This week I’m reading Harry Leslie Smith’s account of his early life. I was prompted to do so by Terry Tyler who reviewed his three autobiographies on her blog
Harry Leslie Smith died on 28th November 2018 at the age of 95. He grew up in Yorkshire in great poverty and found wartime an escape from a life of hardship. After he retired he began to write about 20th century British social history and contributed many newspaper articles. In the last few years of his life his public appearances, such as his speech at the Labour party Conference have brought him to the attention of the wider public.
Reading this moving story about the sad childhood of Harry and his sister reminded me of another true story from the same era which I read many years ago.
Helen Forrester came from a prosperous family, but after her father lost everything, the family moved to Liverpool, where her experiences of starvation and growing out of her clothes mirror that of Harry Leslie Smith.
Both these books are essential reading for anyone who thinks that hardship ended in the Victorian age. Despite their dreadful experiences, both books are compelling and take you into their world.