The memoirs of jennifer worth

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the memoirs of jennifer worth

Jennifer Worth (Author of The Midwife)

Worth, born Jennifer Lee while her parents were on holiday in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was raised in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. After leaving school at the age of 14, she learned shorthand and typing and became the secretary to the head of Dr Challoners Grammar School. She then trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and moved to London to receive training to become a midwife.

Lee was hired as a staff nurse at the London Hospital in Whitechapel in the early 1950s. With the Sisters of St John the Divine, an Anglican community of nuns, she worked to aid the poor. She was then a ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Bloomsbury, and later at the Marie Curie Hospital in Hampstead.

She married the artist Philip Worth in 1963, and they had two daughters.

Worth retired from nursing in 1973 to pursue her musical interests. In 1974, she received a licentiate of the London College of Music, where she taught piano and singing. She obtained a fellowship in 1984. She performed as a soloist and with choirs throughout Britain and Europe.

She later began writing, and her first volume of memoirs, Call the Midwife, was published in 2002. The book became a bestseller when it was reissued in 2007. Shadows of the Workhouse (2005; reissued 2008) and Farewell to the East End (2009) also became bestsellers. The trilogy sold almost a million copies in the UK alone. In a fourth volume of memoirs In the Midst of Life, published in 2010, Worth reflects on her later experiences caring for the terminally ill.

Worth was highly critical of Mike Leighs 2004 film Vera Drake, for depicting the consequences of illegal abortions unrealistically. She argued that the method shown in the movie, far from being fairly quick and painless, was in fact almost invariably fatal to the mother.

Worth died on 31 May 2011, having been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus earlier in the year.

A television series, Call the Midwife, based on her books, began broadcasting on BBC One on 15 January 2012.
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Jennifer Worth, who has died of cancer aged 75, was the author of the Call the Midwife trilogy, based on her experiences as a nurse in the East End of London in the s. The first volume, Call the Midwife, was originally published in Reissued in by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, it became a bestseller, as did the subsequent volumes Shadows of the Workhouse ; reissued and Farewell to the East End A strong personality, Jennifer was dynamic and determined, and her lively imagination is apparent in the books. After her retirement from nursing, with the East End she had known long gone, she decided to put her reminiscences down in writing, so as to preserve the old ways of life, the people and the poverty. There was no law, no lighting, bedbugs and fleas. It was a hidden place, not written about at all.

Skip to main content. Jennifer Worth. Something went wrong. Please try your request again later. Jennifer Worth was a nurse, midwife, ward sister and night sister from until , working mainly in London. Music had always been her passion, and in she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about twenty-five years. Are you an author?

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Steve Russell. A young Christine and Jennifer in uniform. Here her sister Christine shares details about the years before Jennifer Lee, as she was then, discovered her calling in life. Steven Russell reports. Over Christmas, , the couple disappeared to Folkestone. But returning home from one holiday, they discovered a scene that would scar their childhood forever more. The sisters knew something was wrong as soon as they were dropped off at home in Buckinghamshire, by an aunt, after the seaside break.


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