Stepney: Profile of a London Borough from the Outbreak of the First World War to the Festival of Britain, 1914-1951
Author: Samantha L. Bird
Date Of Publication: Jan 2012
This book is the first single volume history of Stepney in modern times. It sets out to provide a vivid and yet scholarly portrait of an iconic London borough situated in the heart of the East End. Stepney is an area with very many well known associations and images, from the horrifying murders of “Jack the Ripper” to the soaking up of the heavy bomb damage during the Blitz, from the classical confrontation between Mosley’s fascists and the socialist left at the “Battle of Cable Street,” to the dramatic “Siege of Sidney Street” when Liberal Home Secretary Winston Churchill rooted out an anarchist cell. Beyond these dramatic episodes, Stepney witnessed the perennial struggle for subsistence among the many poor, the rise and fall of the great local docks, the immigration of large numbers of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe and elsewhere, the growth of the Labour Party and the surprising local ascendancy of the Communists, the desperate drive to improve public housing, the evacuation of a large proportion of its children at the start of World War II, and much more besides.
This is a truly ground-breaking, very readable book that fills a surprising gap in our knowledge and greatly enhances our understanding of London, urban, working-class, inter-ethnic, industrial and British 20th century history.
Dr Samantha L. Bird studied for her first degree in History at Anglia Ruskin University. She then took an MA in the City in History at London Metropolitan University, going on to complete her PhD on Stepney at the same university in 2009. She has recently published an article on the East End and the Blitz in the BBC History Magazine (October 2010) and has broadcast as a consultant on BBC London Radio’s Robert Elms show.
“. . . it is surprising that no single volume history of Stepney has existed until now. Samantha Bird's fine book, however, has put that to rights.
Dr. Bird has done a tremendous amount of valuable and original research into both the archives and the secondary literature.
This is a much needed, very readable and refreshing book, and both author and publisher should be delighted with this product.”
—Dennis Judd, Professor Emeritus in History, London Metropolitan University and Professor at New York University, London
“[Dr Bird’s] thesis on the London Borough of Stepney is a fine piece of work, incorporating much original research and genuinely opening up new vistas in our understanding of this iconic part of the East End.”
—Professor Denis Judd, BA (Oxford), PhD (London), FRHistS; Professor Emeritus, London Metropolitan University; Professor in History, New York University in London
“Like many of the best local histories, this book combines enthusiasm and dedicated local research with a shrewd knowledge of wider contexts. Samantha has written a book which is both learned and very interesting to read. Anyone with an interest in Stepney, London history or labour movement history will want to read this book.”
—Chris Wrigley, Professor of Modern British History, Nottingham University
''Dr Bird manages that trickiest of juggling acts – turning an academic work [...] into a compelling read. The academic provenance is there on every page, [...] but the pages are choc-a-bloc with characters and facts from Stepney’s history.''
- John Rennie, 'East End Life', 11/03/13.
Price Uk Gbp: 29.99
Price Us Usd: 50.99
Sample pdf (including Table of Contents)