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Walker, Henry snr. (1791-1831)

Walker, Henry snr

Lancaster, Lancs.; cabinet maker, joiner and upholsterer (fl.1791–1831).

A Henry Walker is named in the Gillow Archive in 1791–97, 1799, 1803 and 1806. Through Gillows he was involved in the refurbishment of some woodwork and masonry at St. Michael's church, St. Michaels-on-Wyre. Gillows charged John France Esq. (the church's benefactor at this period) for ‘..Henry Walker's time in going to St. Michaels to do some additional work & in returning [to Lancaster] 12½ days at 3s per day £1.17s.6d’. In August 1798 he was paid for wood and labour making sundry mouldings at Lancaster ‘...for the octagon wood pillar...’. He was also employed for eleven days on the roof of the church. He may perhaps he identified with the person of the same name who set up in business ‘at the top of the New Road, in Church Street’ in June 1805. This Henry Walker must have prospered for in May 1813 he was able to announce a move to ‘commodious premises upon the Green Area, nearly opposite the end of Chapel Street, and adjoining Messrs. Brockbank’s ship-yard’. Directories give this address as Cable St. These premises were described as ‘new built and commodious’. He was made a Freeman 1823–24 ‘on gift of the Bailiff of the Commons’. In March 1831 however he was declared bankrupt and his household goods and stock were auctioned for the benefit of his creditors in a three-day sale. Also auctioned were his house and business premises. These were built on land leased from the Lancaster Corporation and consisted of 2 Chapel St, rented to a John Harrison, and 3 and 4 Cable St which Walker himself used, the former being described as a house and shop also fronting Chapel St and the latter as a house. A Henry Walker is however still recorded at Cable St in a directory of 1834 but this may be the son, also Henry.

A number of pieces of furniture have been noted with impressed marks ‘HENRY WALKER LANCASTER’ which correspond with this maker's period of trading. These include a ‘Gillow type’ table, a mahogany secretaire chest of drawers, a dressing mirror and an oak clock case, an early 19th century pembroke table sold by Bonhams Leeds in January 2003, lot 615, and a late Georgian chiffonier in satinwood c. 1820 sold at Phillips, Carlisle, 22/23 May 1996, lot 589. A mahogany and satinwood bookcase illustrated in Stuart (2008), pls B47 and 48, is impressed 'HY. Walker Lancaster’ and the two sideboards (pls B49-B51) also bears this impressed mark. This may be the work of the son, however. Several clocks are recorded with Henry Walker’s name painted on the dial.

Sources: DEFM; Stuart, A Biographical List of Clockmakers, North Lancashire and South Westmorland (1996); Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London (2008), II, p.293



The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.