Archive relating to George Walker of Killingbeck

Item date: 1815-1836
Grant Value: £2,000 [Smaller Libraries Fund]
Item cost: £5,197
Item date acquired: 2016
Item institution: Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society
Town/City: York
County: Yorkshire

This archive relating to George Walker of Killingbeck is a good fit with one of the jewels in our archival crown, the famous set of 39 original watercolours by Walker which were published as The Costume of Yorkshire in 1814 (YAS MS1000). These were among a large bequest to the society by Sir Thomas Brooke, president from 1866 until his death in 1908.

In addition to journals, sketches and water-colours, the collection includes many photographs and miscellaneous information about several inter-connected families. It appears to have emerged from the recent sale of library contents at Cefntilla Court, home of the late Lord Raglan, and represents the surviving papers of the Tottie family of Springhead, Cottingham, north of Hull, who moved in 1851 to Coniston Hall, Cold Coniston, in the West Riding. The Totties were related by marriage to the Walker family, various branches of which lived at Killingbeck, Woodlands (Adwick le street, near Doncaster) and Wilsic Hall, also near Doncaster. There was a further relationship by marriage to the Shore family of Norton Hall, near Sheffield. This probably explains why a volume of sketches to be found at Sheffield Archives (MD 7048), including works by Walker, apparently once belonged to the Shore family. The Sheffield volume contains several sketches by Walker of Scottish scenes, most likely executed when Walker travelled with the Totties in 1822, the journal of which came to us from the 2016 auction.

The collection is now in safe keeping at the Brotherton Library Special Collections, University of Leeds, forming part of the YAHS collection and listed under YAS/MD489. The list can be seen online at We are immensely grateful to FNL for their support, enabling the society to bid for all four lots and to keep the collection intact.

George Walker hunting scene. Courtesy of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society.
George Walker hunting scene. Courtesy of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society.