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Once they had been called Orrice and Effel, two bedraggled, scruffy waifs who lived rough off the streets of Walworth. Now they were Horrace and Ethel Cooper, grown up - quite respectable really - and living with their adopted parents, Jim and Rebecca Cooper.
When Horrace saw the pretty girl who worked as a shop assistant in Adams (Ladies Fashion Modes) he was quite bowled over and knew he had to meet her. From then on he was in and out of the shop, buying hats and stockings and ribbons, trying desperately to persuade Miss Sally Brown to come out with him. And while he was laying siege to Sally, his sister Ethel was listening to her poet boyfriend spouting forth his romantic verse. But Ethel's involvement with the poet was to end more dangerously and dramatically than either she or Horrace had imagined and several quite startling events were to happen before Horrace and Ethel's affairs were resolved.
It is 1953 - Coronation year - and like all of Cockney London the members of the Adams family are looking forward to the celebrations. Chinese Lady, now Lady Finch, worries that her friends will think she is too grand to mingle with them . But her husband has a more pressing worry - the sudden appearance of the lovely but mysterious Katje Galicia, who knows more than she should about his own chequered past.
Young Jimmy Adams, meanwhile, is enjoying working at the family clothing factory, where at the retirement party for two of the oldest employees, Bert and Gertie Roper, he meets their lively granddaughter Clare. Before long he has offered her a job on the switchboard, and has hopes of seeing her after working hours as well. And brave Felicity, blinded in the blitz, thinks she notices a glimmer of light appearing in her dark world - but dare not tell her husband, in case it is just her imagination...
With the young Queen now on the throne, times are changing for the Adams family.
The 1950s are in full swing, and the Adams family is blessed with many new additions. Chinese Lady now has so many grandchildren that even she can sometimes scarcely remember them all. Boots and Sammy are kept up-to-date by the Adams youngsters , some of whom are now working in the family business. But they also welcome newcomers , including the lovely Anneliese, whose German ancestry makes her less than popular with some of her South London neighbours, and Joe and Hortense , newly arrived from the West Indies and working hard for Matt and Rosie on their farm in Kent.
Sammy, meanwhile, has trouble with the newly-formed trade union at his factory, and the shadows of the war continue to haunt the family when Felicity's hopes for an operation which will save her sight are threatened by an extraordinary revelation.
But the Adams family is still full of hope and promise for the future.
By the year 1949, life in Walworth has almost returned to normal. Sammy and Boots, now in a highly successful partnership, are rebuilding the old family firm. But an old enemy resurfaces - Mr Ben Ford, better known as the Fat Man, who seems determined to ruin the various branches of this growing business. It takes all the well-known Adams ingenuity and determination to outwit the thugs in the Fat Man's pay.
Meanwhile, an attractive blonde woman shopping in the market has caught Boots's eye. But Polly does not need to feel apprehensive - the sight of this woman has stirred the worst of memories for Boots, from the darkest days of the war. And on a happier note, there is some surprising news for Chinese Lady - news which will affect the whole of the Adams family.
It was 1940, and many of the younger members of the Adams family were caught up in the war in France. Boots, now a Major and on the staff of General Sir Henry Simms, was one of the thousands of British troops trying to escape in the armada of little boats from Dunkirk. His son Tim and nephew Bobby were also struggling to reach the coast and safety, while Eloise was with the ATS awaiting the homecoming soldiers at Portsmouth with a comforting cup of tea and a ticket home. Boots and Tim both made it safely back, but of Bobby there was no sign, and the family all feared the worst.
In a farm some miles from Dunkirk, however, Bobby was alive but injured, and trapped by the advancing Germans. The farmer and his wife offered him refuge but Helene, the farmer's independent-minded daughter, was scathing about the retreating British army and gave the brave, joking young sergeant a hard time. Working in the fields, dodging the German soldiers, Bobby was desperately looking for a way to escape and Helene, despite her hostility, found herself increasingly anxious to help the Englishman to get back home. Their adventures were to thrill the Adams family when they came to hear about it.
Sammy was the sharp one of the Adams family.Since he was nine-years-old - when he'd charged his mother interest on a loan to make up the rent money - he'd been busy setting up deals and expanding the family business - a china stall in East Street market. But as his mighty empire grew - two shops and a factory in Shoreditch - so did the determination of his assistant, Susie Brown.
Susie adored Sammy - although she thought he needed a bit of work done on him, a few rough spots knocked off - and she had decided, quite early on, that Sammy was going to marry her.But Sammy, rapidly becoming the King of Camberwell, and dreading that marriage was going to cost him money, decided to put up a fight.It was a battle he hadn't a hope of winning - especially when all the rest of the Adams family were on Susie's side.
Here again are all the magnificent characters from Down Lambeth Way and Our Emily - Chinese Lady, keeping her family in order and contemplating matrimony for the second time.Emily and Boots, facing a serious rift in their marriage - a rift not helped by the hovering Polly Sims.Tommy, daring to woo Cousin Vi when he 'wasn't quite good enough for her', and Sammy, pulling his wonderful Walworth family into the good times at last.
The seemingly endless war was at last coming to a conclusion. But for the country and for the Adams family, there were still many tribulations to be overcome. Flying bombs - the deadly V1 buzzbombs - appeared over London, causing dreadful destruction, and the struggle continued to overcome the most powerful war machine the world had ever known.
But amongst the Cockney community there were lighter moments, too. For Felicity, Eloise and Lizzy Somers there was the happiness of knowing that their menfolk were safe and well. Daniel Adams and his American girlfriend even had a brief meeting with Winston Churchill himself. And as the Third Reich began to show signs of collapse, the scent of victory was in the air.
