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The Crack Magazine

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Speaking As We Find by Caroline Barker Bennett

In her introduction to this fascinating book Caroline Barker Bennett tells us what it isn’t: “It is not a popular ‘tales of canny Tyneside women’.” What it is, rather, is an illuminating account of women’s employment in the region from the 1930s-1980s. The meat of the book is provided by interviews the author undertook with 20 women in 1983-84. The interviews were originally carried out for a research degree, but here they are presented without academic jargon. All manner of subjects are explored from seeking work, to what conditions were like in the region’s factories, shops and offices. And these women’s stories, taken together, provide a rich and vivid panoply of what it was like for working women throughout a significant chunk of the twentieth century. ‘Speaking As We Find’ is well illustrated throughout but it’s the many anecdotes and reminiscences that really stay with you and bring the book alive. RM

Tyne Bridge Publishing