The Family From One End Street
, written and illustrated by Eve Garnett
, is a British
children's book. Set in Otwell, a town resembling Lewes, it was published in 1937
by Frederick Muller
. It won a Carnegie Medal
for best children's book that same year, despite competition which included J. R. R. Tolkien
's The Hobbit
. At the time, it was regarded as innovative and groundbreaking for its portrayal of a working-class
family in a genre dominated by middle-class
Recent reprints of the book have been published by the British publishers, Penguin Books, via their Puffin imprint; indeed, the book first appeared as a Puffin as far back as 1942, only one year after the very first Puffin books appeared. In 2007 it was selected by judges of the CILIP Carnegie Medal for children's literature as one of the ten most important children's novels of the past 70 years.
Two sequels were published: Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street in 1956 and Holiday at the Dew Drop Inn in 1962.
- Mr. Josiah Ruggles, a dustman
- Mrs. Rosie Ruggles, a washerwoman; wife of Mr. Ruggles
- Their children: William, Margaret Rose (aka Peggy), Jo (after his father), James and John (the twins), Kate and Lily Rose
- Reverend Theobald, the Vicar, who helps the Ruggles choose the names of their offspring.
- Mrs. Theobald, the Vicar's wife, who assists in the provision of clothes for the Ruggles' newborn.
- Mrs. Beaseley, a well-trusted client of Mrs. Ruggles' services.
- Miss Patricia Watkins, Kate's school friend.
- Mr. Watkins, Patricia's father, the owner of a nearby newspaper and tobacco shop.
- Mr. Sid Watkins, Patricia's uncle.
- Mrs. Watkins, Mr. Watkins' sister-in-law.
- Bill and Ted, two brothers from whose advice Kate tries to earn money from mushroom collecting.
- Mr. Henry Oates, the leader (and "Captain") of the Black Hand Gang.
- Mr. Henry Lawrence, the owner of the grey car that John hides in to shelter out hail.
- Mrs. Lawrence, his wife.
- Peter Lawrence, their son.
- The Fierce One, a guest at the birthday party to which John is invited.
- Mrs. Mullet, Mrs. Ruggles' friend.
- Mr. George Bird, Mr. Ruggles' working partner.
- Albert Bird, George's father.
- Mrs. Hare, the cleaner at the Majestic Cinema.
- Mr. Hare, her husband.
- Miss Clements, Jo Ruggles Jr.'s teacher.
- Charlie Ruggles, Mr. Ruggles' London brother.
- Mr. Short, the author whose money goes into the hands of Mr. Ruggles and Mr. Bird.
- Mr. Walter Wilkins, journalist for the Otwell Gazette.
- Mrs. "Nosey Parker" Smith, a neighbour of the Ruggles.
- Mrs. Charlie Ruggles (aka Auntie Ivy), Mr. Ruggles' sister-in-law.
- Mrs. Mabel Perkins, Auntie Ivy's sister.
- Leslie Perkins, a cabinet carpenter, and Mabel's husband.
- Their children: Anthony Perkins (aged 7) and Pamela Perkins (aged 9).
- Charlie Ruggles' children: May and Doris (twins, aged 10), Franklin (aged 9) and Elfred (aged 6).
- Mr. and Mrs. Buckle, Uncle Charlie's neighbours. Mr. Buckle is a retired coal-cart driver.
The Ruggles live at No. 1 One End Street in the heart of the fictional town of Otwell, located six miles from the Ouse river. Its other name is Otwell-on-the-Ouse. Its description closely resembles Lewes where the authoress lived.
Josiah Ruggles works for Otwell council as a dustman, and his wife Rosie takes in washing. They have seven children, so life is hard, but they are a happy family.
Lily Rose's ironing incident
Lily Rose comes home early after a pipe has burst at school, and being a Girl Guide
, Lily Rose tries to help her mother by ironing some of the laundry her mother does for clients. Unfortunately, she uses a too-hot iron for a petticoat
of artificial silk
, which shrinks, and her mother is furious as the garment belonged to one of her most trusted customers, Mrs. Beaseley.
The next morning, Mrs. Ruggles takes Lily Rose to Mrs Beaseley's house to explain what has happened. Fortunately, Mrs. Beaseley is amused, as she has made similar mistakes when she was a child.
