Bentley
our thanks to the Bentley Drivers Club

W O as a child

W O as a child

Walter Owen Bentley was born the youngest of nine brothers in September 1888.  With almost as many servants, they lived in a rambling house in Avenue Road, St Johnís Wood, London.  His family originated from Yorkshire although his maternal grandfather had emigrated to Australia, making a fortune from copper mining and banking before returning to retire in London.

The ĎBuní, as he was nick-named, was interested in cricket and passionate about railways.  As a boy, he had no doubt what he intended to do with his life and at the age of 16 left to pursue a premium apprenticeship in Doncaster at the Great Northern Railway Works.

The premium apprenticeship cost Mr Bentley Sr £75 for a five year term.  W O worked under Henry Ivatt, designer of the 4-4-2 Atlantic locomotives, in the fitting shop, foundry and engine erecting shop.  Working through a ten hour day, six days a week, he worked his way up, taking occasional turns as assistant fireman on the running plates, before finishing his apprenticeship in the Kings Cross running sheds.