She wrote a best-selling trilogy about her work as a nurse and midwife practicing in the poverty-stricken East End of London in the s: Call the Midwife , Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to The East End. She had a younger sister, Christine, and two younger paternal half-sisters. After leaving school at the age of 15  she learned shorthand and typing  and became the secretary to the head of Dr Challoner's Grammar School. She then trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital , Reading , and moved to London to receive training to become a midwife. Lee was hired as a staff nurse at the London Hospital in Whitechapel in the s.