And this was how they grew up, in their private little world at the centre of Bethnal Green, a tight-knit working-class community where everyone was made aware that Violet’s little boys were ‘special’. They were celebrities even then. As Reg put it: ‘From an early age Ron and I took it for granted that whatever path we took we’d end up being famous.’
But being special had its drawbacks. ‘They weren’t like other children,’ said their cousin Billy Wilshire. People who knew them then still remember how self-contained they were. In Ron’s words: ‘We had our mother, and we had each other, so we never needed no one else.’ But to others there would always be something strange about them.
At the age of three, a near-catastrophe happened that tightened the already strong bonds of twinship in such a way that they would effectively stay locked together for the rest of their lives.