Dear Bob is a series of snap-shots of life in Middlesbrough in the early 1930s. Each week Bob’s mam writes to him on HMS Norfolk, giving him all the news from the town. It’s the height of the Depression and Teesside is badly hit by unemployment and the Means Test. Life is certainly tough for Mam and her neighbours in Grove Hill. But Mam always finds something to smile about. There is a cast of hilarious and unforgettable characters: Dad with his nose in the Dictionary, little Jimmy with his nose inside a comic, the unemployed who put the world to rights every day in Stan Cole’s shed, Ta Ta Pet the insurance-man, above all Mam herself, who tells the story with typical Teesside wit, warmth and wisdom.
About Bert Ward
Bert Ward was born in North Ormesby Middlesbrough in 1922 and lived on the Grove Hill council estate from age seven. He joined the Royal Navy aged 15 and left in 1946 having had a variety of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs. In 1956 he left the railways where he was a goods guard to work as a rigger at ICI Wilton and attended WEA classes. In 1957 he went to Ruskin College, Oxford, on a trade union scholarship, then worked for the AEU in London. For research into the British apprenticeship system he was awarded a mature state scholarship and studied economics and politics at the LSE. He started writing poetry and short stories when working as a senior lecturer. When he retired to Middlesbrough, he attended Andy Croft’s and Heather Bennett’s Creative Writing classes. Mudfog published some of his short stories, notably Dear Bob 1931 and 1932. He has since published Dear Bob 1933 himself and has just completed and published a brief political autobiography, Who’ll Take The Collection? Both these titles are available from Mudfog Press by post (see contact information), but not from INP.