I was pleased to see that Liverpool author Helen Forrester (real name June Bhatia) has been honoured with a blue plaque on the house she lived in as a child. Forrester is most famous for writing the autobiography Twopence to Cross the Mersey, which tells of her growing up in the city during the Depression in the 1930s.
The house is in Hoylake on the Wirral, a short ferry ride over the river from the city itself – and an unreachable goal for the young Forrester. After her newly-poor family settled in Liverpool she longed to return to her grandmother’s house, but couldn’t afford the twopence fare for the Mersey ferry.
I read the book in the late seventies and remember enjoying some of the descriptions of Liverpool and the 1930s way of life, but I was more interested in fantasy at that point so didn’t get as much out of it as I probably should. However, my Mum, who grew up in Liverpool at almost exactly the same time as Forrester, loved it.
Forrester went on to write another two books in the series and has been forever linked with the city of her birth. It’s nice to see that city giving something back.