Arthur Morrison  

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Arthur George Morrison (November 1, 1863 London - December 4, 1945) was an English author and journalist, known for his realistic novels about London's East End and for his detective stories.

Morrison was born in the East End of London, on November 1, 1863. Little is known about his childhood and education, though he was probably educated in the East End. By 1886 he was working as a clerk at the People's Palace, in Mile End. In 1890 he left this job and joined the editorial staff of the Evening Globe newspaper. The following year he published a story entitled A Street which was subsequently published in book form in Tales of Mean Streets. The volume was a critical success, but a number of reviewers objected to the violence portrayed in one story, Lizerunt.

Around this time Morrison was also producing detective short stories which emulated those of Arthur Conan Doyle about Sherlock Holmes. Morrison's Martin Hewitt was an imitation of Sherlock Holmes, but inverted: he was ordinary, short, good tempered and gladly cooperated with the police. He was not particularly original but some of these stories hold up today. Three volumes of Hewitt stories were published before the publication of the novel for which Morrison is most famous: A Child of the Jago (1896). The novel described in graphic detail living conditions in the East End, including the permeation of violence into everyday life (it was a barely fictionalised account of life in the Old Nichol Street Rookery). Other less well-received novels and stories followed, until Morrison effectively retired from writing fiction around 1913. Between then and his death, he concentrated on building his collection of Japanese prints and paintings.

He lived near Epping Forest, at Chingford; then Loughton (commemorated by a Blue Plaque); and High Beach, where he is buried in the churchyard.

The Arthur Morrison Society was formed in 2007. The Society's first public event was on 18 April 2009, with a Loughton Festival talk by Tim Clark (The British Museum) about Morrison's Japanese Print Collection.

Literary works

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