Ian Walkers grandfather, George Walker, founded Northern Briar Pipes in 1958. George Walker started working for Duncan Briars in England in 1922, and in 1958, after 36 years he left Duncans having been head foreman in charge of production, and started Northern Briar Pipe Repair Service.
On finishing school in 1972, Ian Walker joined the family business. Ian started as an apprentice. Later he was allowed to polish some pipes and in the evenings, at his Grandfathers workshop, he learned how to make silver bands from sheet silver.
In 1983, Ian Walkers parents bought a local tobacconist shop in Heaton Moor, Stockport. By this time Ian was doing all the repairs and had become one of the foremost pipe-repairmen in the United Kingdom.
Wanting further develop his skills, Ian started making pipes himself in the shop. These pipes sold well and he decided to expand this side of the business and was soon making pipes for other local shops.