p42) Dear Dad,
Thank you for the Bible that you sent me for Christmas. It was very nice. I took it to Sunday School to show Miss Howard but I think that she was going to cry. I heard Mrs Jones telling Mrs Willoughby that Miss Howard has a sweetheart in somewhere called Flanders. I asked Mam if Miss Howard is sad because you are in Egypt because I am sad when I think about you. Me and our Edward went to the gas works yesterday for some coke. It’s a bit cold now. The horses were slipping on the ice on Cross Lane which made us laugh. We took our Mary’s pram out of the back yard. Do you still love us in Egypt or do you get very sad?
Uncle James came round yesterday with a rabbit that he caught on Dorney Hills but it didn’t look like my Floppy. Mam hung it on the rack in the kitchen with a piece of string. It smelt a bit funny. Who does your washing in Egypt? Mam was darning our Edward’s socks yesterday and she said that you will be having to darn your own socks now. Has the Army given you one of those mushroom things like Mam has? I will finish now because we are going to get your wages and buy something to go with the rabbit.
Dad, will you bring us some of that sand home so that we can play in the backyard with it. Mam said that you are in a great big desert so it should be alright.