East London Group

Walter Steggles

1908 to 1997

Wally photo 3

Walter James Steggles

Walter James Steggles. 15/08/1908 to 05/03/1997

Wally, as he was generally known, was born in Highbury north London: he was the eldest of five children born to Annie Elizabeth and Walter Steggles. His early years were spent at various addresses in London but during WW1 the family eventually settled in Bath whilst Walter senior was serving with the Royal Flying Corps in Northern France. Around 1920 the family moved back to Ilford where Wally finished his schooling. Aged fourteen he successfully applied for a job with Furness Withy & Co and he worked for them until he retired.

In 1925 Wally joined the art classes at the Bethnal Green Men’s Institute at Wolverley Street along with his younger brother, Harold later transferring their allegiances to the Bow and Bromley Evening Institute when their tutor, John Cooper moved there from Bethnal Green in 1926. Wally exhibited in the East London Art Club’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1928. The East London Group, as it became known then transferred to the Alex. Reid and Lefevre gallery in November 1929 and Wally went on to exhibit at all eight shows that the Group held there up until 1936.

Like several other members of the Group Wally exhibited widely in mixed shows from as early as 1929 and continued to do so up to and into World War Two. His crowning glory came in 1936 when he and fellow Group member Elwin Hawthorne were selected to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale that year. It was a great recognition of his talent in such a prestigious international arena but one which, in later life, he chose not to mention! Wally continued to paint almost up until his death in 1997: by his own admission, he couldn’t stop!

Wally, 1930 aged 22

Walter Steggles: photographed in the garden of the Steggles family home at Heath Road, Chadwell Heath c.1928

Wally. taken at Cleethorpes Sept.1936

Walter Steggles: photo taken near
Cleethorpes in 1936

Wally (2)

Walter Steggles: from a passport photo from the late forties.

Wally birthday tea

Walter Steggles on his birthday, most likely in 1995