The Family from One End Street

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The Family from One End Street
The Family from One End Street cover.jpg
Front cover of a recent edition
(Puffin Modern Classics, 2004)
Author Eve Garnett
Illustrator Garnett
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series One End Street
Genre Children's realist novel
Publisher Frederick Muller
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 212 pp (first edition)
OCLC 153872836
LC Class PZ7.G1843 Fam[1]
Followed by Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street

The Family from One End Street is a realistic English children's novel, written and illustrated by Eve Garnett and published by Frederick Muller in 1937. It is "a classic story of life in a big, happy family."[2] set in a small Sussex town in the south east of England. It was regarded as innovative and groundbreaking for its portrayal of a working-class family at a time when children's books were dominated by stories about middle-class children.

In 1938, Garnett won the second annual Carnegie Medal awarded by the Library Association for The Family from One End Street, recognising the best children's book by a British subject for the previous year.[2] On the 70th anniversary of the Medal it was named one of the top ten winning works of the previous seventy years, selected by a panel from a public ballot to propose the all-time favourite.[3]

It is regarded as a classic, and remains in print, most recently reissued as a Puffin Classic in 2014.

There were two sequels, Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street published in 1956 and Holiday at the Dew Drop Inn published in 1962 and subtitled "A One End Street story" in the United States.

Collectively, the three novels are referred to as the "One End Street" series.


The Ruggles family lives at No. 1 One End Street in the heart of Otwell, located on the Ouse river. Otwell-on-the-Ouse is a fictional town resembling Lewes, Sussex, where the author lived.

Josiah Ruggles works for Otwell council as a dustman and his wife Rosie takes in washing. They have seven children, so life is hard, but they are a happy family.

CILIP, successor to the Library Association, assigns the subject tags "family large roisterous" and "family working class" in its online presentation of the Carnegie Medal winning books.[2]


The story begins with Lily Rose trying to help her mother Rosie with the ironing and ruining a petticoat. She apologizes to its owner, Mrs Beaseley, who forgives her. Mrs Beaseley also gives Kate her niece's cast off clothes for her new school, as the government funds to help with this are paid in arrears. Kate loses the school hat, and tries to sell mushrooms to pay for a new one, but the original is eventually found.

Jim, the older and more ambitious of the Ruggles twins, meets and joins the local gang the Black Hands, led by a twelve-year-old named Henry Oates. Though they consider him too young to join and accuse him of spying, Jim begs for his acceptance.

The next Saturday as a hailstorm begins, Jim follows a dog into a drain pipe around a wharf’s barge-loading area for shelter. Once the pipe is loaded on the barge Jim climbs aboard, hides in the pipe and is carried off to the seaport Salthaven. Here he is still in the pipe when they are loaded directly from the barge into a waiting ship. Though the man on the ship angrily returns him to the land, the surrounding dock workers help him to get home.

John, the younger twin, is a car fan and regularly visits Otwell Castle's car park. A couple called the Lawrences arrive at the castle, and allow him to 'mind' their car. The same rainstorm which sends Jim into the pipe on the wharf for shelter catches John, and he climbs into the car for shelter. When the Lawrences return, they drive away without checking the back seat, and John does not awaken until they've driven some miles. Instead of turning around and taking him home, they invite him to their son's birthday party, and promise to send a telegram to his family to let the Ruggles know that John is safe.

William, the youngest Ruggles child, is entered in the Annual Baby Show, but the family is concerned as he is a late teether. He wins his age category (6–12 months), yet a slightly older competitor wins the Grand Challenge Cup as he has teeth. The Ruggles return home only to find that William now has a tooth.

Jo Ruggles Jr., a Mickey Mouse fan, enjoys watching cartoons at the cinema. On Saturday morning he sneaks inside the empty building and hides in the orchestra pit to see the first colour Mickey Mouse film, where he soon falls asleep; several hours later, several cinema musicians find him. Jo explains why he sneaked in, and the men give him sixpence for the show, and a warning not to do it again.

Mr Ruggles receives a reward of £2 for returning some lost money, which he uses to take his family to the Cart-Horse Parade. At the parade Mr Ruggles' brother has entered his horse in the competition. The horse, Bernard Shaw, takes first place, and the families climb into the cart to participate in the parade. The Ruggles spend the afternoon at a "posh" tea shop, nearly missing their train through the excitement.

Publication history[edit]

Eve Garnett herself wrote that The Family From One End Street was rejected as unsuitable by at least eight other publishers before taken by Muller.

The US Library of Congress gives a longer title, The Family from One End street and some of their adventures, for its oldest holding, a 1939 UK edition.[1]

Recent British editions have been published by Puffin. The Family first appeared as a Puffin Book in 1942, under the editorship of Eleanor Graham, only a year after Penguin Books introduced the imprint.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The family from One End street and some of their adventures" (London: Muller, 1939). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  2. ^ a b c (Carnegie Winner 1937). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  3. ^ "70 Years Celebration: Anniversary Top Tens". The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-10.

External links[edit]

The Family from One End Street in libraries (WorldCat catalog) —immediately, first US edition

Preceded by
Pigeon Post
Carnegie Medal recipient
Succeeded by
The Circus Is Coming