Exhibition for 100th anniversary of ‘Diver Bill’ Walker’s death
William Walker the Diver, or Diver Bill as he is popularly known, is something of a hero in Winchester.
For those who do not know his story, he led a team of divers between 1906 and 1911 to dig out the rotten foundations of the East End of Winchester Cathedral and underpin the area with more than 25,000 bags of concrete, 115,000 concrete blocks and 900,000 bricks.
Often working for hours in muddy water and wearing the heavy and cumbersome diving suit and helmet in use at the time, this was no mean feat and so it is only right that we celebrate his work with an exhibition which tells more of how he did it and displays a selection of items associated with the story.
The exhibition will run from 3 to 31 October and there will be also be a service of commemoration at 5.30pm on Saturday 6 October, attended by a number of members of his family today. Invitations have been sent by the Dean and Chapter to as many of William Walker’s descendants as they can find, and at the last count, well over 40 have accepted, including some from America. In addition, there will be representation from ‘People for Portland Road’, who erected the plaque on William Walker’s house in South Norwood, which was unveiled by the Dean of Winchester, earlier in the year and from the Historical Diving Society.
The exhibition will be available to view during Cathedral opening times (charges apply) and the service is open to all (no tickets required).