Pip Granger’s first novel, Not All Tarts Are Apple, won the first Harry Bowling Award. It was the story of a young girl growing up in Soho. In this book, the comments and recollections of residents and visitors to the oldest part of London’s West End are drawn into a fascinating collection.
The author concentrates on the two decades following WWII. Outsiders may perceive Soho as a haunt of prostitutes and crooks, but for centuries ordinary people lived and worked there too, as did successive waves of immigrants coming through many decades from all over Europe and beyond. It was a multi-lingual polyglot community but it was a real community. There was an enormous variety of work so that residents normally had to travel very short distances to their jobs or to their entertainments. Soho and the adjacent Covent Garden were the home to several produce and flower markets, restaurants and specialty food shops, theatres and clubs, the rag trade and much more.
Written in easy, sometimes colloquial style, this book is a delight to read, full of stories of the famous and infamous alongside the lives of true Sohoites. A must for anyone who knows London.