Kate has passed her 'eleven plus' examinations
with flying colors, but her parents are concerned, as they believe that they cannot afford the extra school expenses this will incur. Mrs. Beaseley’s cook
points out that Mr. Ruggles has filled the scholarship paperwork out incorrectly: instead of seven children, he stated that he had only one child. After correcting the paperwork, they get a larger scholarship.
The week before school opens, Kate is invited on an outing to the seaside by one of her school friends, and manages to lose her new school hat to the incoming tide. She cannot ask her family for another, as she wasn't supposed to be wearing it on the picnic, nor does she have enough money to buy one. Two local boys, Bill and his brother Ted, tell her where she can pick mushrooms and sell them for a shilling a pound.
Unfortunately, they are not wild mushrooms but cultivated ones, and the farmer catches Kate with a basket of his mushrooms. He asks her if she's stolen mushrooms before and she tearfully tells him how she found out about them. The farmer believes her, and is understanding enough to give her a basket of mushrooms to sell. After Kate goes back home, a surprise awaits her in a parcel: the hat she had lost at sea during the Salthaven (ie Newhaven, Sussex) outing has been recovered by a friend of the Watkins!
Jim and the Black Hands
Jim, the older and more ambitious of the Ruggles twins, decides he wants an adventure of his own, but is captured by a local gang. A twelve-year-old named Henry Oates heads this gang, whose members call themselves Black Hands. The gang meets every Saturday, in an old lime kiln or at the gasworks
, where Henry’s father, a foreman
, is employed. Though they consider him too young to join and accuse him of spying, Jim begs for his acceptance.
The next Saturday, Jim embarks on a real adventure. As a hailstorm begins, he follows a friendly little dog into a drain pipe around a wharf’s barge-loading area for shelter; the dog escapes but Jim, who has fallen asleep in the pipe, is carried off to the seaport Salthaven, when the pipes are loaded onto a barge.
Jim relates his story to Mr. Watkins about being a stowaway. To Jim’s surprise, Watkins says he was also a gang member when he was young, and sends him off home.
John and the Lawrences
John, the younger twin, is a car fan and regularly visits Otwell Castle’s car park, in the hope of finding visitors who will pay him to mind their car. A couple called the Lawrences arrive at the castle, and allow him to 'mind' their car. The same rainstorm which sends Jim into the pipe on the wharf for shelter catches John, and he climbs into the car for shelter.
When the Lawrences return, they drive away without checking the back seat, and John does not awaken until they've driven some miles. Instead of turning around and taking him home, they invite him to their son's birthday party, and promise to send a telegram to his family in order to let the Ruggles know that John is safe.
Aside from a slight mishap with the shower, John enjoys the party. There is a huge coffee-chocolate cake, and games. The Lawrences send John home on the bus with several parcels of leftover goodies from the festivities.
The Baby Show
William, the youngest Ruggles child, is entered in the Annual Baby Show, but the family is concerned as he is a late teether. He wins his age category (6-12 months), yet a slightly older competitor wins the Grand Challenge Cup as he has teeth. The Ruggles return home only to find that William now has a tooth!
Jo and the Majestic
Jo Ruggles Jr., a Mickey Mouse
fan, spends his fourpence allowance at the local Majestic Theater to see cartoons. One week, he goes to the theater, only to find that the next Symphony is due in a fortnight. He sneaks inside the empty building and hides in the orchestra pit, where he soon falls asleep; several hours later, several cinema musicians find him. Jo explains to them why he sneaked in, and the men give him sixpence for the show, and a warning not to do it again.
Mr. Ruggles' discovery
Mr. Ruggles has always wanted to take his family to London
for the great Cart-Horse Parade in Regent's Park
, but cannot afford it. One week, he and his co-worker find an envelope
in one of the dustbins
on their route. They turn the money in to the police, and a week later, the rightful owner gives him a reward of £2, which he uses to take his family to the Cart-Horse Parade.
At Regent's Park
The Ruggles travel to Regent's Park, the venue for the Cart Horse Parade, where they meet the family members who have entered their horse in the competition. The horse, 'Bernard Shaw', takes first place, and the families climb into the cart in order to participate in the parade.
A Perfect Day ends
The Ruggles spend the afternoon at a "posh
" tea shop
while Charlie is stabling his horse. They spend longer than they realize amidst the delights of ice cream
and orchestra music, and must rush off to the train station. They make it just in time, and as the train pulls out, Mr. Ruggle's brother plays The End of a Perfect Day
on his mouth organ
- ISBN 0-14-030007-4 (Puffin, UK, late 1980s reprint)