Ophthalmic Surgeon at the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital.

January 1896 – January 1923.


Born: 19th April 1868, 23, Thistle Street, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.


Father: Thomas Spark Sinclair-Spark, born Thomas Spark Sinclair, 29th October 1838, Aberdeen – son of William Sinclair, a wholesale druggist, at Upperkirkgate. Thomas was a keen sportsman and as a cricketer became a prominent member of the Aberdeenshire Cricket Club. Thomas was 18 years of age when he graduated Master of Arts, at King’s College. He then became apprenticed at the office of Mr. Newell Burnett, advocate. In 1864, Thomas was admitted a member of the Society of Advocates. In 1869, Thomas Sinclair left his employment with Mr. Newell Burnett to commence business as an advocate of his own account. Thomas was the grandnephew of Mr. William Spark, born 1783, Aberdeen, a watch and clockmaker. William Spark died unmarried in March 1870. Thomas adopted the patronymic name Spark, as a suffix to his surname Sinclair, creating the surname SINCLAIR-SPARK. In 1881, Thomas went into business with Mr. James Taylor (a member of the Society of Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland), under the title Messrs. Sinclair-Spark and Taylor.

In politics, Thomas was a staunch Conservative, and along with a few other Conservative members formed a Conservative Club in Aberdeen. Thomas was a devoted Episcopalian, he was for many years the secretary and treasurer of St. Andrew’s Church, at King Street. Thomas stepped back from active business and public duty due to failing health and retired to reside at his residence Fernbank along the banks of the river Dee.

Thomas Sinclair-Spark died after a week’s illness Saturday, 2nd June 1906, at his residence Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire. Funeral service held at St. Ternan’s Episcopal Church, Banchory and officiated by the rector Reverend W.W. Hawdon. The coffin was afterwards carried by Aberdeen Shore Porters’ Society members to Banchory Churchyard for the committal service. Aberdeen Press and Journal – Wednesday, 6th June 1906 and Aberdeen Press and Journal – Wednesday, 13th April 1921

Mother: Jane Sinclair-Spark (nee Gray), born 1842, Aberdeen – second daughter of Walter Gray, a manufacturer, of Grandholm, Aberdeen. Jane Gray Sinclair-Spark died 16th May 1883, at Mentone, France.


On the 30th April 1885, Walter Sinclair was a witness to the marriage of his widowed father, Thomas to Margaret Smith Joss, at Christ Church, Worthing, West Sussex.

Stepmother: Margaret Smith Sinclair-Spark (nee Joss), born 12th January 1857, Drumblade, Aberdeenshire – daughter of Alexander Joss, a distiller and farmer and Clementina Joss (nee Milne), of “Cruichie,” Drumblade.



Ida Cecilia Gray Sinclair, born 22nd June 1869, 8, Devanha Terrace, Ferryhill, Aberdeen. Ida Sinclair died 16th February 1888, Worthing, West Sussex.


Evelyn Sinclair-Spark, born 1871, 8, Devanha Terrace, Ferryhill. Evelyn Sinclair-Spark died 1886, Worthing, West Sussex.


Constance Amy Isobel Sinclair-Spark, born 18th April 1873, Banchory-Ternan,, Kincardineshire. Constance Sinclair-Spark died 8th June 1873, Banchory.


Alice Mary Sinclair-Spark, born 13th September 1875, Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire. Alice Sinclair-Spark died 5th August 1880, at Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan,.


Jeannie Sinclair-Spark, born 1877, Banchory-Ternan,, Kincardineshire. Jeannie Sinclair-Spark died 8th August 1877, Banchory-Ternan.


A premature still-born son, born 18th August 1879, Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire.




