Moore turned down honour

Castleford sculptor Henry Moore who died in August 1986.
Castleford sculptor Henry Moore who died in August 1986.

CASTLEFORD’s most famous son – sculptor Henry Moore – turned down a knighthood from the Queen.

The discovery came to light following a Freedom of Information request which revealed the artist refused the prestigious honour in 1951.

This is the first time a list of those who declined an honour between 1951 and 1999 – and who have since died – has been published.

Henry Moore, who died in 1986 aged 88, was born and bred in Castleford – the seventh of eight children born to Wheldale Colliery under-manager Raymond Moore.

The Temple Street School student set his heart on becoming a sculptor – inspired by Michaelangelo – aged 11 and won a scholarship to study at Castleford Secondary School, where he was encouraged by his teachers to apply for a scholarship to Leeds Art College.

Despite opposition from his parents over his chosen profession he went on to become one of the 20th century’s most significant and influential sculptors, along with Wakefield’s Barbara Hepworth


He is most famous for his abstract bronze statues of which there is a sizeable collection on show close to his birthplace – most notably the permanent exhibitions at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

near Wakefield and at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.