Sendall, Walter Joseph (DNB12)

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SENDALL, Sir WALTER JOSEPH (1832–1904), colonial governor, born on 24 Dec. 1832 at Langham Hall, Suffolk, was youngest son of S. Sendall, afterwards vicar of Rillington, Yorkshire, by his wife Alice Wilkinson. A delicate boy, he attended the grammar school at Bury St. Edmund's, and in 1854 proceeded to Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was a contemporary and friend of (Sir) Walter Besant, John Peile, afterwards Master, and above all Charles Stuart Calverley, whose sister he married later. He graduated B.A. in 1858 as junior optime and first classman in classics (M.A. in 1867).

In 1859 Sendall joined the educational branch of the civil service in Ceylon, and next year became inspector of schools there. In 1870 he rose to be director of education; but the climate and work told on his health, and in 1872, when on leave in England, he resigned.

In 1873 Sendall became assistant poor law inspector in the Oxfordshire district, but during 1875 these appointments were abolished and for six months he was out of employment and devoted himself to studying and reporting on the Dutch poor laws. Then in 1876 he became a poor law inspector in Yorkshire under the local government board; in 1878 he was appointed an assistant secretary of the board. Ambitious to follow the career of a colonial administrator, he in 1882 accepted an offer of the lieutenant-governorship of Natal. But the politicians of that colony declined to approve the choice of one so little known, and the nomination was withdrawn.

In 1885 Sendall became the first governor in chief of the Windward Islands on their separation from Barbados. Here he organised the new administration, living at the charming little government house of Grenada, which became the chief island of the group. In 1889 he was transferred to Barbados, and in 1892 became high commissioner of Cyprus, with the progress of which he closely identified himself. At the end of his term in 1898 he was transferred to British Guiana, where he arrived on 23 March. With the question of the boundary of the dependency with Venezuela, which was the subject of arbitration during his governorship, he had nothing directly to do. He left the colony on retirement on 1 Aug. 1901. Next year he represented the West Indian colonies at the coronation of King Edward VII.

Sendall appeared to lack quickness of sympathy and personal geniality, but his sound judgment and high character won him unqualified esteem and confidence in his capacity of governor. He was made C.M.G. in 1887, K.C.M.G. in 1889, and G.C.M.G. in 1899. He received the honorary LL.D. degree from Edinburgh. In his retirement he found recreation in literary work, as well as in the microscope, mechanics, and the lathe. He was a fellow of the Linnean, Royal Microscopical, and other scientific societies, as well as of the Hellenic Society. He was also chairman of the Charity Organisation Society. He edited the ‘Literary Remains of C. S. Calverley,’ with a memoir, in 1885.

Sendall died at Kensington on 16 March 1904. His remains were cremated and interred at Golder's Green. He married in 1870 Elizabeth Sophia, daughter of Henry Calverley, vicar of South Stoke, and prebendary of Wells. He left no issue. A bust was executed by Edward Lantéri. A memorial bronze has been placed in the chapel of St. Michael and St. George in St. Paul's Cathedral.

[Who's Who, 1903; C. O. List, 1903; The Times, 17 March 1904; private information; personal knowledge.]

C. A. H.