Three former Halifax school friends set up new business by turning horse box into a mobile bar

Halifax's World Yorkshire Pudding Champion Chris Blackburn and two of school friends are launching a new mobile bar.

By Tom Scargill
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 9:35 am
Chris Blackburn, Ross Hallam and Chris Illingworth, Halifax school friends setting up a bar using an old horse trailer
Chris Blackburn, Ross Hallam and Chris Illingworth, Halifax school friends setting up a bar using an old horse trailer

The Northern Box Bar is a 30-year-old rice horse trailer that has been renovated and converted into a bar and will be on the road from June.

It is the idea of three friends - Chris Blackburn, who lives in Copley, Chris Illingworth and Ross Hallam, who both live in Greetland - that went to Holy Trinity Senior School, now Trinity Academy, around 30 years ago.

"I'd say a mutual love of sport, traveling and most importantly beer has kept our friendship alive," said Chris Blackburn, a two-time World Yorkshire Pudding Champion.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

Chris Blackburn, Ross Hallam and Chris Illingworth, Halifax school friends setting up a bar using an old horse trailer

After being pitched the idea by long-time friend Simon Greenhill, who has his own fleet of converted horse box bars, the trio sourced a horse box from Bedfordshire and transported it back to Halifax, where it has been renovated.

The renovation, now in its seventh month, has had a number of challenges for the trio.

"News that our brakes were obsolete was a bitter blow” said Ross.

"Not only did that set us back two months but it also added huge costs that we hadn't budgeted for.

"Unfortunately, the extent of obsolete breaks was new wheels, axels, structural work, breaking cabling system and new tow hitch.

"We tried to get the work completed locally but a horsebox of this age is a niche, so it required a trip to Worksop to complete the work.”

Despite the setbacks, the trio are now well on track to have Northern Box Bar ready for its first event in June, where over 2,000 people are expected to descend on Mytholmroyd for a free music event on June 18.

“What a first event we have in store,” said Chris Illingworth.

"We can’t wait to be amongst the people of Calderdale, our friends, family, and those that have supported us with this venture for what promises to be a spectacular day of music."