Dot talks about how people living in a series of back-to-backs were all taken ill with a stomach bug.
“That would have been gastroenteritis but nobody ever went back to the families and told them that,” she said. “If they were lucky they would get a standpipe or the sewerage department would come and change the lavatory pans.
“But what you can’t imagine is that, if I am describing that happening in one courtyard, then it would have been happening in hundreds of courtyards across Birmingham.”
And Dot admits experiencing so much hardship did take its toll – if not immediately.
“There is a lot of emotion when I think of those times,” she says. “When I was there I was in my early 20s and at that age you don’t necessarily realise that. At that age you think there is nothing you cannot do. You think you can change the world.
“I don’t think I actually realised quite how hard and aggressive it was then. I was too busy just getting on with it.
“It was really only when I came to write this book that I realised quite how hard it had been for the families and for those working with them.
“There are a lot more incidents which happened which I haven’t mentioned in the book. Sometimes things are too hard to write about.”
* Bread, Jam and a Borrowed Pram by Dot May Dunn is published by Orion for £12.99.