London, 1950 - Vera Drake lives in a small flat with her husband Stan, and their grown-up son and daughter, Sid and Ethel. The family is not rich, but their combined incomes make for a reasonable life. Vera is a cleaner, Stan a mechanic in his brother Frank's garage, and Ethel works in a light-bulb factory. Sid is an apprentice tailor. The Drakes have something money can't buy: they are a genuinely happy family.