Lamlash Street: A Portrait of 1960’s Post-War London the Through One Family’s Story
J. M. Phillips
Red Damask Publishing (2020)
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (07/2022)
The 60s were a period of buoyancy, indulgence, and cultural revolution. London was transforming from a bleak conservative city trying to look past the Second World War troubles, into youth-oriented freedom, hope, and promise. It was during a time when the first generation of children reached puberty free from the conscription of service into the army and when the parents of these teenagers were trying to forget emotional wounds from their war years on the home front and battlefront. Further, it was a period when everyone was struggling with change and trying at the same time to remain positive.
“Lamlash Street: A Portrait of 1960’s Post-War London the Through One Family’s Story” by J.M. Phillips is an engaging memoir about one post-war year (1963) in a Cockney family from the point of view of one child living on Lamlash street in London. With colorful detail and rich insight, Phillips takes readers through the changes that she experienced, including in the fields of fashion and music. She reveals the magnificence of her mother’s resilience and fortitude through some agonizing travails and the long, frivolous transformation that the street and close families made to adapt to the surrounding changes.
This gracefully rendered portrait is written with great care and honesty and the author does not shy away from reliving her childhood years, family, infatuations, schoolwork, ballgames at Lamlash, and even holiday celebrations. She expertly infuses this with her father and uncle’s stories of the war years and the effects of that on their families and their country. This masterful juxtaposition of the war years and post-war years provides a stark comparison of a country coming to birth and carving its place in the global economy.
Like a casual walk in the park with a friend, author Phillips lets the stability, frustrations, and hope of these personal assemblages speak. What emerges is a collective attestation to the resilience of one family as they struggled to remain afloat in the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Luckily for the author, her parents had a steady income over the years that afforded her decent schooling.
“Lamlash Street: A Portrait of 1960’s Post-War London the Through One Family’s Story” by J.M. Phillips is illuminating and its anecdotes affecting. It is a gracefully composed commentary that is sure to garner a wide audience keen on learning what life was like in Britain after the Second World War.