Former Halifax school friends debut their mobile bar at Mytholmroyd music event

A trio of former Calderdale school friends who have set-up their own mobile bar using an old horse box took their business to its first event at the weekend.

By Tom Scargill
Monday, 20th June 2022, 11:04 am

Halifax's World Yorkshire Pudding Champion Chris Blackburn, from Copley, and two of school friends, Chris Illingworth and Ross Hallam, who both live in Greetland all went to Holy Trinity Senior School, now Trinity Academy, around 30 years ago.

Their Northern Box Bar is a 30-year-old rice horse trailer that has been renovated and converted into a bar and has now appeared at its first event, a free music festival in Mytholmroyd.

"Around 230 days have passed since we started the project," said Chris Blackburn.

Customers at the Northern Box Bar

"We have worked with some amazing Calderdale brands as our suppliers - Martin Banks at UPVC Hardware Direct has let us use his unit at Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre, Dan at Sim Print based in Halifax did the signage, Nick from The Wine Glass in the Borough Market supplied the spirits and wine, beer suppliers were James Clays and Sons, based in Brighouse, uniforms came from Jules at Northern Power Garments, based in Sowerby Bridge and Mark at Fruitanicals was our fruit garnish supplier."

The event in Mytholmroyd was headlined by The Animals, with more than 2,000 people enjoying an entertainment-packed day with reports of local bars being packed out.

"Every customer left our bar with a smile with many requesting us to attend their events," Chris said.

"Despite reports earlier in the week of rain, the weather remained perfect for the event with not a drop of rain.

Customers at the Northern Box Bar

"It’s 10 years since I won my converted World Yorkshire Pudding Champion title and ever since people have told me I should be selling Yorkshire puddings at festivals, whilst making Yorkshire Puddings in a horse box isn't entirely practical, selling my next passion, beer, absolutely is and so I hope I’ve delighted all those that have prodded me over the years."

Ross Hallam, co-founder, said: "It was important to us that where possible we utilised suppliers in our beloved Calderdale, the people we have met on this journey and the brands we have worked with have been absolutely amazing, Calderdale is rich in talent."

Chris Illingworth, co-founder, said: "It’s emotional to be at our first event in an iconic Calderdale valley. Mytholmroyd is a stunning example of the beauty of Yorkshire, more importantly, the tragedy people have suffered in recent years following devastation floods has been hard to witness, to see the smiles on the faces of some many locals at this stunning event is something I will treasure for a very long time."

The founders of the Northern Box Bar