It's 1959, and Boots Adams and his wife Polly are helping to celebrate the retirement of barman Joe at their favourite Camberwell pub, when they witness with horror a sudden and vicious attack on Joe by a knife-wielding young thug.
Is this a sign of the times? Is contempt for old traditions and enthusiasm for everything new and fashionable going to threaten the Adams family and their easy-going existence?
While young Gemma is courted by one of the young men who works for her father, her twin brother James finds himself affected by his girlfriend's intriguing family secrets. And just who is the mysterious young woman who arrives from Finland to study at Gemma's college?
Times move on for the Adams family in east London, and as business prospers, there are new worries to deal with. A young woman arrives who is intent on ruining Sammy Adam's winter fashion show, and Sammy must deal with her unwelcome attention. Boots has to find a solution when one of his female employees tells him about a sinister visitor, and he also does some match-making. But he doesn't realize that his family are being observed, as out of the shadows come dark and mysterious figures from the past who intrude on Boots, Polly and the twins, and his adopted daughter Rosie. Meanwhile Rosie has her hands full as her daughter Emily continues to rebel against everything around her.
How will the Adams family cope, as trouble seems to lurk around every corner?
Young Maisie Gibbs is a conscientious young woman, though life is harder since both her parents passed away. She is relieved when she finds a position as a housemaid in Kensington, under the watchful eyes of the formidable housekeeper, Mrs Carpenter, and she quickly settles in.
When she meets a handsome young soldier, she is tempted to give him his marching orders. But gradually Corporal Daniel Adams starts to win her over.
When tragedy strikes the Fairfax household, Maisie is lucky she has Daniel to rely on - a good sign of things to come?
A delight for fans of the Adams family - the heartwarming story of Daniel and Chinese Lady.
Published: 31 Oct 2011
In 1941, the United Kingdom was in desperate straits, standing alone with its troops against the colossal war machine of Nazi Germany. There was always Prime Minister Winston Churchill, however, who growled his defiance to Hitler and induced in his people a determination to endure.
The Adams family shared that determination and their own kind of optimism. Emma went happily into her marriage with Jonathan, while Boots's son Tim, in between his hazardous exploits as a Commando, helped his fiancee Felicity in her courageous fight against blindness, the result of a terrible injury in the bombing. Rosie Adams was due to marry Matthew Chapman from Dorset, but Chinese Lady was unsure about it. He seemed a fine enough man, but what with a lame leg that prevented him from doing his bit for his country, and the uncertainty of his garage business, she felt that he was hardly the ideal choice for such an eligible young woman as Rosie. As for Boots and his new wife Polly, they came up with some very unexpected news for the family...
It is summer, 1941, and the country is still at war. In the Devon village of Ashleigh, however, evacuees from the London blitz are living in an atmosphere of rural peacefulness, although Daisy Ricketts of Bermondsey isn't sure if she'll ever get on with carping Mrs Mumford, the subject of whispers because of her husband's mysterious disappearance.
David, the elder son of Tommy and Vi Adams, meets Kate Trimble, a cockney girl from Camberwell who has just arrived in Ashleigh with her aunt. Kate is imaginative and precocious, while David is happy-go-lucky , and as the war is directly affecting the lives of so many other members of the Adams family, Kate and David establish a friendship in the summer sunshine of Devon. But as their friendship develops some exciting undercurrents, an incident occurs which brings home to them the darker intrigues of wartime and provides a devastating shock to everyone.
The war is only into its second year, but already it has claimed one victim from the Adams family. Emily, Boots's cherished wife, has died in an air-raid,and the whole family mourns her. But for Polly Simms the prospect of a new life dawns, while the members of the younger generation who are in uniform, and doing their bit for King and Country, have their own problems to contend with. Tim has been posted to Scotland, to train as a Commando, and has met the lovely young officer Felicity; Eloise, now a sergeant in the ATS, is enjoying her new job as driver to the formidable Major Lucas. And has Rosie, now commissioned, lost her heart at last?
The Blitz all but destroys the factory in Shoreditch, but Sammy and Tommy Adams manage to find some alternative accommodation. And love is in the air - for young and old alike - as the Adams family refuse to let Hitler get the better of them.
Excitement is running high in the Adams family. Mr Finch, after a long career in secret government work, is to be knighted - which means that Chinese Lady will become a real 'Lady'! What with having to find a new outfit suitable for the occasion, and worrying about whether she'll have to curtsey to the King, the redoubtable matriarch of the Adams family scarcely knows if she's coming or going.
Her grandson Paul, meanwhile, working for the Young Socialists, is worried at what his fiery colleague Lucy will say if she learns that he has titled connections. And Sammy, trying to rebuild his clothing business after the War, is horrified at the growing fashion for denim jeans, which even the young ladies of the family seem to be wearing. Should he forsake his beliefs that girls should dress like girls and start stocking these objectionable garments?
All differences are resolved, as the great day dawns when the Adams family goes to the Palace for their proudest moment.
As the 1950s progress, several unexpected happenings ruffle the usually calm atmosphere of Adams family life. Sammy and Boots are troubled by the first stirrings of industrial unrest, as the unions start to flex their muscles and old loyalties change, while an attractive new employee causes Sammy some troubles of a different kind.
The older generation are more than a little surprised at what they see around them as society moves on and the lives of the youngsters are being taken over by rock 'n' roll. Young Emily, still only thirteen but old beyond her years, catches the eye of a teddy boy, while Linda is pursued by a smooth-talking young man. But good sense and good luck prevail, and the Adams family find the strength to cope with these challenging times.
Published: 31 Oct 2011