"Elocutionist, orthoepist, and lexicographer, was born on 18 March 1732 at Colney Heath, a hamlet in the parish of Friern Barnet, Middlesex, on the eastern side of Finchley Common. Nothing is known about his father, except that he died when John was a child. His mother came from Nottingham and was the sister of the Revd James Morley, a dissenting minister in Painswick, Gloucestershire. Walker attended grammar school, but left early to learn a trade, of which he tried several, but none suited him. On his mother's death, when he was about seventeen, he decided to pursue a career on the stage and joined a succession of provincial theatre companies, the last of which was in Gloucester. In 1757 he joined Garrick's company at Drury Lane, where he at first played minor characters, such as Angus in Macbeth, but was soon promoted to play the second parts in tragedy, and those of a grave and sententious nature in comedy."