Sir Walter Gilbey, 1st Baronet DL was an English wine-merchant and philanthropist.
He was born at Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire to parents Henry and Elizabeth Gilbey. His father, the owner of the daily coach between Bishop's Stortford and London, died when he was eleven years old, and young Gilbey was shortly afterwards placed in the office of an estate agent at Tring, subsequently obtaining a clerkship in a firm of parliamentary agents in London.
On the outbreak of the Crimean War, Walter Gilbey and his younger brother, Alfred, volunteered for civilian service at the front, and were employed at a convalescent hospital on the Dardanelles. Returning to London on the declaration of peace, Walter and Alfred Gilbey, on the advice of their eldest brother Henry Gilbey who was a wholesale wine-merchant, they started in the retail wine and spirits trade, such as the local London style gin.