Walter Finter was born in late 1856, in the village of Combs just outside
Stowmarket in central Suffolk.
In his early days he worked on farms in Combs, as did his father before him,
but by 1883-4 he had moved to the nearby small town of Needham Market, where
he is listed as watchmaker from 1891 onwards. He is known to have repaired and
tuned musical instruments, as labels have been found on two dulcimers, one
with the date 1899 on it. The labels reveal a wide range of services offered
from his workshop on the High Street, including jewellery, watch and clock
making, repairs and annual winding, picture frames made to order, scissors and
razors ‘carefully’ ground.
Finter home was Langham House, listed as 42 High Street, but actually just off
the High Street. Local memories are that, in the 1920s at least, there was no
actual shop, but watches were still mended there, and Walter Finter was still
listed in the 1925 Kelly’s directory, aged 70, as a watchmaker.
One of his sons, Russell, a tailor, was known in the 1940s by the nickname of
‘Fiddler’ Finter but it’s not known if he was actually a musician or not.
David Kettlewell: Labels are not very commonly found but an instrument
belonging to Roger Young has this delightful epitaph (above right).