Peter Morrell reviews Memoirs of a London boy in the 50s and 60s

Nostalgic Memoir Revels in South London’s Simple, Happy and Possession-less Past

Written from the early life of author Keith Coleman-Cooke, ‘Memoirs of a London boy in the 50’s and 60’s’ is a hilarious and true look at poverty, survival and life when things were so much simpler and the kids happier. it whisks readers back to an era before laptops and iPods, when life was less complicated and ultimately more joyful. It’s a story straight from the author’s heart.

I and many of our over 50 readers will identify strongly with many of the themes in this book. I was brought up on a housing estate in Southampton and now live near Downham in South London where Keith lived. I’m quite aware of life of the estates in the 50s and know the area where Keith was raised, he has painted a very accurate portrayal of what it was like to be young, poor but happy.

The author takes us through a kaleidoscope of mischief and naughtiness that he and his friends got up to but behind it all there was a natural innocence and the intent never malicious.

To quote the author “This is a book about growing up in South East London in the 50’s and 60’s, times were hard and poverty was the norm for many families but we did not see ourselves as deprived in any way because everyone was in the same boat. I must have been 6 or 7 years old before I saw a banana and that was treated with great suspicion.”

This book contains a lot of humour, laughter was generated by the poor old lady who slipped on the snow, clutching her wicker basket between her legs and flew down the hill in Ballamore Road, Downham with her legs in the air showing her bloomers.

Keith talks about scrumping, Saturday morning flicks and after staying out all day in the woods arriving home filthy dirty and hungry but very happy and contented.

There are stories about the local tramp and the weekly shop where an old pram doubled as a shopping trolley.

“For those who grew up during this era, and particularly in the London area, my memoir will be boundless fountain of memories of that bygone time,” explains the author. “For younger readers (those under fifty!), it will serve as a reminder that life can be simple, not so possession-driven and still be an incredibly fulfilling experience. They’ll also be shocked at the things some older members of their family likely got up to!”

This is a superb book that I thoroughly enjoyed as it brought back so many happy memories and I’m sure it will for many of our readers.

Memoirs of a London boy in the 50s and 60s is available from Amazon

Kindle –
Paperback –