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Jam Butties and a Pan of Scouse

Maggie Clarke, Cathryn Kemp

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Autobiography: general, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction, Social & cultural history, Nostalgia: general

A heart-warming and nostalgic memoir of hardship and happiness in Liverpool's dockland slums.

JAM BUTTIES AND A PAN OF SCOUSE is a gritty yet heart-warming memoir set against the backdrop of Liverpool's tightknit working-class community. From tenements to docks, from the hardships of a broken family to the devastation of war, this is a wonderfully uplifting true story of a close-knit community and a family determined to survive.

At the tender age of 11, Maggie finds herself the matriarch of the family when her Irish mother runs off with another man. Leaving school at 14 to work at a local factory putting sticks into lollies, she is determined to make a better life for herself and her family - before starting her own family with her childhood sweetheart, who she marries at 19 after 'falling in the family way'. She has one night of married life with her husband before he is sent to India with the Navy and is devastated when she never hears from him again, presuming him a casualty of the war that is raging at home and abroad.

But that is not the only tragedy to befall Maggie. Many times she is only able to feed her brood by the kindness of neighbours putting a 'pan of scouse' on the range for her, or feeding her kids jam butties to help out.

Maggie's story sweeps across the changing face of Liverpool, from its squalid dock streets, the tenement blocks and cobbled roads to the decline of the docklands and the rise of the Mersey beat, the Beatles and the energy and passion of a city that is home to a cast of colourful characters with the resilience to withstand heartbreak and hardship.

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