Growing up in a Lincolnshire workhouse

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“Let the little bugger die!” was the opening line of Fred Marshall’s biography about growing up in rural Lincolnshire.

That was the advice given to his mum by a fellow inmate at the Sleaford workhouse where he was born in 1909.

Fred grew up around Caistor, Wragby, Glentham, Newtoft and Market Rasen and his harsh life was revealed in a book “Bastard Brat”, written by his son John.

Published in 2008, around 100 copies remain, which John is keen to distribute to worthy causes, such as schools and libraries.

“Nobody uses the term ‘bastard’ in that sense today and now half the children maybe born to unmarried parents. Nobody cares two hoots now. It’s a thing of the time. In my dad’s time it was a shame,” John says of the title.

“That’s why he wrote the book. He wanted people to know how tough life was in Lincolnshire, the difference between rich and poor.”

Fred died in 1988 and it took John, a retired primary school teacher, nearly 20 years to produce the book.

“Dad wrote these handwritten notes when he was nearly blind. It took years to sort them out. I promised my father before I died I would try and get his message out. That was an aim of my retirement,”

Fred later moved to Nottingham, Stafford and then Devon where John, 79, lives today. Those wanting a book can contact him on 01626-888798.