A gem of a little book, published by Brighton Town Press, appeared on the bookstands today. The happiness of the family, in spite of the difficult economic and social conditions in Brighton in the thirties, springs to life through the pages.—Civic Brighton and Hove platform, 26 February 2016
The ‘spoken diary’ is an account of one woman growing up in 1920s and 1930s Brighton.
The story forms a series of conversations between Sarah Rose Cook and author Sara Yeomans.
Sarah Rose Cook was the cleaning lady to Sara Yeomans, who has gone on to become an acclaimed novelist.
The conversations are vividly portrayed, with insight, simply told and documented in note form.
The stories were written down in 1972 and 1973, when Sarah Cook was 67 and Sara Yeomans was 29.
Some of the notes were written down by Sarah Cook and ‘posted through the letterbox’ when there was something to add to the memories. The majority of notes were ‘spoken’ over ‘non-stop cups of tea’.
The book brings to life the worries and dangers of childbirth in the 1920s and 1930s, there are recollections of how Mrs Cook lived as a child, the excitements and incidents that accompanied working life at the time in Brighton. Local streets, local shops, rented rooms, stalls, parties, the beach and hotels in the town act as backdrop to the recollections.
The slim volume describes how Mrs Cook met her husband, Arthur Cook, who was working as a local office boy and the way in which they had to find somewhere to live to accommodate a growing family and struggle to survive. The happiness of the family, in spite of the difficult economic and social conditions in Brighton in the thirties, springs to life through the pages.
The joys and trials of childhood are recorded, together with marriage, the First World War years and Second World War years. There is also a contribution from one of the daughters of Mrs Cook as an afterword.
Conversations with Sarah Rose Cook of Carlton Hill is a gem of a little book, and an interesting personal recollection of life in Brighton in the 1930s.
The book is made all the more interesting by the ‘snippet’ style of the sequence of paragraphs and the way in which the conversations dip in and out of time and the way in which the memories are ‘incomplete’. Much it could be argued, like conversations, and like life.
The book in the series of ‘local social history stories’ about ‘people and places in Brighton’ is published by Brighton Town Press. The small publishing house has developed a reputation for original and well produced books over the last twenty years.
Conversations with Sarah Rose Cook of Carlton Hill is available directly from the publishers and will soon be available from the Amnesty International Bookshop in Brighton
Conversations with Sarah Rose Cook of Carlton Hill
published 25 February 2016, £9.99 + £3.00 p&p Paperback: 76 pages : ISBN: 1-901454-13-0
postage for multiple copies, inland, abroad on request
Brighton Town Press
10 Clermont Road, Brighton, BN1 6SG