St Christopher Press

We Save Bits of String


 Now out of print but author holds a spare copy and can be contacted at:

We Save Bits of String: An Account of the First 18 ½ Years of My Life
by Betty Birch

St Christopher Press , ISBN 978-0-9545721-2-9 , 2011

Betty Birch, retired teacher, was born in 1930 in Rothwell, a small town in Northamptonshire heavily dependent on the boot and shoe trade. The country was in the depths of the Great Depression, and Betty's father, his father and her uncles were on the dole or on short time for most of her childhood. They always cleared their plates, they made do and mended, and they saved bits of string.

        Betty tells how her family and community coped with the privations of the depression and         the second world war and how they stayed properly fed and clothed and, in the main, contented and optimistic. She describes her family's food and how they ate, housework and recycling, and the games she played and other pastimes.

She fully acknowledges the values and skills she learned from her parents, which set her up for life. The Co-operative movement and socialist ‘old Labour' ideas were fundamentals in her upbringing.

Betty went to the council school in Rothwell before winning a scholarship to the High School in the neighbouring town of Kettering, and she describes her schooling in great detail – so very different from the comprehensive school in Fulham, London, where she subsequently taught for 27 years.

At Kettering High School she won a county major scholarship, which took her to Bristol University, where on her first day she met the ‘tall, slender, rather good looking young man' who was to share her life for more than 60 years. But that is another story, which she may write one day.



Ten Generations
The Milk Jug Was A Goat
My Life
We Save Bits of String

Ten Generations: Looking backwards in time: Some glimpses of my family

The Milk Jug Was A Goat: Two families, two Caribbean islands, 1635-1987

My Life: The Caribbean, Communism, Budapest 1956, journalism, HIV/Aids, London Lighthouse, Diana's funeral, Westminster  Abbey, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and much more

We Save Bits of String: An account of the first 18 ½ years of my life

by Betty Birch


The St Christopher Press is based at 16 Blake Gardens, Fulham, London SW6 4QB