Arthur was born in 1868, one of several children born to William and Sarah. Three of his brothers and sisters, aged between one and eight years old, died within four days of each other in December 1873. Two other siblings died in infancy and only one sister survived to adulthood.
According to the Census of 1881, we know that Arthur became a labourer before training as a carpenter. We have his original apprenticeship papers for when he was aged 14 and 16.
The 1891 census shows Arthur at 23 being married to Edith (nee Durrant). They had two children, Lillian and Sidney, but it appears that Edith died giving birth to Sidney.
Arthur quickly re-married and he and his second wife, Henrietta Kate (nee Blake), had several children, including Leonard (Lenny).
By 1901, Arthur and Henrietta and their four children were living on Rampart Road, off Northgate Street, where Arthur is described as a ‘carpenter, undertaker and employer’.
It was usual in those days for building firms to ‘undertake’ funerals, as they had all the equipment necessary for making coffins and digging graves. The name ‘Undertaker’ originates from.