Sir Andrew Barclay Walker, benefactor of Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery, is buried in the graveyard of All Saints Church in Childwall.
Walker’s father Peter Walker was a brewer from Ayrshire and the family moved to Liverpool in the 1830s when he was in his early teens. The following decade father and son went into business in Warrington, setting up Peter Walker & Sons, which later became Walkers of Warrington.
In 1873 Walker was elected Mayor of Liverpool and commemorated his year in office by paying for the construction of the Walker Art Gallery, which opened in 1877. The architect was Cornelius Sherlock, who the previous decade had designed Walker’s twenty one bedroom mansion,The Grange, in Gateacre. Walker was coming to the end of his second term as Mayor when the gallery opened and that same year he was also knighted by Queen Victoria.
Walker had wanted to make art accessible to the masses and over a quarter of a million people, mainly from the working classes, visited in the first four months. The gallery was not his only generous gift to Liverpool. He also funded the engineering laboratories at the University of Liverpool.
At the time of his death at the age of 68 in 1893, Walker was estimated to be worth £3,000,000 which is equivalent to over £350 million today. He was buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church in Childwall, Liverpool alongside his first wife.
In 1960 Walkers merged with Joshua Tetley to form Tetley Walker. Further mergers have since seen it become part of the Carlsberg UK group, which produces Tetley Bitter.
The Walker Art Gallery is now one of the finest in Europe, open daily for visitors with no entrance fee. It has paintings dating back to the 14th Century and amongst its exhibits is W F Yeames’s And When Did You Last See Your Father, depicting the questioning of a Royalist family who had been captured by Parliamentarians during the English Civil War.