Margaret Isobel Sinclair-Spark, born 1890, Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire. On the 11th March 1918, at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, Margaret married Arnold Main Adams, born 1881, Rippingale, Lincolnshire, a Gunner, for the Royal Field Artillery, 110th Brigade. Arnold had immigrated to Canada in 1900 and returned to England to enlist. Arnold was demobbed in March 1920, a Second Lieutenant, of the Royal Army Service Corps. Margaret and Arnold made their family home at Caron, Saskatchewan, Canada, they had two children and Arnold was a farmer. Arnold Adams died 18th January 1952, Regina, Saskatchewan. Laid to rest Caron Cemetery. Margaret married George Hallingham, born 1887, Ontario – died 1966, Saskatchewan. Margaret Hallingham died 10th July 1976, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Thomas Spark Sinclair-Spark, 1892, Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire. Thomas resided with his sister Frances Sinclair-Spark, at Walsall, Staffordshire. Thomas lived with his sister Frances at 54, Bradford Street, Walsall, Staffordshire. Thomas Sinclair-Spark died 23rd September 1957, at his residence 54, Bradford Street, Walsall.



Clement Alexander Sinclair-Spark, born 3rd May 1894, Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan. Clement Sinclair-Spark died 26th October 1894, Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan.


Florence Ivy Drake Sinclair-Spark, born 29th May 1896, Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan. Florence Sinclair-Spark died 27th December 1947, Hillhead, Hillside, Montrose, Angus, of Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan.


Frances Mary Grace Sinclair-Spark, born 22nd September 1898, Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan. Francis lived with her brother Thomas at 54, Bradford Street, Walsall. Frances Sinclair-Spark died 29th May 1966, Walsall, Staffordshire.


Step Nephew: Arthur Keith Adams, son of Walter’s stepsister, Margaret Isobel Adams (nee Sinclair-Spark), lost his life during World War Two. Arthur was ranked a Signalman, service number L/26023, for the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, when he died at Dieppe, France on the 19th August 1942, aged 21. He is commemorated on Panel 23 of the Brookwood 1939-1945 Memorial, Surrey.




1871   8, Devanha Terrace, Old Machar, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire.


Walter was 2 years old and living with his parents, sisters and paternal uncle.

Thomas, 32, Advocate of Aberdeen.

Jane, 29.

Ida, 1.

Evelyn, 2 months.

Donald Sinclair, 47, an Iron Merchant, born Banchory-Ternan.

1 cook.

1 housemaid.

1 nurse.


1881   Fernbank Cottage, Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire. The Sinclair family had adopted the patronymic surname Spark to create Sinclair-Spark.


Walter was 12 years old and living with his parents, sisters and maternal cousin.

Thomas Sinclair-Spark, Advocate.

Jane Sinclair-Spark, 39.

Ida Sinclair-Spark, 11.

Evelyn Sinclair-Spark, 10.

Douglas Edward Imrié Simpson, 13, born Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

1 governess.

1 cook.

1 housemaid.


1891   90, Rosemount Place, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire.

Walter was 22 years old, a Medical Practitioner – M.D. He was a Lodger at the family home of Alexander Collie.


1901   Cranbourne, Westerfield Road, St. Margaret’s, Ipswich.


Walter was 32 years old, and an Ophthalmic Surgeon. He was married and head of the household – his mother-in-law was living with the family.

Jessie, 32.

Jean, 8 months.

Jessie Matthews, 61.

1 page.

1 cook.

1 housemaid.

1 nurse.


1911   The Moorings, Paget Road, Ipswich.


Walter was 42 years old, an Ophthalmic Surgeon – own account. He was married and head of the household.

Jean, 10.

Eileen, 8.

Pamela, 4.

1 cook.

2 housemaids.

1 nurse.


Aberdeen University – In July 1887, Walter passed the First Division of the First Professional Examination. He completed his M.B., C.M. degree in 1891.


As an Oculist, Walter held appointments at the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital at Moorfields, London, followed by the Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital.

In Ipswich, many inhabitants followed occupations in which injury to the eyes was common, and their prompt treatment often meant the difference between a few weeks’ discomfort and permanent loss of sight. At the beginning of 1896, the Governors at the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital appointed Walter William Sinclair, as an ophthalmic surgeon at the hospital. His testimonials showed Walter to be an eye specialist of the highest repute and were backed with sufficient evidence of his ability in this branch of surgery.



