by Carol Hathorne

Memories of a Tipton Childhood

Carol has been writing stories since her schooldays in Wednesbury. Her first story for which she was paid netted 7/6d (37 1/2 pence).

Born in Tipton in 1944 Carol attended St Mark's C.E. Primary School in Tipton, later she went to Ocker Hill Secondary School and finally gained a place at Wednesbury County Commercial School.

On leaving school Carol became a reporter on a local newspaper and in her spare time wrote for various magazines. She has written a total of 9 romantic novels as well as 2 Christian novels for adolescents (all in the name Carol Marsh).

When her mother became terminally ill Carol experienced God calling her to his work. It gave her strength during a difficult period of her life and led to full Church membership and confirmation in 1985. In 1987 Carol was selected for ministerial training at Queen's College, where she met husband to be, the Reverend Mark Hathorne. Following her ordination in Lichfield Cathedral she served at St. Paul's Wednesbury and St. Mark's Pensnett before becoming a vicar at Chadsmoor in Cannock.

Slurry and Strawberries is an autobiographical account of life on a Black Country slum clearance estate in the year of the Coronation as seen from a child's point of view.
Shortages were the order of the early 1950s - food, clothes, luxuries and accomodation. This story of raw working class life is a vivid reminder of what things were like for many. Descriptions of extended family life, street gangs, simple pleasures and childhood dreams of fame make it a valuable social document.

The book was published in 2002 with assistance from the Black Country Society, and Stan Hill (former editor of The Blackcountryman) in particular.

People who have read the book (and I hope to read mine as soon as my wife will let me have it back) have described it as un-putdownable and a very funny read. It is certainly selling well among the Black Country Society members.

I read the book last night. Thought I would read a couple of chapters before I went to sleep. Oh no, I read the whole thing, cover to cover. Brought back memories of my childhood (just as it did for my wife). If you were brought up in the Black Country in the 50s and 60s you will relate to this book. It is very funny as well.

Unfortunately this book is now out of print and copies are not available. You may find one on eBay, but you do take pot luck.