Adolphus Slade was a stockbroker, born in Battersea in 1804. The children were born whilst the family resided at Kemnal House in Kent, leased by Adolphus until 1871. By 1871, Adolphus claimed in the 1871 census that he was a "Landed Proprietor & Occupier of 246 acres of land – Employing 23 labourers, 5 boys & 3 women", rather than a stockbroker.
At school Walter was a noted sportsman, being in both the Cricket Eleven (1870-1871) and the Football Thirteen, (1870).
He was also a noted runner at school and took this forward as an adult into the world of amateur running events. Walter Slade by contemporary accounts was a natural runner who trained very little.
In England the professional milers, Language and Richards, had set an 1865 record of 4:17.25 for the mile. However, the mile was also a popular event in amateur meets and there the 4:30 was still considered a barrier.
This was first broken in 1868 by Walter Chinnery on 14 March 1868, running in at 4:29.75.
Chinnery went on to found the London Athletic Club, but his record was broken on 3 April 1868 by Walter Gibbs. This event was known as the Strangers" Open Mile, and it was at this race that in 1868 Chinnery had set his record previously. He lowered the mile record to 4:24.25 in 1875 at a London Athletic Club meet at Stamford Bridge.
His record was to stand for four years until broken by William Cummings in 1880.
Walter Slade was also on various occasions the fastest amateur on record for the half-mile, two miles and four miles. Slade was by contemporary accounts about six feet in height and weighing over eleven stone when in strict training.
His style was described by Montague Shearman thus: "he ran heavily, crunching the cinders as he sped over the pathological".
Walter followed his father into stockbroking and became a Member of the London Stock Exchange. After moving to Australia he continued in this profession, setting up an office by 1881, becoming a Member of the Melbourne Stock Exchange, and becoming chairman of the Melbourne Stock Exchange by 1890.