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Like Ernest Darby, Charles Porter was a musician who served in the Wolverhampton Special Constabulary during the First World War.

Charles Porter was born in Wednesfield in 1860, an illegitimate child of Rhoda Walters. Charles was fostered at birth to a miner and his wife, and before becoming a musician he spent around 30 years working in the coal mines of Cannock Chase. He married in 1884, and went on to have 12 children who survived to adulthood: seven sons and five daughters. Porter became a violin maker, based at 52 Victoria Street and 15 Great Brickkiln Street, Wolverhampton. Charles also collected string instruments, and according to a number of articles published about him, at one time he owned a Double Bass dated 1675. Charles Porter also repaired instruments for many prominent musicians of the time, including the violin and bow of the then famous violinist Michael Zceharowiche.

Porter was 54 years of age when the First World War broke out, he was not able to enlist in the Army. Instead, he became a Special Constable, as the Police Force were in dire need of additional resources because of the number of men being called away from the Force.

Much of the information in this posting has come from Charles Porter’s great-grandson. The only related item we have in our collection is an envelope in which a violin string would have been sold, which contains Porter’s details on it. Any more information about the man would be greatfully received!