‘I was born in Bethnal Green . . . a tiny scrap of humanity. I was my mother’s seventh, and seven more were born after me . . . When I was ten years old I began to earn my own living.’
Told in the distinctive and memorable voices of working class women, Life as We Have Known It is a remarkable first-hand account of working lives at the turn of the last century. First published in association with the Women’s Co-operative Guild in 1931, Life as We Have Known it is a unique evocation of a lost age, and a humbling testament to what Virginia Woolf called ‘that inborn energy which no amount of childbirth and washing up can quench’. Here is domestic service; toiling in factories and in the fields, and of husbands – often old and ill before their time, some drinkers or gamblers. Despite telling of the hardship of a poverty-stricken marriage, the horrors of childbirth and of lives spent in search of jobs, these are spirited and inspiring voices.