7 year old Walter faces the camera on the day of his mother, Alice Tull's funeral.
The Tull family Portrait taken at Alice Tull's funeral. Clockwise from Top: William, Edward, Daniel (father), Elsie, Walter and Cecillia. Portrait of Alice Tull (mother). All pictures Phil Vasili/Finlayson Family Collection
Daniel and Alice had six children, Bertha, who died in infancy, William, Cecillia, Edward, Walter and Elsie. They lived in
Sadly, in 1895,
Life in 1897 was very different to what it is today. Clara had to rely on charity to help feed her six children and pay the rent. Only William was working. Clara looked to her place of worship, the Grace Hill Methodist Chapel for support. It was decided that Edward and Walter would go to an orphanage while the other children would either work or help Clara at home with baby Miriam and the household chores. On a cold winter’s day,
|Children’s Home and Orphanage, Bonner Road, East London. NCH Action for Children
Dr Stephenson founder of the Children’s Home and Orphanage. NCH Action for Children
Nothing could have prepared the boys for the shock of arriving in the largest city in the world. Sprawling with people, with noises and smells that overpowered, it was a far cry from the rolling hills and fresh sea air they were used to.
The Children’s Home and Orphanage was founded by Dr Thomas Stephenson, a well respected Methodist minister, who in 1869 was so moved by the plight of children living in
For the next two years Walter and Edward lived together at the orphanage. They kept in close contact with their family back in Folkestone; they would often go back to Folkestone during holidays. Walter joined the orphanage football team and Edward, the orphanage choir. In the autumn of 1900, Edward went on a money raising tour with the choir. He was spotted by a Glaswegian family who were struck by his beautiful voice.
In November 1900, Edward was adopted by the family and moved to
Walter was a keen sportsman and his passion for sports probably helped him get through the next 8 years without Edward, whom he’d always been very close to. He excelled at cricket, but it was football that captured his imagination. After completing his elementary schooling Walter was apprenticed to the Home’s printing department.
|Mundella Primary School, formerly known as North Board Elementary, where Walter and his siblings went. Dover War Memorial Project||Walter Tull pictured in the orphanage football team. Phil Vasili/Finlayson Family collection|
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