Mr Arthur Nichols was born in Camberwell, Surrey, England in the latter months of 1866.
He was the son of George Nichols (b. 1833), a currier (leather worker) and Louisa King (b. 1841), both natives of Middlesex who had married in 1860. He had eight known siblings: Alice (b. 1861), Frederick George (1864-1899), Harry (b. 1867), Minnie Sophia (b. 1869), Clara Ellen (b. 1871), Jessie Agnes (b. 1875), Walter Leonard (b. 1877) and Edwin Frank (b. 1882).
The family are shown on the 1871 census living at 6 Marlborough Road, Camberwell and on the 1881 census at 81 Albany Road, Camberwell. The latter census shows that Arthur, aged 15, is working as a bookbinder but he would be described as a clerk when he and his family appeared on the 1891 census, then living at 36 Trafalgar Road, Camberwell. Arthur would still be at home for the time of the 1901 census, then described as an insurance agent and living at 37 St Mary's Road, Camberwell. He would later lose his father in 1908 and his mother died sometime in the 1920s or 1930s.
Arthur was married in St Mary Magdalene Church, Peckham on 6 November 1907 to Edith Louisa Cannell, née King (b. 1869 in Hatfield, Hertfordshire), a widower and licensed victualler. Edith had previously been married in 1895 to Leonard Cannell (b. 1863) and with him ran a public house in Belvedere, Kent and had five known children: Leonard William (1896-1896), Edith Victoria (1897-1973, later Mrs Frank Hughes), May Florence (1898-1984), Amy Adelaide (1900-1975, later Mrs John Ansell) and Edward Stanley (1902-1986). Edith was widowed in 1902 and she and Arthur Nichols would have no children of their own following their marriage.
By 1911 it seems that the marriage between Arthur and Edith had broken down. Edith had reverted to using her former married name of Cannell, claimed to be a widow and was working as a housekeeper to a pawnbroker at 121 Hampstead Road, St Pancras, London, her daughters listed as pupils at boarding schools.
Arthur in the meantime had went to sea and he appears on the 1911 census lodging at 1 Briton Street, St Mary, Southampton. He was now giving his place of birth as Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire and had shaved a decade from his true age, also stating that he was unmarried. His landlord was Robert Dodds, the elder brother of Titanic engineer Renny Watson Dodds.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Nichols gave his local address as 43 Suffolk Avenue, Southampton, his age as 34 (he was just shy of 46) and birthplace as Warwick. His last ship had been the Olympic and as a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Nichols died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His loss on the Titanic is commemorated on a family grave in Nunhead Cemetery, Southwark.
His mother Louisa and unmarried sister Jessie benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund as "class F" dependents. There is some confusion as to whether his widow also benefitted from relief fund payments.
Nichols' widow Edith never remarried and later lived in Bexleyheath, Kent. Her three daughters all spent their lives in Kent and her surviving son, Edward, emigrated to New Zealand where he raised a family. Edith died in Bexleyheath on 1 May 1946 aged 76.