Watts Balmforth was a radical liberal and advocate of temperance who lived most of his life in Lockwood.
He was born in Slaithwaite in 1826, the son of weaver Richard Balmforth and his wife Amelia (née Ramsden).
According to local historian Alan Brooke, Watts first worked in Longroyd Bridge before moving from Manchester Road to Rashcliffe, Lockwood, where he worked as a machine knife grinder at the Engine Bridge Machine Works at Folly Hall. Watts was a keen vegetarian and supporter of social reformer Richard Owen, and named his own first son "Owen". He was a committee member of the West Riding Secular Union.
He married Nanny Moorhouse on 10 August 1851 at All Hallows, Almondbury, They had seven known children:
Watts Balmforth died on 26 January 1904 at a nursing home on Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield. His probate record listed effects to the value of £1,501 8s. 6d.
|1841||Yews, Lockwood||15||Living with his widowed mother and siblings.|
|1851||Yews, Lockwood||25||Working as a woollen cloth finisher and living with his widowed mother and siblings.|
|1861||Dale Street, Lockwood||35||Working as a knife grinder and living with his wife and children.|
|1871||Rashcliffe, Lockwood||44||Working as a mechanic and living with his wife and children.|
|1891||93 Rashcliffe Hill Road, Lockwood||64||Retired knife grinder living with his wife, son Rasmden, and grandson Earnest Kaye (aged 11).|
|1901||93 Rashcliffe Hill Road, Lockwood||75||Living on his own means with his wife.|