This site is dedicated to Arthur Morrison (1863 - 1945) who wrote short stories, books, plays and collected Japanese prints, many of which are now in the British Museum.
Available from the Loughton & District Historical Society:
Arthur George Morrison was born on 1 November 1863 at 14 John Street, Poplar, in the East End of London. His father (George Morrison) and his mother (Jane) had two other children. His father was an engine fitter, which at that time was a trade, not a middle-class occupation.
The young Arthur Morrison grew up to be a fine writer, and an authority on Japanese prints.
In the 1890s he moved to Salcombe House in Loughton, later moving in 1914 to the quieter and more secluded Arabin House at High Beach, near to where he would eventually be laid to rest with his wife and son.
Morrison seems to have spent most of his life denying his humble origins, sometimes going to extraordinary lengths to do so, including falsifying census returns to obscure his date of birth and East End roots. Despite this he is mostly remembered today not for his plays, short stories and detective novels, but for two of his books that describe the horrors of living in the East London slums: A Child of the Jago (1892) and Tales of Mean Streets (1894).
"It was past the mid of a summer night in the old Jago. The narrow street was all the blacker for the lurid sky; for there was a fire in a further part of Shoreditch, and the welkin was an infernal coppery glare. Below, the hot heavy air lay, a rank oppression, on the contorted forms of those who made for sleep on the pavement: and in it, and through it all, there rose from foul earth and grimed walls a close, mingled stink the odour of the Jago." (Opening passage of A Child From the Jago)
Our Society began in 2007, following a talk about Morrison by Stan Newens to a Loughton Festival audience.
The talk included a reading around Morrison's grave at High Beach.
There is so much we would like to do to celebrate Morrison as a great writer, an expert collector of Japanese art, and of course as a member of our community here in Loughton.
If you would like to help develop our Society, please get in touch. It does not matter where you live as we hold our 'discussions' by email.
In time we would like to hold regular meetings in the Town, start to produce our own newsletter and raise some money to restore his grave, which was recently tidied up by the kind volunteers at The Church of the Holy Innocents, High Beach, so why not join us?
You can also find us on: