Arthur Gill (b.1887): An Introduction

Arthur Gill was born November 24th 1887.  Arthur was the second of eight children.   Eldest to youngest; William, Arthur, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mabel, Harry, Clifford and Stanley. William, who had a turbulent relationship with Arthur, died at the age of 65. Sarah died at the age of nine, Elizabeth age three. Clifford and Stanley died as infants. Arthur wrote his memoir at 81 years of age, with two surviving siblings, Mabel and Harry.

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The memoir of Arthur Gill paints a very distinct picture of a humble man, the son of a cobbler, who always took life in his stride. From early childhood years right through to later life Arthur demonstrated a sense of humour and vigour for life, despite the trials he faced. Throughout his life Arthur faced loss, had an emotional breakdown and was called to serve as a solider during World War 1. Nonetheless his writing did not reflect or dwell on these difficult periods, and Arthur always managed to remain positive, ensuring his readers a smooth, upbeat and enjoyable read.

Arthur spent much of his time as a young boy in his father’s cobbler shop. His memoirs are filled with nostalgic childhood memories of his father, mother and neighbourhood. Gill married his wife Ellen Calvert on March 11th 1914, and they had three children; Walter, Arthur and Betty.

Gill worked in many different places, he began as a gold beater, then began show writing, this was the beginning of a life long passion and career as a show-writer. Arthur even set up his own show writing business, which he ran from the front room of his home.

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Gill returned to his profession of show- writing months after the war ended when he returned back home.Show-writing to Gill, was more than just a job, it was a passion he was very glad to come back to after war, and something which gave him great pleasure.

It was just after the birth of their son Walter in 1914 Gill was called to war, something which he never felt resentful for, despite being parted from his young family at such an important time. His nobility served him well throughout his life.

Arthur’s middle child Arthur loved to draw and paint as a hobby, just as his father did and on many occasions they enjoyed their shared hobby together. It is very notable that Gill was a working class man who did not seek to be anything but, he worked to earn money and ensure a comfortable life for his family. Himself and his wife skimped and saved in order to afford their children opportunities they didn’t have.

Arthur’s affiliation with religion however strong, did not dictate his life, or that of his children lives.   Throughout his memoirs Arthur made many references to religion, quoting songs and writing about his fellow parishioners and the role he played within his church.   Arthur’s commitment to the church is evident, however he did not blindly follow, something which is very clear throughout Arthur’s memoir.

By June 23rd 1969 aged 82, Arthur was the father of three, grandfather of six and the devoted Husband of Ellen Gill of 53 years.  “What more could one ask for?”   (150.)


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