Born in Oldham and aged 14 apprenticed to a textile designer attending evening classes at Manchester Scool of Art. Met L.S. Lowry. Moved to London in 1919 attending evening classesat the Central School of Arts and Craft under A.S.Hartrick. Worked as an illustrator and poster designer. Married the artist,
Margaret Cook, in 1928. Exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1929; the New English Art Club and the London Group, 1930 and member of the LG from 1934. Solo exhibition at Arthur Tooth & Sons, 1933. During the 1930s appointed art director for the advertising agency, C. Vernon & Sons. Was a founding member of the Artists' International Association and drew political cartoons for the Daily Worker and the Left Review and designed posters for London Transport and illustrations for Lilliput magazine. Author of 'The First Six Months are the Worst', 1939. During WWII he worked for the Ministries of Food, Information and Education. Elected Royal Academician, 1954. Lived in Dulwich, London. Crane Kalman held an exhibition of his work; 'A Very English Painter' in 2004-5. His work is held by the London Transport Museum and the Tate Gallery.