Morley & District Family History Group



Henry Hinchliffe Ainley

.......was born at23, Belle Vue Terrace, Leeds on 21 st October 1879 and christened at St. George’s Church. His mother Ada (nee Hinchliffe) was born in 1850 at Cragg Vale and his father Richard in 1851 at Horbury. Whilst Henry was still a baby the family moved to Victoria Road, Morley when Richard, along with his partner and friend, Mr. Stephenson, acquired Crank Mill, the first steam powered woollen mill in Yorkshire and possibly in the country. Financed by Lord Dartmouth the mill was erected in 1790 and the building is still in existence but no longer functioning as a mill.

The family soon moved into a new home, “North View” in Rooms Lane, a house that is still occupied today. In 1883 Henry’s sister Beatrice was born and the family along with a domestic servant, lived in the house for over 20 years.

Henry was educated at St. Peter’s School and at Mr. Bundle’s College at Morley Grange, Churwell before working in Leeds and then at a Sheffield bank until 1899 when he joined Mr. Benson’s Shakespearian Company touring the country’s theatres. In 1902 Henry joined Sir George Alexander Company and was an instant success quickly becoming lionised by London society.

Henry Ainley became a great Shakespearian actor, the best of his day, a star of silent films and with his glorious hypnotic voice, his commanding stage presence, piercing brilliant eyes, thick black hair and magnificent physique he was the top matinee idol of his day. Although he was a subject of such adoration he never forgot his roots in Morley and was always proud to be a Yorkshire man

After a long stoic fight against ill-health Henry Hinchliffe Ainley died at his residence in Princess Gardens , West Acton , Middlesex on 31 st October 1945 in his 66 th year.



information supplied by R Barraclough

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