Albert Turpin lived all his life in Bethnal Green. In the Great War, he served in the Marines and witnessed the massacre of Armenians in Turkey and the Russian Revolution. In the thirties, he became a Socialist, a Labour councillor and prominent anti-Fascist. Indeed, he was accused of being behind the disturbances at the Battle of Cable St, when a march by Mosley’s Blackshirts through the East End was fiercely resisted. In the Second World War he volunteered as a firefighter and saw action throughout the Blitz.
Turpin was an accomplished artist, involved with the East London Group of artists in the twenties and thirties. He sketched and painted throughout his life, after the war depicting the reconstruction of Bethnal Green. In 1946, he became Mayor of Bethnal Green.