Walter Read Senter 1881-1956
Walter, the youngest son of Martin and Hannah, married Leah Rose Daniels shortly before his father’s death. They had two sons, Martin Marcus born in 1908 and about two years later Neville John was born. In the school photo of 1914 Martin Senter, a small fair-haired boy can be seen standing on the left in the third row among his school friends in Class B1.
The census of 1901 records Walter as a carpenter but in 1908 Kelly’s Directory lists Walter Read Senter as a cycle agent, repairer and motor engineer. I have been told in the past by older Dersingham residents that Walter’s cycle show room used to be on the Main Road opposite Manor Road on the corner of The Drift. A large whitewashed house occupies the site at the present day. As this is directly opposite the family’s house and shop this does seem highly probable but, to date, I have found no photos or adverts to support this. The census of 1911 enforces this listing Walter Read Senter, aged 29, as a carpenter and joiner but also as a cycle dealer on his own account carrying out that business from his home.
Leah Rose is listed alongside their two sons Martin Marcus and Neville John then only 7 months old. However, in the review of the 1911 census mentioned earlier Hannah is recorded living in the Manor road property with Mr. W. Senter but there is no mention of Leah.
For the next few years records show Hannah as the shopkeeper and Walter as a cycle agent. It is in1925 that we find Leah Senter listed as a confectioner running the shop and I think this who is found in the photograph. Also, at the same time around 1925 we find a Martin Senter, who would now be 17years old, working as boot repairer. It would seem likely to me that he worked from the same shop while Walter is still listed as a cycle agent as well as pursuing his carpentry and joinery interests. If Harry Senter had also at one carried out his tobacconist interest in the shop as well as running a market garden this was indeed an enterprising family. No wonder the locals referred to the corner as Senter’s Corner.
The photograph below (apologies for the poor quality) shows an extension that has now gone as well as what appears to be the remains of another structure which is probably where Walter Senter taught carpentry. It is quite likely that the man stood in the doorway is Martin Senter.
According to the Directories through 1919 to 1933 this still appears to be the situation, but Mike has found Walter and Leah living in Leicester Street Leamington in 1932. So what was their connection with Worcestershire and when did they move there? Was it his carpentry interests that had taken Walter there? In 1937 Walter’s mother Hannah died and now lies with her husband Martin in our churchyard. In another twist to the story Mike discovered Walter and Leah had moved again and in 1939 were living in Perne Street Cambridge. Walter is described as an estate carpenter which links back to the earlier listings of 1901 and 11 when Walter is described as a carpenter and joiner. In Cambridge the record goes on to show he was acting as an air raid warden whilst Leah, in the fashion of those days, is described as carrying out “unpaid domestic duties”. So, which estate employed Walter? Who was taking care of his cycle business in Dersingham? Was son Martin now in sole charge of the Family’s business in Dersingham?