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Walter Thomas Finter (1856-1948)


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.



The 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.



From David Kettlewell: Labels are not very commonly found but an instrument belonging to Roger Young has this delightful epitaph (above right).



 Dulcimer made by W. Finter (1899) owned by John Howson.








Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture

Dimensions of this dulcimer


Photo descriptions & sources

42 High Street, Needham Market (Katie Howson)


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