THE EASE with which people enjoy their daily newspaper can be traced back to a man born in Wanstead more than a century ago.

Stanley Morison, who is best known for his role in creating the Times New Roman typeface, was born at Kent Villa in Tavistock Road, Wanstead, in 1889.

According to his biographer, J Stephen Poole, Morison's birthday, May 6, coincided with the feast day of St John Ante Portam Latinam, the patron saint of printers.

Despite not excelling academically he soon became renowned for his work in typography at various companies in London.

He was a conscientious objector during the First World War and was imprisoned from 1916 until 1918.

Morison began working for The Times newspaper as a typographical consultant in 1929, but soon became publicly critical of the quality of the paper's printing.

As a result, in 1931 he was commissioned to create a new, easier-to-read typeface for the newspaper and the following year his creation – Times New Roman – came into use.

Morison worked on hundreds of other designs but Times New Roman made his name, as it has since become one of the most commonly-used the world over.

Morison later lived in north and central London, until his death on October 11, 1967.

Vice-chairman of the Wanstead Historical Society and former librarian Dennis Keeling said: “He was the most important typographer of his age.

“His father deserted the family when Stanley was only 14. His mother was an agnostic but he became a Roman Catholic in 1908.

“In 1916, he married a woman called Mabel Williamson, who he understood to be seven years older than him, but some time later he discovered she was actually 17 years older.

“They eventually separated, but of course they didn't divorce because of his Catholicism.

“Apparently when he retired he was given rather a nice pay-off by his employers, and lived his declining years in an apartment in Westminster, where he enjoyed fine food and wine.

“By 1967 he had taken to a wheelchair because of spinal weakness, and could hardly see.

“But I rather hope he continued to enjoy the food and the wine.”

Some experts now say credit for creating Times New Roman should be shared with the newspaper's graphic artist Victor Lardent, while others say it was heavily influenced by a font created in 1904 by William Starling Burgess.

But what is beyond dispute is that Morison's work in creating clearer typefaces is one of the last century's most important contributions to the printed word.