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Walter’s Early Years

Walter was brought up in Folkestone and attended the local primary school.

In 1895, when Walter was seven, his mother Alice died of breast cancer.

There is a family photograph of Daniel with his five children possibly taken after the death of Alice (9).

In 1896 Daniel married Clara Palmer, Alice’s niece. The couple had one child, Miriam, who was born in September 1897.

Daniel, however, died suddenly of heart disease, three months later in December 1897 and in the absence of a welfare state Clara faced significant challenges in trying to support and provide for her children.

With the support of the local Methodist minister it was eventually arranged that Walter and his elder brother Edward be admitted to Dr. Stephenson’s Children’s Home and Orphanage, Bonner Road in Bethnal Green London on the 24th February 1898.

Later in his life Edward wrote an account of this time at Bonner Road entitled, “The Childrens Home(11).

We know that Walter’s step mother Clara, and his brother and sister William and Cissie tried their best to maintain contact with the boys whilst they were in care, although it is likely that the amount of contact was limited by the protocols and conditions of the Care Home.

Walter faced a further separation when his elder brother Edward was adopted by a Glasgow family, the Warnock’s, in November 1890. However, contact with Walter was maintained by Edward and the Warnocks.

Walter remained at Bonner Road, where he played in the Home’s football team. A photo of Walter in this team survives (10).

Walter went on to undertake training as a printer. However his interest and ability in football grew.

(a) Numbers in brackets refer to items held within the Walter Tull Archive