Walter Henry Booth

Illustrator of Children's Comics, and an Artist.

                                  ANOTHER SILVER SURFER

 

Having said for years that I didn't want, or need a computer, I finally realised that I was being left behind. Eventually, in 2009, I decided it had to be then, or not at all. So, after a lot of soul-searching, I made the decision to join the growing band of Silver Surfers. Unfortunately, what I didn't have was a know-it-all teenaged grandchild to show me the ropes. In the end, I decided that one-to-one lessons at home was the right choice for me so that is how it all began.

I have had an interest in "family history" for many years. Names and dates on a tree were fine but I was much more interested in the lives those people had experienced and I have uncovered some fascinating stories. This particular one, the story of Walter Booth, has been one of the best and I have to thank the Cambrian News for printing my request for information in the Barmouth edition of their paper. A telephone call from the "young delivery boy" to tell me that Walter had actually died in his mother's house, followed by a letter from Grace, the paying guest from 1939/40, ensued within days and gave me several more avenues to follow. The archivists at Vestry House Museum, Walthamstow, also came to my aid via Electoral Registers and were delighted to add Walter's name to their list of Notable Residents. Most of all, however, I have to thank my very good friend, Lynda Adams, whom I have known since 1992. She is an excellent researcher with an uncanny knack of knowing just where to look and I could not have achieved this result without her encouragement and expertise.

I was able to locate the grave of Walter's parents when I visited Queens Road Cemetery in Walthamstow, and which is very close to where the Booth family lived in the 1890s. There wasn't a headstone  and all of the kerbstones around the grave were broken and fragmented. However, an inscription along the front, although indistinct, had survived and was in one piece. It featured an extract from a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson;

                       

 

                            

                                     

                                       OH FOR THE TOUCH OF A VANISHED HAND

                                       AND THE SOUND OF A VOICE THAT IS STILL.

 

                                      

The Monumental Masons responsible for this work were also located in Queens Road. Two of my father's brothers spent much of their working lives there, one being a stone mason and the other a letter cutter. They, too, would have been related to Alice Barnard with whom the Booth family shared a house in Barclay Road. Therefore, it seems more than likely that these two craftsmen were involved in the preparation of this inscription. I find it quite remarkable that nearly eighty years later, after finding a painting behind a door which was never closed, I have re-established a link between my family and Walter's.