Joan Dyson, who was born and bred in Silvertown, recalls skipping school to run errands for her mum.

“I wasn’t really the educated one – I never went to school a lot. I used to go up the pawn shop on Mondays for mum, put my dad’s suit in and go and get it on Friday afternoon. She could trust me to keep my mouth shut.

I used to say ‘Harry, mum want’s two and six’. ‘No’, he’d say, ‘It’s only worth two bob’. Same thing every week.

Then I’d go and get it out on Friday after mum had been given her housekeeping money. It all had to be done without dad knowing. When she died my dad found all the pawn tickets and he couldn’t believe it.”