Henry Moore was born in Castleford, in small terraced house in Roundhill Road on 30th July 1898. He attended Castleford Grammar School on a scholarship and subsequently became a teacher there. His teaching was interrupted by the First World War during which he fought in France and was gassed. After the War he returned to his teaching post but knew he wanted something better so he began studying at the Leeds School of Art from which he progressed to the Royal College of Art in London.
In 1924 Henry Moore met Irina Radetsky, a painting student at the college, whom he married a year later. The couple lived in Hampstead, where they mingled with many aspiring young artists including another sculptor from this area, Barbara Hepworth.
Henry Moore's early sculptures of the 1920s, show the influences of Central American pre-Columbian art, and the massive figures of the Italian Renaissance (he particularly liked Michaelangelo's work). By the 1930s his works had become highly abstract, consisting of simplified, rounded pieces carved from wood, with numerous indentations and holes often spanned with veils of thin metal wires. His main themes include mother-and-child and family groups, fallen warriors, and, most characteristically, the reclining human figure.
Although he endured much criticism of his early work, in 1948 he was awarded the International Prize for Sculpture and his reputation worldwide grew over the following decades. He is also well known for his sketches of people sheltering in the London underground during the Second World War, and of working miners. The latter were sketched at Wheldale Colliery near Castleford where his father had worked. His sculptures can be seen at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield.
A version of his Reclining Figure Draped is on show outside of the Civic Centre at Castleford and his first Reclining Figure from 1936 at Wakefield Art Gallery.
Henry Moore died in 1986 and in September 2000 Moore Square was opened on the site of his Castleford birthplace.