Jessie de Hane Sinclair


On the 26th September 1899, at Holy Trinity Church, Meole-Brace, Shrewsbury, Shorpshire, by the Reverend William Henry Bather, Doctor Walter Sinclair, of Ipswich, married Jessie de Hane Matthews, born 18th April 1868, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, baptised 24th May 1868, at St. George’s Church, Wolverhampton – daughter of Charles and Jessie Matthews, of Wolverhampton.


Father: Charles Matthew, born 1821, Montford, Shropshire, baptised 1st April 1821, Montford. Charles was first married in August 1853, at St. Peter’s Church, Wolverhampton, to Elizabeth Mary Hughes, born November 1827, at West Bromwich – daughter of Charles and Harriet Hughes. Elizabeth Matthews died 5th March 1856 and was laid to rest at St. Michael and All Angels Churchyard, Tettenhall Regis, Staffordshire. Charles was an Iron Merchant, his business in the late 1850s titled Charles Matthews & Co., a manufacturer of iron bedsteads, gates, hurdles, palisading, fencing, sheep racks, cow cribs, etc., at Salopian Works, Cleveland Road, Wolverhampton. On the 24th October 1865, iron merchants Charles and Henry Booth Southwick with John Fereday, an engineer registered the patent of their Smoke-consuming furnaces. Charles continued as an Iron Merchant employing up to twenty men and eight boys. Charles Matthews died 10th July 1904, of Woodville Farm, Holyhead Road, Handsworth, Staffordshire. Laid to rest July 1904, at St. Michael and All Angels Churchyard, Tettenhall Regis, in the grave of his first wife Elizabeth May Matthews (1827 -1856), his daughter Edith Eleanor Dehane Matthews (1864-1879) and mother-in-law Martha Dehane (nee Smith) (1815 – 1890).


Mother: Jessie Agnes Matthews (nee Dehane), born 1839, Glenelg, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, baptised 28th September 1839, Adelaide. In the early 1890’s Jessie left Wolverhampton to make Ipswich her home. Jessie Matthews died Valentine’s Day, 1918, at her residence 9, Bolton Lane, Ipswich. Ipswich.



Jessie and Walter had three daughters:

Jean Christine Sinclair, born 9th July 1900, Ipswich – died November 1984, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.


Eileen Sinclair, born 13th October 1902, Ipswich. In February 1930, Calcutta, Bengal, Eileen married Francis Rennie Daniel, born 1st September 1896, Aberdeen, a medical practitioner. Francis Daniel died 27th January 1957, of Essex House, Fore Street, Chard, Somerset. Eileen Daniel died 13th September 1976, Thorpe House, Windmill Hill, Hailsham, East Sussex.


Pamela de Hane Sinclair, born 13th October 1906 – died November 2001, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.



Walter and Jessie were residing at their family home – The Moorings, Paget Road, Ipswich, with 2 female house servants.


In 1896, after Walter joined the staff of the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital, he took sole charge of the Eye Department and gained a wide reputation in East Anglia as an eye specialist.



In his own time, Walter gave lectures and presentations to help and teach groups and associations around Suffolk – the St. John Ambulance Association Members of the corps – Nursing Corps and Ipswich (Men’s) Corps, the Hadleigh Mutual Improvement Society, the Working Men’s Club, at Felixstowe and on children’s eyesight at the Ipswich Branch of the P.N.E.U.

Walter gave interesting and instructive lectures on the marvellous organ – the eye. He felt that most people saw the eye as the organ with which they saw, but it was really the reflector of the brain, being simply a living and beautifully constructed camera. To demonstrate the physical and scientific structure of the eye, Walter used a number of diagrams and an excellent powerful oxyhydrogen lantern. During his lectures he also gave advice on treating the eye in case of accidents and inflammation, or if a foreign body, such as chips of wood, or bits of iron entered the eye. He also gave guidance regarding reading with good light and avoiding small print, and bad wall-papering, and correcting the assumptions that spectacles weakened the eyes. – they merely assisted the organ to focus better. E.A.D.T. – Tuesday, 10th December 1895


During the winter of 1901, a series of lectures were organised by Walter Sinclair and Mr. Ernest John Reeve Bartlett, a house surgeon for the Hosp[ital nurses. The gentlemen undertook the theoretical lectures and the Matron, Miss May Deane, the practical lectures. The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 14th June 1902



