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Eight Ten to Charing Cross

162 pages2 hours


After briefly flirting with Holy Orders and Nursing, Jean takes the 8.10 fast train from Gravesend to Charing Cross each morning having decided to make the best of being an office worker. Her first job is in the copyright department of a Tin Pan Alley music publisher. As a very impressionable teenager she throws herself into the excitement of life on the periphery of show business with growing enthusiasm and as office junior is thrilled to be sent on deliveries of discs and sheet music to rising stars of stage, screen and radio.
What she most desires, however, is to abandon her working class background completely and make rapid progress towards the successful middle classes. But the family is not easy to dismiss, especially Old Nan who rules over her numerous daughters and their progeny with unyielding determination. Undaunted, Jean resorts to regularly dipping into her active reservoirs of imagination to create increasingly far-fetched substitute families weaving more and more intricate webs of fantasy.
As the 1950s ends the lives of the working poor of North Kent begin to change and towns like Gravesend become closer to being absorbed into Greater London. As well as being the story of one ambitious teenage girl with an over active imagination, this book also chronicles a range of the changes in culture that take place in post war Britain.

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