Other than the usual drama’s in Albert Square, this year’s East End television treats are the 1950’s drama Call the Midwife and the more well-worn path of 1890s Whitechapel in Ripper Street.
Call the Midwife is based on a series of books written by Jennifer Worth who worked as a midwife in the Poplar area in the 1950s, the books are a fascinating mix of social history and stories of some of the characters she worked with and dealt with.
The 50’s was a traumatic time for the East End and the Isle of Dogs in particular.
The bombing of the Docks had made thousands homeless with little public funds for rebuilding.
Therefore many of the tenements were generally overcrowded and poorly maintained.
Although the docks were still busy it was to be their swan song , for within a generation they would be run down and neglected.
It was also a time of large families and countless social problems, however few could have guessed that the swinging sixties was only a few years away.
One theme the books also deals with is the loss of community and how the transformation of social housing in particular led to the dispersal of Eastenders who had lived here for generations going to the new towns of Essex in particular.
Ripper Street is more straightforward , the fascination with Jack the Ripper shows no sign of abating , this series is just another variation on the theme of the Ripper story.
Jennifer Worth Books are available in the shop