Edwin Walter Coates was a bookseller and stationer.
He was born on 25 February 1863 at Huddersfield, the son of bookseller and stationer Benjamin Walter Coates and his wife Martha Matilda (née Partridge), and was baptised on 23 March 1863 at Huddersfield Parish Church. By 1871, Benjamin had moved his family to Warminster, Wiltshire.
His great-grandfather was the Rev. John Coates, the Vicar of Huddersfield from 1791 to 1823 and a headmaster of King James' Grammar School, Almondbury.
He began his career in 1878 and at one point worked as an assistant at Alfred Jubb and Son, Limited. After working in London, Brighton and St Leonards-on-Sea, he returned to Huddersfield in 1890 where he established Coates and Bairstow on Station Street, Huddersfield.
He married Mary Maria Randall, daughter of the late J.D. Randall, on 25 May 1892 at Sutton Veny, Wiltshire. The couple are believed to have not had any children and Mary Maria died in 1910, aged 50.
On 11 April 1905, he purchased two water-colour paintings for £4 which were purported to be by the artist David Cox (1783-1859), but subsequently were revealed to be forgeries. Sophia Ferguson (aged 23) and artist George Ferguson (49) of Grange-over-Sands were arrested and charged with "obtaining money by false pretences". Both were found guilty after the latter admitted forging the paintings.
He was an active member of Huddersfield Parish Church and a member of the Masonic Lodge of Harmony, of which he was the Worshipful Master in 1911.
The 1911 Census records him as a widower residing at 51 Grasmere Road, Huddersfield, with his spinster sister Elsie Katherine Coates.