Walter Wingate lived from 15 April 1865 to 1918. He was a poet known especially for his children's verse. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Walter Wingate was born at Dalry, on the River Garnock in Ayrshire. His father was David Wingate, whose poetry and songs had gained him the a local reputation as "The Collier Poet". Walter was the fourth of eleven children born to David Wingate and his first wife. After she died, David remarried, this time to Margaret Thompson, a granddaughter of Robert Burns.
Wingate was schooled in Hamilton and went on to study at the University of Glasgow, where he obtained a degree in mathematics. He tried for a position in the Indian Civil Service, but while being academically highly qualified, his eyesight caused him to fail the medical exam. Instead he became a teacher at St John's Academy, Hamilton. He continued to teach at St John's until his death in 1918 at the age of 52.
In 1907 Walter Wingate married Agnes Thom and they went on to have two sons. Agnes died in 1916, and it is possible that this prompted Walter's own premature death two years later. The following year "Poems by Walter Wingate" was posthumously published. During his life, Wingate had often contributed poetry to The Glasgow News and The Glasgow Evening Herald, but the book that appeared in 1919 was his only published collection. It established Wingate as a firm favourite with generations of Scottish children, and many of his poems have subsequently appeared in Scottish anthologies. He was also a skilled watercolour artist, and left many paintings when he died.