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. She left midwifery to work in palliative care at the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead. She married the artist Philip Worth in , and they had two daughters.