An East End Farewell: Memoirs of an Apprentice Undertaker by Yvette Venables

By Yvette Venables

This is often the memoir of an East finish undertaker, Stan Cribb, who all started his apprenticeship elderly simply fourteen, burying the sufferers of London's Blitz.

During the final century, East finish families had a different courting with their neighborhood undertakers as a result of huge households and excessive mortality premiums. in view that he can take into accout, Stan Harris (more generally known as Stan Cribb), spent his weekends captivated by way of the goings-on at his grandparents' funeral domestic. At fourteen, and masses to the reluctance of his father, he dons his first swimsuit and joins the relations company as an apprentice to his quick-tempered uncle.

Entering the career at a time while an undertaker's position uncovered them to the brutal realities of global battle II, Stan spends his teenage years convalescing lifeless our bodies at the hours of darkness and status safeguard over funeral carriages in the course of air raids. After the struggle, with unfailing sturdy humour, Stan takes us on a trip via his nationwide provider, marriage and unpredictable existence as an East finish undertaker.

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Additional resources for An East End Farewell: Memoirs of an Apprentice Undertaker during the Blitz and Beyond: The Life of Stan Cribb

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He also taught English, and responded keenly to whoever wrote good 'compositions'. A. Henty and Hcrbert Strang) as well as other novels by Alcxandre Dumas (especially the d'Artagnan series), ::nd Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Toilers of the Sea. Thirty or forty books were kept in the bedroom cupboard, mostly novels but also history, geography, and French grammars. An ex-Guardsman living nearby let me have his one-inch ()rdnance Survey sheet of the Aldershot ' rraining Area, which greatly increased my knowledge of map-reading.

I was persuaded to give up my Identity Card, on which he rubbed out my name and inscribed his own, so that he could go to the Labour Exchange and ~pply for a job. This was a successful ruse, and he would have lived out the war working in a factory had not a neighbour suspected that he was a deserter and told the police. When in court for, among other things, having a false Identity Card, he said he had stolen it rather than incriminate my mother or myself. After a few sessions at Wollaton Hall, school was resumed in the normal buildings.

One such primer contained a plan of Paris, making me familiar with the buildings and street names of that place much sooner than with those of London. In the week before taking the scholarship examination I felt set apart from those in the class, though the proportion of pupils sitting for it was not small. ' Needless to say, I did not pass, though two boys did, one whose father ran a hardware shop, and another whose mother owned a cafe. The unfamiliar puzzles and conundrums I was asked to solve might just as well have been Chinese ideograms, for I had expected to be tested on knowledge rather than intelligence.

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