Shirley Pitts, the eldest of six children was born upside down on 24 November 1934. Her "career" began by thieving bread off doorsteps and coal from coalcarts. Her father's bungled attempts at blackmarketeering and her dipsomaniac mother's inadequacies made Shirley resolve not only to be a first-class thief but also the best mother her six children could wish for.
Before she died Shirley told her story to Lorraine - the story of a generous, brave and beautiful woman with a huge sense of fun and a love of life.
Lorraine Gamman is Professor of Design, at Central Saint Martins (CSM) College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London (UAL), where she has taught design and contextual studies since 1989. She is also currently a Visiting Professor and Research Associate at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia.
Gamman has published widely on visual culture and design, including co-authored academic books, articles and critical reviews. In her spare time from the day job (which is limited) she is currently writing a crime novel. It is set both in Old Hoxton, where she was born (and still has many family connections) and today's "New Hoxton", a few miles down the road from Stoke Newington, where she lives with her partner and daughter.