Ellen Tregent was born in 1888 and died in 1988 - her lifetime encompassing an unprecedented century of social change and world upheaval. She was born into a poor working-class family in Battersea, London. Her grandfather had arrived from Ireland 40 years earlier to escape almost certain death as potato famine ravaged his country Martin Knight is Ellen Tregent's grandson. Always intrigued by his family history, he began a quest to reassemble the chain of events that shaped his grandmother's life. He uncovered her papers and made contact with several living relatives who had known Ellen or some of the people and events she described. In "Battersea Girl", Knight charts Ellen's long and eventful life and the lives of her siblings. They encounter abject poverty, disease, suicide, murder, war and inevitably death, but, equally, the spirit of stoical people who were determined to make the most of their lives shines through in this enchanting book.
Martin Knight is the author of a number of other books, including the novel Common People and, with Martin King, the terrace-culture classics Hoolifan and The Naughty Nineties. He lives in London with his wife and five children.