A big day on Saturday 17 March

To begin with, weather permitting, there’s a morning session at the Portland Road Community Garden, from 10am.

Then at 2.30pm there’s the launch of the latest addition to the PPR Heritage Trail.
The Dean of Winchester, Catherine Ogle, is coming all the way up to South Norwood to unveil a special plaque, designed by Ken Baker, on the exterior of 118 Portland Road, once the home of William Walker (1869–1918).

So who was this William Walker? Only the local man who saved Winchester Cathedral from collapse!

A professional deep-water diver, he spent more than five years propping up the cathedral’s water-logged foundations with concrete, working in total darkness in trenches as much as 6 metres deep, shifting thousands of bags of cement and concrete blocks. Heavy work, especially  wearing lead boots, a bulky diving suit and a huge round copper helmet. But he’d still find the energy to cycle the 70 miles home to his family in South Norwood at the weekend.

Walker has long been celebrated in Winchester, where they’ve even named a pub after him. Now, thanks to the sterling work of local historian John Hickman and designer Ken Baker, PPR is about to put Diver Bill on the South Norwood map.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *