My reading seems to have slowed down a bit this year – possibly because I’m just always so tired that sleep has become the chosen option once I get into bed at night. I am still loving historical books though and The Road to Nab End is a great example. Rather than fiction though, this is actually an autobiography of historian William Woodruff and his early life in Blackburn, Lancashire.
There seem to be so many books about people growing up in the East End of London (or at least I seem to have read a lot set there of late) that it was actually really refreshing to read about what life was like in another part of the country. Woodruff was born in 1916 right into the weaving community that was in Blackburn at the time. In fact, it was literally right in the middle of it as his mother gave birth to him on the floor of a carding room in the cotton mill where she worked.
I knew a little bit about weaving and mills in the North West before reading The Road to Nab End, but if anything the book made me realise just how little I actually knew. It seems there was also quite a bit of politics from the time that also had passed me by somewhat. At school we concentrated very much on the two World Wars themselves and I sometimes wish that more time in history lessons had been spent learning about what was going in Britain in general. It certainly shows me that I should read so much more about live here over the last 100 years to satisfy my curiosity.
As a book I found The Road to Nab End had a bit of a dragged out prologue which had me wondering if this was the right sort of book for me, but once I was into the first chapter I was completely hooked right until the last page. The story only takes us up to William leaving Lancashire and heading to London to try his luck there and I’m fascinated to find out what happens next. Luckily a sequel (Beyond Nab End) has also been published, so now I just need to try to find a copy in a local charity shop. I’m on a promise to myself this year not to buy new books until I’ve exhausted everything I already have to read. At this rate though I may not be buying books again before 2020!
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