I've discovered recently that Harry was a bit of a lad. He was born in 1875 to a railway goods checker and his wife, in Croydon, one of five children. He started work as a coal office clerk and in around 1895 he met 19 year old Fanny, newly arrived from rural Lincolnshire, and got her pregnant. Now Fanny came from good middle class stock. Goodness knows what her religious family thought about their shotgun marriage which took place in 1896 in a register office of all places. At least she was only four months pregnant at the time, so probably not showing that much!
They must have had a go at their marriage, as two more children followed, one in 1899 and another in 1901. Then whatever happened over the next few years is unknown, as he disappeared from my grandmother's (the 1899 child) history. Whenever significant events happened in the future, ie marriages and burials, he was referred to as a commercial clerk.
HOWEVER, thanks to the magic of the internet, I struck up a correspondence with someone who had a grandfather Harry with the same name & birthplace, whose parents turned out to be the same as my Harry's.
It seems that by 1908 he had set up home with another woman down on the Dorset coast, who was using his surname, and together they produced 5 children including a pair of twins. He had also reinvented himself as an assistant hotel manager by now! And then again by 1912 he was a wine merchant's manager. No marriage has ever materialised for this second liaison despite careful searching.My new contact has had to come to an acceptance that his mother (result of the 2nd liaison) was most likely illegitimate.
Fanny (calling herself Harry's widow at her death in 1950) continued to live in the area. Turns out his new family moved back to Surrey and lived just a couple of streets away from her for a while too. Was he keeping both families going ?
My take on it is that the couple were waiting for Fanny to die so that they could get married legally without need for divorce. As it turns out this wasn't to be. Harry's second lady died first, shortly followed by Fanny, and just a few months later by the old rascal himself.