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Doris Smart at 100: Barnsbury great-great-gran remembers a life of hard work as she clocks up a century

PUBLISHED: 17:41 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:41 18 January 2017

Doris Smart celebrates her 100th birthday with great-great-granddaughters Violet, 18 months, and Olivia, five. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Doris Smart celebrates her 100th birthday with great-great-granddaughters Violet, 18 months, and Olivia, five. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A Barnsbury woman who made bullets in munitions factories during the war celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday.

Doris with her telegram from the Queen. Picture: Nigel SuttonDoris with her telegram from the Queen. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Doris Smart, of Barnsbury Road, danced the night away at the Ritz-Carlton on Friday to begin her centenarian celebrations.

“I really enjoyed myself. I have never seen anything like it,” she told the Gazette.

Her parents sold vegetables in Chapel Market, but life wasn’t easy after her mum died when she was five.

“I had to step in and do the housework and I used to step away from the school to help my sisters,” Doris said.

Doris Smart celebrating her 100th birthday with family on Friday. Picture: Family of Doris SmartDoris Smart celebrating her 100th birthday with family on Friday. Picture: Family of Doris Smart

She had six siblings – four sisters and two brothers – and was especially close to Rosie and George.

Doris said she wouldn’t trade her life for anything, but she had to work for every penny.

“That’s how it was in them days,” she said. “If you were skint you could always get a job if you were willing to work.”

She added: “I wasn’t a lazy person. If there was tuppence to earn then I’d earn it.”

Doris Smart dancing at the Ritz to celebrate her 100th birthday on Friday. Picture: Family of Doris SmartDoris Smart dancing at the Ritz to celebrate her 100th birthday on Friday. Picture: Family of Doris Smart

Doris now has one daughter, five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren – one of whom is 18 months old and calls Doris “Nanny Deedee”.

She now lives with granddaughter Michele Davies, 53, in Hemingford Road.

“I think her secret is belligerence. She’s a five-foot little dynamo,” Michele said. “She’s had to work for everything in life and she doesn’t give up.”

Doris said the biggest change she has seen in Islington is the people.

“People used to be friendly. They’ve got no time today,” she said.

Her next-door neighbour Mrs Boomer used to look out for Doris and her siblings after her mum died.

Doris added: “That’s how it was. The people in the street were very good.”

Asked what she believed had helped her reach the milestone, she gestured to her assembled family and said: “I wouldn’t have made it to 100 if it wasn’t for this.”


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