England After Dark

1990 Weidenfeld & Nicolson

This book was based on a series of articles that I had written for the Guardian newspaper, mainly about the North of England, in the midst of a crippling recession. However, I did venture out with the Vice Squad in central London and I travelled through the night with some labourers who lived in Grimsby but worked in London. All I remember now is that I was knackered by the time we got to London, and they had to start work on the building site. I was fascinated by this England that we never saw and it sometimes seemed to me that we shut our eyes a little too readily.

In this startling and often moving portrait of England after dark, Geoffrey Beattie reveals a world unknown to most of us after we have retired for the evening. As a brilliant investigative journalist he has plumbed the depths of the vice and squalor of our great cities, talking to prostitutes and accompanying the vice squad on their night-time patrol. He experiences, too, the companionship of the night as he travels from Grimsby to London with a building worker who is prepared to commute so far for just £200 per week. He watches the night out with a pensioner, old and lonely, meets up with a medium, is introduced to the world of professional arm wrestling, and sees how an air stewardess copes with her exhaustion.

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Geoffrey Beattie is a psychologist who lectures in social psychology at Sheffield University. He is also a gifted journalist with a genius for making people talk, for giving them rope and finding that they very often hang themselves... It is a view of Britain unknown to most of us and Beattie's perceptive and non-judgmental eye is perhaps the best filter through which to see it.’
The Sunday Times, 1990

‘A Cockney oil rig worker once bet me £5 he could jump up and bang his head on the ceiling. I declined the offer. Geoffrey Beattie would probably have asked him where he was going next and tagged along.’
The Observer, 1990

‘..his dedication to the early hours pays off.’
New Statesman and Society, 1990