This is based on my grandmothers life story that I always felt was proof, if needed, that truth is stranger than fact. I have changed the names of the characters, but beyond that there is a limited amount of fiction and a fair bit of assumption around known facts to pull it together as what was to be the first chapter of a book. .
From the stark limestone and granite outcrops covered in harsh grass and heather, the city of stone, red brick and grey slate can be seen pushing its boundaries ever outwards. Within the city the high chimneys of a million coal fires belch out thick smoke that settles like a mourning cloth, blackening the golden stone of austere Victorian architecture. Fresh, clear water spills from the surrounding hills to the Don Valley, running through the city in polluted fast flowing rivers and thin brooks stained the colour of rusted metal.