On the August Bank Holiday, 1906, the Ipswich Lyceum re-opened, after the summer break. The Directors had been fortunate in securing the services and experiences of Mr. Leonard Grey as General Manager. Leonard had originally trained for the medical profession and was an old college friend of Walter Sinclair. Evening Star – Saturday, 21st July 1906


On New Year’s Eve, 1908, at the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital, the juvenile patients were treated to a bright and enjoyable grand party. A scrumptious tea started the festivities, with bread and butter and sandwiches followed by many sorts of cakes and bonbons. Mr. E. Jolly had kindly provided a giant stocking filled with surprising treats which a house surgeon distributed to the children. Next came the gifts of wonderful toys from under the Christmas tree. Some of the boys and girls had never had so many or such lovely toys before. The children then adjourned to the upper women’s ward, to enjoy the great treat of a “magic lantern” and a learned lecture from Walter Sinclair. Walter had put together over a hundred slides, some related to the home of Santa Claus, others were pictures taken in the Hospital with the help of the Matron, Miss May Deane, and some Walter had added that were funny! The children sat in amazement and wonderment as Walter spoke with great erudition and knowledge on the subject of that “mystical German” Santa Claus. At the conclusion of the party, the children gave three hearty cheers for Walter Sinclair.  E.A.D.T. – Friday, 1st January 1909



As soon as Walter had settled in Ipswich, he began to connect himself with the musical life of the town.

In 1902 as the hon. secretary Walter formed the Ipswich Orchestral Society for the purpose of improving orchestral music in the town and that the new orchestra would provide music of the best kind. Walter encouraged the local musicians both professional and amateur, and from all classes to come forward and enlist. Together with their musical ability of a high order, courage, persistent enthusiasm, and patience, Walter Sinclair’s high standard was reached, and the Ipswich Orchestral Society members were rewarded and ready for their opening concert!


On Friday, 27th November 1903, the Ipswich Orchestral Society performed their first concert at the Public Hall, Ipswich. Fourteen instrumentalists from Queen’s Hall, made up a band of 65 performers, with Walter Sinclair as conductor, with the celebrated flute player – Mr. Albert Fransella and the Welsh baritone Mr. Darren Llewellyn. In appraising the playing of the new Ipswich Orchestra, it was reported that they were by no means just a band, but a body of musicians to be judged seriously by the highest standard. Evening Star – Saturday, 28th November 1903



On the 21st October 1904, at St. Nicholas Parish Room, Walter Sinclair, hon. conductor of the Ipswich Orchestral Society delivered an interesting lecture on music to a large and appreciative audience. Walter spoke of the most famous composers and their works taking them in chronological and historical order. During the lecture, Walter Sinclair confessed that he felt Felix Mendelssohn had written some of the most charming music that had ever been heard. Walter told the audience the names of the pieces of music by prominent masters that would appear in the programme of the concert which the Orchestral Society was shortly going to give. Evening Star – Saturday, 22nd October 1904


On Friday, 25th November 1904, the Ipswich Orchestral Society performed their second concert at the Public Hall, Ipswich. Walter was the conductor of a band of 65 performers, procured from local talent, with just a few instrumentalists from the new London Symphony Orchestra. Solo pianoforte – Mr. James Price and the charming voice of Princess Te Tranji Pai to sing Maori Songs. An ideal programme had been drawn up, including Beethoven’s C minor Symphony and Wagner’s “Rienzi” Overture. The evening’s performance went with a hitch in front of an Ipswich public ready to support Walter and his colleagues in their high emprise. Evening Star – Saturday, 26th November 1904


The critic and reporter for the Evening Star – Saturday, 26th November 1904 wrote of Walter Sinclair – Freiherr Hans Guido von Bülow once let fall the characteristic dictum that conductors are of two sorts – those who have the score in their heads, and those who have their heads in the scores. Mr. Walter Sinclair is emphatically of the former class, and we should not feel in the least apprehensive if we should see him, on a future occasion, dispensing altogether with the printed page. For it is clear to us that the scores which he interprets are not merely in his head, but in his heart!


