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BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 26 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:601
  1. T Greenhalgh

    My paternal grandmother died in childbirth, leaving a young apprentice engineer with two small children in a short lease bedsit. Times were hard, but the lad had grit and, more importantly, charm. Within a year the family had a stable income, a tiny council house on one of the better estates in Coventry, and a pretty stepmother straight from school. There followed, predictably, a succession of hungry siblings, not all of whom survived. As the eldest, it was my father's daily duty to get the washing up bowl filled with chips at the local fish bar while Ma fried the eggs or sliced the …

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