Built in 1940, the Canterbury Estate was one of the most rundown and poverty-stricken places to live in Bradford. Council-run, it also held the perhaps unfortunate distinction of being one of the largest estates in Northern England. Most of its residents were long-term unemployed, using their wits to help make ends meet and more often than not working ‘on the side’. And though the neighbours fought against each other on a regular basis, there was a huge solidarity when it came to outsiders. Drink, drugs and ‘blues parties’ were the order of the day, and woe betide any coppers or social workers who wanted to stick their noses into anyone’s business, because the Canterbury Estate was one thing above all others – a fiercely close-knit community. A community that was a law to itself, at times, definitely, but still a place where they looked after their own.
Behind the notorious Hudson men who dominated the Canterbury Estate for over 30 years were the girls, and my mam Shirley. Whether marrying into or determined to escape from it, the final instalment of The Canterbury Warrior series recounts the incredible stories of the unflinching women behind the legendary Hudson family.
The Canterbury Estate in Bradford during the ’50s and ’60s was a tight-knit community reared on poverty, crime and violence, and at the top of the heap were the infamous Hudson family. But it wasn’t just the boys who had a story to tell: from matriarch Annie, who gave birth to 13 children, to daughters Margaret and Eunice, who married up and out, each had a personality as indomitable as the last.
Then came Shirley Read, who was just 17 when she fell in love with Keith, one of the Hudson lads. To Shirley, the only child of affluent parents, the poverty of the unruly estate was as exciting as it was mysterious; newspapers for tablecloths, jam jars for cups, and, even by that time, no electricity. But it was a friendship forged with young Annie, one of the other Hudson sisters, that would teach Shirley not only to how to survive, Canterbury-style, but would also give her the strength to overcome an unexpected personal tragedy that would soon become a nightmare for women across the world…
Eye-opening and warm, this is the vivid account of the resourceful women at the helm of a notorious Bradford family who will never be forgotten.
Lynne Barrett-Lee was born in London and became a fulltime writer shortly after moving to Cardiff in 1994. She is the author of ten novels, including her acclaimed debut, Julia Gets a Life, and Barefoot in the Dark, which was shortlisted for the 2007 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her novels have been translated into several languages and she has also contributed two titles (one ghostwritten for television presenter Fiona Phillips) to the UK’s Quick Reads Campaign, which provides easy-to-read books for adult emergent readers.
Most recently, Lynne has returned to h...
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Julie Shaw is a writer and an entertainer. Born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire she now lives by the coast in Bridlington where she can be seen singing or presenting shows around the seaside resorts. She is married with two grown up children and 5 grandchildren and fits her writing around her busy lifestyle. Julie likes to write about the tough things in life and doesn’t shy away from ‘telling it like it is.’
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