The notable success of the Ipswich Orchestral Society on its artistic side was primarily due alone to Walter’s abundant enthusiasm and skill and his ever-watchful care, his decisive beat, and his personal magnetism. By 1905 the Ipswich Orchestral Society had a complete orchestra of over 50 members, comprising the pick of both amateur and professional players.


On Tuesday, 7th March 1905, the Ipswich Orchestral Society’s last concert of the season was held at the Public Hall. Walter was the conductor of the full band of 60. The programme included Sullivan’s “In Memoriam” Overture (played as a tribute to the memory of the late Alderman Walton Turner). E.A.D.T. – Tuesday, 28th February 1905



In 1905, the Grand Orchestral Concert was held on Thursday, 23rd November at the Public Hall. Walter was the conductor of the orchestra of 65 members, including several finest London instrumentalists. Vocalist – Miss Euneta Truscott and solo viola – Mr. Lionel Tertis. Evening Star – Friday, 24th November 1905



In January 1906, Walter with a small orchestra performed at the Lecture Hall, Tower Street, Ipswich in aid of the funds of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Hospital.



At a meeting held on Saturday, 4th May 1907, under the presidency of Walter Sinclair, it was resolved to revive the Ipswich Amateur Operatic Company. In the past it had become impossible to obtain the services of a sufficient number of amateurs in the town capable of acting as principles, so the company had been in a state of suspended animation for over six years. During the meeting reconstruction of the Society began, first with new personnel appointments of the management, all of whom were determined to announce that Ipswich once again had a Society, which would devote itself to the study and performance by amateurs of operas of various kinds. Mr. Brunnell Burton was elected President, with Walter as Vice-President on relinquishment of that of conductor, which was appointed to Mr. Jonathan Job, F.R.C.O., and Mr. William Chandler Block consented to continue as treasurer. Due to time, the Committee decided to revive Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Iolanthe” for December. In the past, there had always been a rush to obtain tickets to the Society’s performances. The Committee hoped that the residents of Ipswich would still be ready and willing to support the efforts of amateur opera singers in such performances. Evening Star – Monday, 6th May 1907


In December 1908, the Ipswich Amateur Operatic Company performed “The Mikado” to crowded audiences. Saturday, 12th December was their last day of performances. In the afternoon, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Brunnell Burton, nearly a hundred children from the St. John’s Home were invited to watch the show. In the evening there was again a bumper “house.”

In the interval between the two performances the members of the company and officials partook of high tea at the White Horse Hotel, when Walter Sinclair presided. The services of principals, chorus, orchestra, stage manager, conductor, secretary, and accompanist were eulogised by the Chairman. E.A.D.T. – 14th December 1908


In December 1909, the Ipswich Amateur Operatic Company performed Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers.” After a double encore on the last evening Walter Sinclair, as Vice-President, presented floral tributes to female cast members. Evening Star – Thursday, 9th December 1909



Walter resigned from the Ipswich Orchestra Society in 1919 owing to ill health. He was succeeded by Mr. Urquhart Cawley, a well-known composer of church music and teacher of music and singing.


The Ipswich Choral Society practised every Tuesday, at 8 p.m., at the Old Museum Rooms.

Walter Sinclair was Brunnell Henry Burton’s right-hand supporter and worked very hard in the interests of the Ipswich Choral Society.


On Tuesday, 22nd May 1900, the Ipswich Choral Society invited their friends to a musical “At Home” event in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, the entire building being placed at the Society’s disposal by his Worship the Mayor of Ipswich, William Alfred Churchman, Esq., who was President for the year. The Council Chamber and lobbies had been decorated with choice palms and flowers, and when filled with some three hundred people in evening dress the various costumes of ladies combined to form a brilliant function. The hon. conductor, Mr. Brunnell Burton and members of the Committee received the guests and guided them to the light refreshments served in the Library. After refreshments, a high-class musical programme was carried out in the Council Chamber. During the evening, a lecturette, illustrated by the oxyhydrogen lantern, was given by Mr. Frank Woolnough, describing the growth and development of the pianoforte. Another pleasurable event during the evening was a presentation by the chairman, Mr. Brunnell Burton to the hon. secretary Dr. Walter Sinclair, consisting of silver tea and coffee services, which had been subscribed for by members of the Choral Society and of the Amateur Opera Society Company, in recognition of his services in the cause of music since his residence in Ipswich. The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 26th May 1900.


