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Walter Henry Dutton

Cycling Sketchbook Diarist Update

Photo of Walter Dutton on admission to Lancaster Lunatic Asylum

Walter Henry Dutton (1862-1909) Reproduced with the permission of the Lancaster Records Office

With the publication of the 1911 census, we now know more of the sad ending of the life of Walter Henry Dutton, the artistic author of the 1887 Sketchbook Diary.

Walter died aged 47 years of a kidney infection, after spending almost two years in Lancaster Lunatic Asylum. He was admitted in a confused state shortly before Christmas 1907. Medical advances since that time leave no doubt that he would now be treated in the community, with every likelihood of a long and productive life. He married and left behind a family in the Everton area of Liverpool

Most certainly Walter deserves a place in the folklore of the north west of England, if only for his fascinating evocation of a time long since passed. Up until the present none of his descendants has been in touch with us, although there must be many still living around Merseyside who do not realise we have a family root seeking the light of day. We have only one photograph of him, taken upon admission to Lancaster Asylum. There is a self portrayal of him in his diary entry of the 28th May 1887 on his Knutsford Tour.

Do any surviving diaries or examples of his artistic abilities survive? Is there a painting hanging on a wall somewhere? And can any of our web visitors help with the many intriguing puzzles this diary presents? We've solved many of them. One or two remain.(160709)