Helen Forrester came from an initially prosperous background, with a public school-educated businessman father, who became bankrupt just after the Wall Street Crash. What really toppled the family over the edge into penury was the fact that there were seven Forrester children; large families were out of fashion.
Helen's father was unable to find any work in Depression Liverpool; nor did Helen's mother fare any better; applying to become a maid, she was told that her educated accent made potential employers very uneasy.
Some readers may see a family's desperate struggle in unfortunate circumstances, while others may see the Great Depression as "a wickedness deliberately plotted by the lending houses of the United States and Europe."
Twopence to Cross the Mersey (1974)
When Helen Forrester's father went bankrupt in 1930 she and her six siblings were forced from comfortable middle-class life in southern England to utmost poverty in the Depression-ridden North. Her parents more or less collapsed under the strain, father spending hours in search of non-existent work, or in the dole queue, mother on the verge of a breakdown and striving to find and keep part-time jobs. The running of the household, in slum surroundings and with little food, the care of the younger children, all fell on twelve-year-old Helen. Unable to attend school, Helen's fear that she was to be trapped forever as druge and housekeeper caused her to despair at times. But she was determined to have a chance asn struggled, despite her parents to gain an education.