William Baines was born on the 26th March 1899 and baptised at Horbury Primitive Methodist Chapel on the 30th April that year. He was the son of George William and Mary Alice (nee Townsend).

George Baines was organist at the Primitive Methodist Chapel and William began learning piano with his father at a young age. George was a man of fairly modest means and couldn’t afford a top class musical education for his son. He did however send him to study under Albert Jowett at the Yorkshire Training College of Music, Leeds in 1910. William progressed rapidly and by the age of 12 was writing tentative compositions.

After a short spell in Cleckheaton, in 1916 the family moved to York, where 17 year old William composed ‘Symphony in C Minor’.

William was not a well person and at the start of 1918 he received notice that he was to be re-examined as to his fitness to serve in the army, he had been deferred on health grounds three times already. This time however he was deemed fit for light clerical duties. On the 4th October 1918, he began his war service. He was stationed at Blandford Camp, Dorset, rumoured to have the worst conditions in the country. After only a fortnight in the cold, wet, influenza-ridden camp, he contracted septic poisoning.

William remained in ill health but did achieve fame, with about 150 compositions, such as ‘Paradise Gardens’, to his name.

Sadly, he passed away on 6th November 1922 from mesenteric consumption, aged just 23.