Owen Balmforth was a former Mayor of Huddersfield and a Justice of the Peace.
According to an obituary article, he began work as an office boy at age 10.
In 1872, the Balmforth family gave an evening of entertainment at the Lowerhouses and Longley Working Men's Club, which consisted of "readings, recitations, songs, melodies, and dialogues."
In March 1877, he lectured on the topic of "The Land Question" at the Odd Fellows' Hall in Meltham at the invitation of the Meltham and Meltham Mills Liberal Association. The Chronicle summarised the lecture as showing how land, "from the time of William the Conquere to present, had been monopolised by a few noblemen, to the detriment of the country."
He married Ellen Beaumont on 17 June 1878 at the Unitarian Church on Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield. They had four known children:
In June 1881, he was named as the secretary of the Huddersfield and District Anti-Compulsory Vaccination Association in the Chronicle.
In 1883, he was narrowly elected onto the Huddersfield School Board to replace the late Joel Denham, although church members strongly objected to a secularist being a member of the board. He remained a member of the board until at least the early 1890s, eventually becoming its chairman.
Owen's younger brother, Ramsden Balmforth (1861-1941), was also a member of the School Board, but resigned in January 1894 after obtaining a scholarship to "one of the Oxford Colleges". Ramsden later became an Unitarian minister and spent time in South Africa from 1897 onwards.
He was elected the Mayor of Huddersfield in 1906/7 and 1907/8, before becoming the Secretary of the Huddersfield Education Committee from 1909 onwards.
Ellen Balmforth died in September 1909 and was buried on 21 September at Emmanuel Church in Lockwood. Their daughter Alice had died aged 8 in February 1894 and their son Percy died in May 1910.
By the time of the 1911 Census, he was residing at No. 2 Thornton Lodge Hall, together with his daughter Gertrude and their housekeeper, Mary Ramsden (aged 62).
In the final years of the First World War, he presided over the local military service tribunals, which heard appeals against men joining the forces.
Owen Balmforth spent his final years in a Huddersfield nursing home. He died on 30 January 1922 and was buried on 1 February alongside his wife at Emmanuel Church.