Girling began work as a Post Office messenger boy. By the age of 18 he was involved in union activities as a strike organiser. He was later employed as an Inspector of Shops by the London County Council.
In 1906 he was elected to Shoreditch Borough Council, and remained a member until his death. in 1919 he became first Labour mayor of the borough. He held the office four times: his wife Henrietta was Shoreditch's first female mayor in 1930.
Mentioned here .
- "Obituary: Mr. William Girling". The Times: p. 14. 2 October 1958.