The Sugar Girls at the Mayor’s Newham Show

We spent this weekend with Gladys and Eva at the Mayor’s Newham Show in East Ham’s Central Park, where the Sugar Girls exhibition had been remounted in a special ‘Pride of Newham’ marquee. It was a great opportunity for us to meet some of our readers, and to sign copies of the book.

Vivian from the Newham Bookshop was there too, proudly displaying a poster which boasts that she has now sold over 500 copies of The Sugar Girls. For a local bookshop, that’s an incredible number, and we’re touched that the community has embraced the book so warmly.

As part of the event, we gave a talk on the history of Tate & Lyle and interviewed Gladys and Eva about their memories. You can see a clip of the interview here:

 

We were particularly pleased to meet new sugar girls at the marquee. One woman, Rose Lock, told us of her experiences on the Hesser Floor, where she worked from 1959 right up until 1996. Rose told us how her husband tried to forbid her from going on a beano, so concerned was he about what she might get up to on a drunken day to the seaside. In the end she went anyway, but arrived home to find he had locked her out. She had no regrets about going on the trip, however – she told us she had a whale of a time!

 

It was not long before another distinguished guest visited our marquee: the Mayor of Newham himself, Sir Robin Wales. Sir Robin was touring all the Pride of Newham tents and was keen to speak to Gladys and Eva about their experiences of life in the factory. They, meanwhile, were equally determined to bend his ear about local issues such as rubbish collection in their streets.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales with Gladys and Eva
Thanks as ever to Vivian from the Newham Bookshop for selling the book, Jessica Wannamaker and Jess Thomas at Newham NDP for putting together the exhibition, and the wonderful Adam the Pastry Guy for providing his famous Sugar Girls cupcakes.

 

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