Hird, Horace

Born in December 1899, he belonged to a family of Bradford steeplejacks. His grandfather, brother and nephew all had their own businesses. He himself established and ran H. Hird (Steeple Jacks) Ltd. in Bradford and Leeds for almost 50 years. He was a member and trustee of Frizinghall Methodist Church near Bradford. He married Alice Hartley (1896-1951) at Eastbrook Hall, Bradford in 1925; then, in 1956, was married to Dorothy Drennan Balmforth, née Hall (1898-1977) at All Saints Church, Bingley, by Dr. Donald Coggan, then Bishop of Bradford. He died at Bradford on 3 June 1973.

Outside his business he had wide interests, including involvement in local political activity and many local charitable organizations. He was elected as a Conservative and National Liberal member of Bradford City Council in 1944 and served for twenty-seven years, becoming an alderman in 1949 and Lord Mayor in 1951. Possibly unique at the time, he appointed a layman, Dr. C.W. Towlson, as his chaplain. (His brother Webber also became Lord Mayor.) In 1958 he withdrew as prospective parliamentary candidate for Sowerby because of a heart condition.

He had a 'critical' knowledge of 17th century tradesmen's tokens and was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Numismatic Society. He was President of both the Yorkshire Numismatic Society and the Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society. He donated his collection of ancient Scottish coins to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. In 1953 Oxford University conferred an honorary M.A. in recognition of his 'antiquarian knowledge' and generosity. In 1957 he gave over 1,000 coins, dating from the Iron Age to William IV, to the University of Leeds, along with a notable collection of 17th century Yorkshire- and Derbyshire-related tokens and was elected a Master of the Court of the University. He was a member of the Wesley Historical Society and contributed a number of articles to its Proceedings. In his memory his widow bequeathed his collection of Wesleyana to the Methodist Conference. This extensive collection is now housed at Mount Zion Methodist Church, Ogden, near Halifax. He was the author of three books on Bradford's history: How a City Grows (1966), Bradford in History (1968) and Bradford Remembrance (1972).

  • Donald H. Ryan (comp.), [catalogue of] The Horace Hird Collection of Wesleyana (Wolverhampton, 2004)