Cuthbert Quilter

After seeing BBC’s River Walks programme on the Deben I managed to get hold of a very good copy of ‘The River Deben, an Enchanted Waterway’ by Robert Simper a local author. The book appears to be out of print but I got a copy online. The book is a lovely publication, well written with a lot of historic pictures of the Deben and Woodbridge.

One picture was of the old chain ferry that joined Bawdsey Quay and Felixstowe Ferry. Apparently Cuthbert Quilter (Sir William Cuthbert Quilter Bart) built the ferry so he could get to Felixstowe rail station, I assume in his horse drawn carriage or early motor car. The Ferry ran until 1931 when it was withdrawn and, I suppose, replaced by what we have now a small boat running at certain times of the year.

Cuthbert was a very interesting man. Born in 1841 in Finsbury London he was the son of William Quilter an accountant who helped set up the Institute of Accountants. He became a stockbroker and by 1886 he was member of Parliament for Sudbury. He was a founding member of the National Telephone Company and set up a Stockbroking firm Quilter Balfour and Co. He was President of Woodbridge Golf club until shortly before his death in 1911. This was a time when golf clubs had wooden shafts and each had a name rather than the numbers that we have now. 

Cuthbert left 1.2 million pounds at his death in 1911. A very large sum in todays value, equivalent to about £140 million, but then maybe not when you consider he had two houses, Bawdsey Manor, which he built, and Hintlesham Hall. Seems a bit excessive to own two very large houses which are less than an hour apart by car nowdays but then, before 1900, it must have taken an age.

If you can get hold of the book then I recommend it if you have an interest in this area.

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