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Walter Deacon (1890-1974)














Walter Deacon was born  on 23rd October 1890, in Cawston near Aylsham in north Norfolk. The family moved around a bit, as his father’s job was a plate-layer on the railway, and by 1908 Walter was also employed by the Great Eastern Railway. In 1909 he married Agnes Maud Martins from Henstead, and by 1911 they were living in Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, close to the railway station, and Walter had become a plate-layer. Walter’s parents and grandparents had lived north east of Norwich, in the small village of Lammas near Aylsham, but he and his wife and young family moved further west, eventually settling in the hamlet of Broom Green, near North Elmham, between Norwich and Fakenham. There they lived in a cottage owned by the railway company and Walter became a foreman ganger with two hobbies, gardening and playing the dulcimer.




His granddaughter, Jean Curson, recalled that Walter used to walk up the lane to the King William IV pub (the ‘King Billy’) in Broom Green and play in there, and his wife Agnes would dance and sing. She used to dress all in black, with a black hat with fresh flowers on, and smoked a clay pipe. Mrs Curson remembered sitting outside the pub and listening to her grandfather’s dulcimer. In the winter Walter used to play by the fireside. He played mostly on his own, but an aunt and uncle of Mrs Curson also played piano and violin with him sometimes. Walter’s son Trevor played piano accordion.



Eastern Daily Press article 1955


David Kettlewell must have met, or known of Walter, as he wrote that Walter was not ‘currently playing, as he has no instrument’ in his 1976 thesis (and subsequently on the dulcimer.new-renaissance website), although Walter died in 1974.



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Photo descriptions & sources

Main photos: Walter Deacon (from Walter Deacons' granddaughter Jean Curson)





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