"I have read Vic: Lambeth to Lambourn and found it to be enjoyable and interesting. Being born in 1941 at a time of deprivation and rationing, I can relate to this series of books very well."
DTC, Hungerford.

1995 - 2013
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Ordinary Lives

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Vic: from Lambeth to Lambourn
by Victor Cox

ISBN 9780951696088

304 pp including photos

Edited by Anne Bott



Vic’s pre-1920 childhood in Lambeth, London, gives a rich insight into the time. Vic started work at 14 and worked as a waiter at the famous Waldorf Hotel, in London’s Aldwych, haunt of the rich and famous.

"I am reading Vic's book. I think it is brilliant. You can really live it and - no disrespect - it is written so simply, I am enthralled by it."  P.B.

Reviewer from Sydney, Australia, on Amazon.co.uk says: “As I was born and bred in Lambeth, I was attracted to this book. Written in an easy to read style, it meanders along through the trials and tribulations of a family from working class Lambeth to wartime evacuation to Berkshire and beyond. By the time I finished reading, I felt as though I not only knew Vic, but also his nearest and dearest. I recommend it to anybody looking for a good basic study of family life.”

“This book shows how very special a so-called ‘ordinary’ life can be.” Journal of Kent History

“Gives an illuminating insight into how people in south London lived before, during and after the wars.” South London Press 

“It provides both an insight into nine decades of social history, and an interesting story of one ‘ordinary’ man’s colourful path through life. It also reveals that by focussing exclusively on the lives of the rich and famous, society has sidelined the wealth of stories waiting to be told by the ‘real people.’ Newbury Weekly News

Extracts from Book

  • The main thing I used to look forward to was our Sunday evenings. All the family seemed to be home for tea on Sundays (bread and butter, and cake, after a good lunch with a joint of beef) and that was always a lively affair. We had the sub basement, where we had our food, and more or less lived there. And then, Sunday evenings during the wintertime we would all go up to what we called the music room.

  • Most of the stall holders knew us as they did most of the other children. And, along with others of my age, I think I knew practically every stall holder and the shop people. There were quite a lot of Irish people that lived about there, but we all got on well with each other, Then there was Marcantonio’s ice cream parlour, a pretty large place, with small tables like a café. . .  

  • That was my first visit to a hospital . Mum took me. I had to see a black doctor, and that seemed a bit exciting, as in those days you didn’t see any black or coloured doctors about.

  • I must have been about ten or eleven years old, and I remember the morning, after we’d got up, and Shady said to me: “Get theeself ready, we shall be going pig killing.”
  • And so with Jim, I went round to Soho, to a small tailor’s shop which was run by a Jewish family and was well-known by a lot of hotel workers. A young chap of about twenty guessed what I’d come for and measured me up. For shirtfront, collars and bowties I had to go elsewhere.
  • London County Council was building a new estate, China Walk Estate. Around the back of the house and including Richmond Street and St Albans Street had all been cleared and already new flats had been built. Just our row in the Kennington Road would be the next for demolition.
  • Our responsibility was to supply all remaining units, in or about Algiers, with food and other necessities. There were only a few units, as everything was being moved east along with the fighting forces.
  • I was now getting used to Lambourn. Larry the lodger had left, as his job at Membury finished. Shady brought another lodger to us. He was a tall young fellow, and he came to work in the racing stables. It was a stable training jumpers.
  • During that summer, we had two or three visits from Len Wohlgemuth’s eldest son Paul. He was doing his National Service and was stationed at RAF Compton Bassett, just the other side of Marlborough . . . Later Paul was sent out to Iraq and Jill [niece] agreed to write to him.
  • It was about two years ago and I was waiting for Alan Keith to announce himself on radio with his rather deep voice, and then suddenly a voice came out: “This is Richard Baker wishing Alan Keith a very happy ninetieth birthday. I didn’t realise Alan Keith was ninety years old and he is still carrying on. I still enjoy my Sunday musical evening . .


Vic was a bachelor, but more than sixty members of his extended family travelled to Lambourn on the day in 2001 when his book was launched. He was then ninety-one.

Vic died on June 13th, 2003

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