John Edmonds (1911-1984): Biographical Entry – Writing Lives

John Edmonds (1911-1984): Biographical Entry

2:237 EDMONDS, John, ‘The Lean Years’, MS, pp.89 + 3pp. list of illustrations (c.18,000 words). BruneI University Library. Available to download

Born 26 Dec 1911. Father employed irregularly in various casual jobs. Of a large family. Educated from 1916 to 1925 at a London County Council School. No mention of marriage. Living in Croydon in 1984.

Part-time newsboy.

No details of interests or activities.

Completed in 1970, Edmonds offers a vivid portrait of conditions in South East London in the inter-war years, describing the constant battle against poverty; the need to resort to petty frauds in order to feed the family; the necessary evil of the pawnbroker; the district and its railways; the overcrowded home and workmen’s housing; the skill of domestic trades (envelope-folding); family life; clothing (second-hand); the desire to maintain respectable appearances; the varied trades of the street-sellers; transport developments; the ‘tonic’ of politics; religion; schooling and punishments; sexual attitudes.

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