Author Topic: The Sugar Girls - new book about Tate & Lyle's female workers in Silvertown  (Read 27437 times)

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Offline Duncan_Barrett

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Hello,

My book The Sugar Girls is coming out in March. It tells the stories of women who worked at Tate & Lyle's Thames and Plaistow Wharf refineries in Silvertown, from the Second World War onwards.  The book is based on interviews with over fifty women (and some men) about what it was like there in those days.  Some of the Newham Story forum users have been very helpful with the research - in particular Stan Dyson, with his incredible memory and photo collection. 

It would be great to know what you all make of the book when it comes out.  In the meantime, you can have a look at the official website - www.thesugargirls.com - which contains more information, extracts, pictures and audio clips, as well as a link to buy on Amazon.co.uk (it's already available to pre-order at a discount).

Thanks again for all your help - and I hope you like the book!

Duncan
Duncan Barrett
Author of The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End
http://www.thesugargirls.com

Offline Bill Sharpe

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Looking at the photo's on facebook it appears that the story is based on Tate & Lyle's Plaistow wharf, how much of your book is about the Silvertown wharf where my Mother, Grandmother and two Aunts spent there working lives?

Offline nelliesgirl

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Listening to the recordings, of the women who had worked at Tate& Lyle's and their family tales, with those lovely Cockney Accent, took me back a few years.
My sister Carol worked at Tate& Lyle's in the mid fifties, for a short time. Carol sadly died from Breast Cancer.

I will look forward to reading your book, " The Sugar Girls!

Nell

Offline ALANF

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A Brother in Law of mine worked for Tate's for 50 years. The War years he spent in the Merchant Navy. I have mentioned on this site before, how well he and my Sister were treated by them on his retirement. They must have been one of the few firms of the time, who valued their workers.

Alan

Offline Tony_H

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Hi Duncan

Thank you very much for your interesting post and link to the books website, I've ordered my copy from Amazon and look forward to reading it.  It's exactly what is needed, reliable local social history.

Offline Duncan_Barrett

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Hello,

Glad to hear that some of you are keen to read the book, and that you enjoyed the audio on the website.  We hope to be adding more of these clips soon. 

In answer to one question, the book does focus primarily on women at the Plaistow Wharf Refinery, but weaves in stories from the Thames Refinery as well.  We were originally planning to feature the two factories more equally, but for some reason we found a lot more former workers from Plaistow Wharf than Thames, so that's the way it worked out.  I hope it will still be of interest to people who worked at both though - or whose relatives did!

Best wishes,
Duncan
Duncan Barrett
Author of The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End
http://www.thesugargirls.com

MBrennan

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This just came up on my "recommended" on Amazon Kindle reads. I'm still not used to my Kindle and prefer 'real' books, so not sure which to go for  :)

Offline Duncan_Barrett

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That's great to hear that Amazon recommended it to you! I know what you mean about Kindle - I have one, but I generally still prefer to read 'real' books, unless the Kindle version is a lot cheaper (which seems to be quite rare).  It's good for travelling though, if you want to take several books at once...

Duncan Barrett
Author of The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End
http://www.thesugargirls.com

MBrennan

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I agree - it is handy as a Back-up. I downloaded a few 99p titles over xmas. I read 'The German English Girl' about a Jewish girl sent to London on The Kindertransport who ends up as a nurse at the London Hospital during The Blitz. That was quite good. I found that once I started using a cover for the Kindle it was easier to use as it handled more like a paperback. I like the fact that you can increase the font size - which is great if (like me) your eyesight is going. I think I will use it for paperback novels. Anything with photos, or that I might want to look at more than once, I will stick to printed versions - as long as they exist  :) We need more Folio Society-type publishers!  :) - I also have a habit of having a few books on the go at once so agree it is good for that.

Re the Audios - I liked the last lady (I forget her name) - I remember people like that when I was small. Real old east-end accents aren't course like 'estuary' accents we hear now  :)

Offline Duncan_Barrett

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By the way, if anyone in Newham wants to get their hands on a copy of the book, Vivian at the Newham Bookshop is already selling it - although other shops won't have it on the shelves until 29 March.  She runs a fantastic bookshop and it's good to support a part of the local community. 
Duncan Barrett
Author of The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End
http://www.thesugargirls.com

Offline Stan Dyson

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A Brilliant Book!  Both Joan and I, having worked at T&L, had a bit of input and received a draft manuscript prior to publication.  It's the only book that Joan read from cover to cover in just three nights.  For three nights in bed I had to moan 'For Gods sake turn the side light off!'  She thoroughly enjoyed it and so did I afterwards.  Gritty real life stories and chances are you will know some of the characters!  We were delighted to have received a paperback copy direct from Harper Collins today and Joan said she's now going to read it all again because with the draft manuscript she kept on getting the pages mixed up.  Turn that bloody light off!!!   Happy reading! - Stan

Offline Duncan_Barrett

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Thanks Stan, what a kind message!  We're so glad that you and Joan both enjoyed it - and thanks again for all your help.

If anyone is interested in reading more about the book, my partner Nuala has written this excellent guest post on the blog Writing Women's History - worth checking out:

http://writingwomenshistory.blogspot.com/2012/03/tate-lyles-golden-girls.html

Best wishes,
Duncan
Duncan Barrett
Author of The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship Love and Happiness in Tate & Lyle's East End
http://www.thesugargirls.com

Offline ALANF

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Listening to the 'girls' talking about their llives working at Tate and Lyle's, I was reminded of my late eldest Sister who spoke with exactly the same accent. As discussed on this board previously, this is the 'Canning Town' accent, and it is different from the rest of the borough. It is a different accent from mine, as I was raised and lived in Plaistow, whereas she was raised and lived in Canning Town. Her daughter, my Niece, has retained this accent, although she now lives in Wickford.
My sister's second husband worked in Tate's for 50 years.

Alan

Offline Tony_H

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The fence around the site of Tate's Plaistow Wharf site is down allowing access to the site.  Feeling like a criminal I went in and had a look around.  The first that struck me was what a vast area it covered.  I walked down to the river and saw the old mooring posts and other industrial bits and pieces.  I've attached a pic of a piece of grey marble I found, looks like a piece of wall or floor.

MBrennan

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So a trespasser AND a tea leaf  :D (only joking)

That's interesting. I guess marble was good for hygiene being non-absorbent.