On Tuesday, 9th July 1901, the Ipswich Choral Society held an afternoon and evening summer fete in the charming grounds of the Lower Arboretum. The Choral Society, under the leadership of Mr. Brunnell Burton, the Society’s conductor, who was known for never doing things by halves, and with the guidance of Walter Sinclair, the Society’s secretary and an energetic committee planned and organised a wonderful al fresco programme of musical delights. The weather was all that could be desired – a calm, still, air, on which the music floated and reached the furthest extent of the beautiful grounds. The perfect summer evening attracted the inhabitants of Ipswich who flocked in their thousands to enjoy the treat on a perfect summer fete.

The refreshment tent arrangements were in the hands of a committee of ladies, under the secretaryship of Miss Block. Tea, coffee, ices, and strawberries and cream had all been supplied through donations, to help the cause of the Society.

In the experienced artistic hands of Mr. George Watson, the paths, groves of trees and flower beds in the Lower Arboretum had all been decorated with long strings of Chinese lanterns and thousands of fairy lights. As twilight faded into dusk the visitors experienced the full effect of the illuminations and could easily imagine themselves away at some fete in one of the many gardens of Paris.

By invitation of the Society, the band of the 1st Suffolk and Harwich Volunteer Artillery joined the promenade and played an excellent programme of music. A piccolo solo was contributed by Gunner Stannard, and a euphonium solo by Gunner Berry.

Another attraction of the evening was the arrangement of two half-hour concerts by the choir of St. Mary-le-Tower Church and their Quartette Party. The two tennis courts were improvised with raised platforms to accommodate the singers. A charge of sixpence was made for the front seats and threepence for the back seats. Both performances were crowded as the well-known choir attained their usual high pitch of excellence. So charming was the scene that the large audience lingered late, seemingly unwilling to disperse home. It was nearly eleven o’clock before the singing of “God save the King” reminded all it was necessary to finish!

The Ipswich public was indebted to the Ipswich Choral Society for such an exceedingly pleasant musical promenade, and the Society was indebted to the public for so generous a response to their appeal that the heavy deficit on their last year’s work will be replaced by a small balance on the right side. The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 13th July 1901



After the success in February 1900 of the Ipswich Choral Society’s concert of the first part of Coleridge Taylor’s “Hiawatha.” The Society chose to perform the marvellously beautiful work in its entirety on Thursday, 23rd January 1902, at the Public Hall. A large audience gathered to listen as the Choral Society again scored a masterly success. The band, under Mr. Albert Francella was selected from the pick of local players and reinforced by a contingent from Norwich and a number from London. Of the three soloists, Miss Agnes Nicholls, who had always been an Ipswich favourite was again in excellent voice. The ease and perfection with which she produces her notes proclaim not only the genius but the artist. After a splendid evening, congratulations were offered to the hon. conductor Mr. Brunnell Burton on the success of the band and chorus, and to Walter Sinclair, who has assisted by taking some of the practice work. The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 25th January 1902.



On Thursday, 20th January 1910, over 300 members of the Ipswich Choral Society performed in front of a large audience at the Public Hall, Ipswich, Handel’s “Judas Maccabæus.” Mr. William Hockley as conductor. The experience of Madame Luisa Sobrino enabled her to give extremely effective versions of important solos winning generous applause. The chorus was well-balanced, and the sweetness of the soprano voices was a notable feature. The orchestra performed excellent service under the leadership of Mrs. Kate Beatrice Sleightholme-Caswell, with Mr. Charles Holland skilfully on the organ.


