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How childhood above a Gravesend pub became autobiographical novel Hollow Victory

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 March 2014

Ernie, 14-year-old Angela and Pearl in 1967.

Ernie, 14-year-old Angela and Pearl in 1967.

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Angela Young's father always wanted to run his own pub.

Angela aged 60.Angela aged 60.

When the opportunity arose to take over the Wheatsheaf in New Road, Gravesend, he jumped at the chance.

Ernie and Pearl Pridmore took over the pub in 1954 and that same year their daughter Angela was born.

Angela spent the first 16 years of her life living above the pub and has now put her memories into print in the form of an autobiographical novel called Hollow Victory.

Now living in Buckinghamshire, Angela has fond memories of her time growing up in Gravesend.

“The novel is a good period piece filled with references from the time that people from the era can relate to,” she said.

“It is almost entirely based on my childhood with the main character, Maureen, representing myself.

“My dad always wanted to be a pub landlord, and him and mum ran the place together when they got it.”

Angela was born in Gravesend Hospital and was the only child of Ernie and Pearl, learning how to pull a pint by the age of 10.

“The best bit was probably the jokes we had with the customers who came in every day,” she said. “They made the place come alive.”

Much like her character Maureen, Angela spent a lot of her childhood upstairs in the pub on her own.

She said: “My parents were always working and they didn’t particularly encourage me to bring my friends round so I spent most of my evenings and weekends at home.”

One of the things she looked forward to was spending her summers with her grandparents Ernie and Ada Pridmore, who lived around the corner in Brandon Street.

“Everyone has an era when you begin to develop and become who you really are and I’m glad this was my era,” she said.

“The Beatles were my idols and we had the freedom to dress the way we wanted to.”

Yet in 1970, due to difficult economic times and Ernie’s refusal to keep up with the changing trends, the family had to sell the Wheatsheaf and moved five minutes away to a bungalow in Lamorna Avenue.

When she was 21, Angela moved to London to become a researcher for an advertising company.

“I went back to the pub not too long ago to do some research for the book and found it looked pretty much exactly the same so it was a little strange returning,” she said.

“I believe the book is a thought-provoking novel and hopefully humorous and entertaining throughout.”

n Hollow Victory is published by Legend Press and is available from all good book shops.

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