‘All In A Day’s Work’ is a profusely-illustrated 250 page book centred around 100 oral history interviews conducted by the Britain At Work London Group (of which I am a member). It covers an area stretching from Paddington to the outer West and North-West London suburbs.
It recalls, for instance, the days when the Park Royal Industrial Estate and the Great West Road were concentrated areas of employment for West Londoners: how many of us worked there at some stage, for our hard-earned pennies that financed our life-long Rangers’ habit as well as the necessity of keeping body and soul together?
As well as looking at the now-vanished Manufacturing sector, the book also encompasses Public Transport, the Public Sector (Health, Education, Council and Social Services) and Culture and Communication (where, of course, the BBC loomed large in West London).
The latter chapter also includes my own substantial essay on the pay and working conditions at QPR that pertained from the post-war era to the present day.
In recalling their working lives in West London, many people recall their active involvement in Trade Unions; of hard-fought campaigns to win better pay, rights and conditions for their members; many of which have since been eroded in the modern era.
The post-war immigrant experience in West London (Irish, West Indian and latterly the Indian sub-continent) is also vividly recounted in personal testimonies which highlight the initial suspicion, prejudice and outright hostility that newcomers frequently encountered as they struggled to gain acceptance.
‘All In A Day’s Work’ provides a unique snapshot of a bygone era in West London and, as such, represents a valuable social document of the working lives of ordinary West Londoners that is not recorded in other histories of the period.
‘All In A Day’s Work’ is available now, Price ¬£10 + ¬£2.80 p&p.
The book can be purchased by PayPal, using: firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a cheque (payable to ‘Britain At Work London Project’) to the address below:
Britain At Work, 15 Wellington Road, Norwich, NR2 3HT