For such a small village, Mill Bank has had its fair share of famous folk living here.
Glyn Hughes (1933 – 2011)
One of Yorkshire’s foremost contemporary authors, poets and broadcasters, lived at Mor’s House on Mill Bank Road. He arrived in Mill Bank in the late sixties and bought his cottage for £60: perfect for a penniless writer.
Glyn won many awards for his writing, but his best known work, published in 1975, is Millstone Grit. The book is all about Mill Bank and the local area. He stumbled almost accidentally on the village not long after it had been saved from demolition, and this writing is full of loving descriptions of the place, anecdotes about other people and himself. It captures the spirit of Pennine villages and towns (‘whose lights at night dance in little cups and hollows between peninsulas of the moors’).
In 2003 Glyn wrote a poem for the village, which is etched on slate on the Wesleyan Graveyard wall.
Shirley Crabtree (“Big Daddy”) (1930 – 1997)
Shirley was a famous wrestler who lived at Bank Buildings during the 1970s and 1980s. He won both the British and European Heavyweight Championships and was noted for his terrifying “belly splash” throw. Crabtree’s 64-inch chest also won him a place in the Guinness Book of Records. His brothers Max and Brian were promoter and referee respectively and still live nearby.
Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988)
An American theoretical physicist, famous for his work on quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1965 for his fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles. Whilst in Switzerland, he met Gweneth Howarth from Ripponden, to whom he was married in 1960. He visited Mill Bank every summer from the 1960s until his death in 1988. His life was charted in numerous books, films and television documentaries.
Sir Ernest Hall OBE
Sir Ernest lived with his wife June and family at Damside from the 1950s to the 1980s. He is best known for redeveloping the Crossley’s carpet mill site at Dean Clough. Ernest and his wife June were both musicians and he recorded the complete piano works of Frederick Chopin. He and his wife were the prime movers in rescuing the village from demolition in the 1960s.
Maureen Moore (1934 – 2016)
Maureen was well-known as an artist. Her drawings and paintings were exhibited in national galleries. In 1995 she was made a Companion of the International Guild of Artists.
In the mid-1980s she moved to Mill Bank with her husband Mac, and quickly established a reputation in the Calderdale area and beyond – selling her work in Europe, Canada and the USA. She exhibited regularly at the Mall Galleries in London as well as holding several “one woman” exhibitions in Halifax and Sowerby Bridge. Maureen’s work can be seen at https://maureenmoore.net/
Jean Muir CBE (1928 – 1995)
Jean was an internationally known dress designer who worked in the village at Ryburn Knitwear for a time in the 1950s. For a while she was a designer for Jaeger and was a close friend of Joanna Lumley.