Walter Caldicott was an upstanding member of Worcester society in the 19th century, in trade as a hop merchant, in his contribution as an alderman of the city, and through his sporting interests, especially in cricket.
However, Walter’s career as a councillor was not without scandal and he fought a long battle to clear his name.
Walter was born in October 1845 in Worcester to William Caldicott and Matilda Caldicott (formerly Bayliss). He was one of the younger brothers of the renowned composer, Alfred James Caldicott. He was baptised on the 11 January 1846.
He was educated as Worcester King’s School, having passed his examinations to enter the school on 17 November 1857, aged 12.
He married Margaret Elizabeth Teague on 24 July 1883 in Claines, Worcestershire. The couple went on to have just one son, Walter Claude Caldicott as sadly, Margaret died on 2 April 1891, aged just 36.
Walter Claude Caldicott was born on 28 June 1890 and married Rose Elizabeth Theresa Snatt. He worked as a commercial traveller often travelling overseas. He died in December 1978.
Walter Caldicott worked in his father’s family business as a hop merchant. But he began his political career in 1881 when he was nominated as the Conservative candidate for the Claines Ward. Interestingly his father, William Caldicott had been a liberal councillor for Worcester but became a member of the Conservative party later on in life, perhaps because of the influence of Walter and his brothers. However, this political campaign was to be short lived as Walter withdrew his application as election candidate following accusations of bribery. He was acquitted, but did not continue with his campaign to become councillor for Claines.
The following year, in 1882 he was put forward as the Conservative candidate again, this time for St Peter’s Ward. Unfortunately, his campaign was not successful. However, not to be deterred he was nominated again in 1883 for the All Saints’ Ward. He was successful in his campaign this time and became a Worcester councillor.
However, scandal was not to leave Walter’s side as in the 1906 election in his campaign to be re-elected he was accused of bribery once more. He was found guilty at the Worcester Assizes in March 1907 and ordered to step aside from his office. However, he appealed the verdict and was acquitted a couple of months later.
Walter was a keen sportsman and was a member of several of Worcester’s sporting clubs including cricket, bowling and athletics. The Newcastle Journal reported in his obituary that
Even in his sixties he was apparently an excellent amateur sprint runner and also a great cricketer.
Despite the damaging accusations he faced during his time on the council, Walter continued to serve the city of Worcester as an alderman, eventually becoming Justice of the Peace. He died at his home, Highfield, Battenhall, Worcester on 5 Sep 2017, aged 70.
His funeral was attended by the Lord Mayor of Worcester and took place at St Peter’s Church with his burial at Astwood Cemetery. In one of his many obituaries the Birmingham Gazette described Walter as
the father of the Worcester City Council.
It seems as it Walter rose above the scandal from earlier in his career and died a well-respected man who had left a lasting legacy in the city of Worcester.