On returning from prison, Arthur was again adamant not to go back and wanted
to start life as a decent working man. He only ever got one sentence after that,
four months plus the rest of his license (probationary period after the jail sentence)
which amounted to 18 months in total. He was wrongfully accused of hitting a policeman,
though he did try to steal a taxicab for a bit of excitement.
Arthur set himself up with a workshop in a cottage in Gibraltar Gardens, and
began producing high quality, trustworthy furniture. Sturdy tables, easels and
boards were his specialty. Even then however, the underworld would come knocking
on Arthur’s door asking for help and protection. One very notable time could have
got him a life sentence. Find out more
Arthur got married on the 21 April 1924 to a beautiful young girl, fifteen years
his junior, named Milly Worby. Milly’s family was overcrowded and needed to find her a husband. Since she
and Arthur both were shy (though Arthur had no inhibitions when dealing with characters
of the Underworld), he simply said “It’s no good hanging about - let’s get it
over”, and with that they became a couple.
The only previous contact they had was probably eye contact when Milly used to
help his mother and sister out, cleaning for them. To Arthur, Milly was his ”angel,
someone who truly could bring me out of all this mess”. The service, held in Brighton,
differed from the East End tradition of local weddings, which usually consisted
of mass invites to all neighbours and the reception in the local pub (often followed
promptly by a fight).
Arthur insisted that Milly never went to work, so she never did again. Instead
he worked night and day producing boards and easels and the couple saved every
penny they could so they could one day move out of the East End for good. The
year after their marriage, they had their first child. Perhaps part of their closeness
and compassion was that Arthur had only had sex once before.
Milly and Arthur in their later years, relaxing on the beach (left)
The last violent encounter of Arthur’s life came in 1930 only shortly after his
marriage, when a rival gang, fronted by a man called Dodger Mullins, knocked at
the door very early one morning. There was a curious system happening at the time,
whereby gangsters in trouble would ask previous convicts like Arthur to cough
up cash as a kind of insurance, a form of the terrorising. Find out more
Continue to 'Later Years'>>