During a brief interval of the performance, the Mayor of Ipswich, Alexander Gibb, presented to Walter Sinclair, who was retiring as the hon. secretary, a small token of the esteem and appreciation of the Choral Society, in the form of a handsome chiming clock, subscribed for by the members of the Ipswich Choral Society and provided by Messrs. R.D. Fraser and J.B. Fraser. The Mayor continued to say that Walter Sinclair had been the hon. secretary for 15 years, and during that time they knew how assiduous, energetic and successful Walter had been in carrying out the duties. The Society owed a great deal to him for the ability he had displayed in popularising not only vocal but instrumental music in the town, and he thought it only fitting that they should give him some token of appreciation for his most able services. The clock bore the inscription:

“A token of appreciation from the Ipswich Choral Society to Walter W. Sinclair, Esq., on his retirement from the position of hon. secretary.”

The Mayor, Alexander Gibb added that he hoped the beat of the clock would be as true and regular as Dr. Sinclair’s when he wielded the baton and conducted his orchestral band.

The Mayor also presented Mrs. Jessie Sinclair with a small article of silver with the best wishes of the Society. The clock chiming caused some amusement during the Mayor’s speech!

Walter stepped forward to thank them all for the most unexpected presentation. This he explained was the second time they had played him that most delightful trick, for they gave him a present on the occasion of his marriage. The clock and its most harmonious and tuneful chimes would always recall to him the many harmonious days and years that he had served as their hon. secretary. Walter then received an unmistakable manifestation of the popularity that he had won with Ipswich music lovers. E.A.D.T. – Friday, 21st January 1910


In August 1920, Walter retired from his more active work and became the Ophthalmic Consultant at the hospital. But even after stepping back, he still took a keen interest in the work and attended the hospital whenever he could. Evening Star – Thursday, 30th January 1896

Walter Sinclair died Monday, 29th January 1923, of arteriosclerosis, nephritis and cardiac failure, at The Moorings, Paget Road, Ipswich, and of Fernbank, Banchory-Ternan, Kincardineshire.

Walter’s brother-in-law Herbert Henry Brown, a physician and surgeon, of 3, Museum Street, Ipswich was present at the death.

Funeral service was held Friday, 2nd February 1923, at St. Mary-le-Tower Church, Ipswich, the Vicar Canon Hamilton Anne Douglas-Hamilton and the Reverend D. Dunlop officiated. Mr. Brunnell Burton presided at the organ. The service was attended by many fellow medical professionals, members of the Board of Management of the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital, the Mayor of Ipswich, Alfred Sizer, plus representatives of Ipswich institutions and music societies. Two Aberdeen medical graduates also attended – Dr. George Irvine Thompson Stewart (representing South Suffolk Division, B.M.A.) and Dr. William Mitchell Ogilvie.

The service continued at Ipswich Old Cemetery, where a large crowd assembled at the cemetery where Canon Douglas Hamilton recited the committal sentences. Diss Express – Friday, 9th February 1923


Probate to

Jessie de Hane Sinclair – widow, Edmond Sinclair – paternal cousin, a solicitor, at Aberdeen and William Alfred Francis, solicitor, at Ipswich.


Jessie de Hane Sinclair

In recognition of Walter Sinclair’s work for the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital, the ophthalmic ward was named the Sinclair Ward. The new wing of the hospital was built with monies raised from the War Memorial Fund.


During the 1920s Jessie Sinclair became one of the female leaders in the women’s section of the British Legion’s Ipswich branch helping to raise awareness and fundraising.



Walter’s widow and two daughters were living at their family home – The Middle House, Keymer Road, Cuckfield, West Sussex.

Jessie, private means.

Jean, a teacher.

Pamela, private means.

1 female domestic servant.


Jessie Sinclair died 22nd March 1955, at The Royal Sussex Country Hospital, Brighton, East Sussex, of The Middle House, Keymer Road, Cuckfield, West Sussex.


Probate to Lloyds Bank Limited.

Ipswich old cemetery 


Images of Walter and Jessie courtesy of Mr. John Webb.

Images of the Mayors of Ipswich courtesy of Mr. A. Gilbert – Ipswich Borough Council. for census returns, births, marriages, deaths, probates, military records and other historical online records.

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