EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
Shortlisted for the 2004 Harry Bowling Prize, Every Step of the Way brings to life West London of the 1950s. A time witnessing rising teenage culture, where Teddy Boys rule the coffee bars and play the jukeboxes. The era of the birth of the New Musical Express and the British pop charts. It is in this brave new world, where rationing has almost ended, central heating a pipedream for most families, and where men still rule the roost in a country fighting to recover in the aftermath of World War II that, on the 5th December 1952, a killer smog descends over England’s capital.
No one realised the ramifications this dramatic event would leave behind when it lifted or how it would change the course of history for millions of people. Some of those changes are well documented: the burning of smokeless fuels and the beginnings of the Clean Air Act that finally came into force in 1956, for example. But many more went unrecorded; countless legacies the official records failed to mention or chose to ignore.
Beth Brixham’s battle to hold her family’s lives together in the wake of the killer smog is one such story.
Published: 12 March 2012