THE Bradford Civic Society has unveiled a blue plaque to honour a literary star who was born in Wrose. 

Olive Marjorie Taylor, later Malachi Whitaker, was born at a house on Clara Road on September 23, 1895.

She left Belle Vue Girls’ school aged 13, and went to work at her father’s bookbinding workshop, Muff​ & Taylor,​ on Thornton Road.

Malachi eventually had a story published in the prestigious Adelphi​ magazine, and went on to release four volumes of short stories with Jonathan Cape.

In 1937, she co-wrote a novel, The​ Autobiography of Ethel Firebrace, with her friend Gay Taylor, and in 1939, she authored a memoir, ​And So Did I. In 1946 and 1949, two volumes of previously published stories were released.

Malachi went on to purchase the landmark Bolton Old Hall, on the outskirts of Wrose. She married her husband, Leonard Whitaker, in 1917, and the couple adopted two children, Valerie and Michael. Malachi died in Skipton in January 1976, aged 80.

The blue plaque has been fully funded by Wrose Paris Council. 

Valerie Waterhouse, Malachi’s biographer, said: “If Malachi Whitaker had been a man she would probably have a statue outside the library by now but a blue plaque is an excellent start.

"She deserves her plaque for both her writing – which was exceptional – and as a role model for women struggling against the odds. Having left school at 13, she became a literary star in the 1930s, counting H.E. Bates, Stevie Smith and Vita Sackville-West among her many fans.

"She was perhaps the only author of the time who wrote about ordinary Yorkshire people… tram navvies; quarry labourers; bookbinders... without ever looking down – in a style that was pithy, witty and entirely original.”

Alan Hall, Vice Chair of Bradford Civic Society, added: “In a district rich with literary history, it’s about time that one of our greatest authors was properly honoured with a blue plaque.

"Malachi lived and worked all over Bradford, and clearly had a great affection for her home city. We hope that more people will discover Malachi’s remarkable works as a result of the plaque, and that our budding storytellers of the future will be inspired by such a great woman of Bradford.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Chair of Wrose Parish Council, said he was "delighted" to celebrate the work of a "true Wrose pioneer". 

He said: "At Wrose Parish Council we’re keen to promote pride in our fantastic community, and this new blue plaque will be a great addition to the area.

"Alongside world-famous festivals and our Bronte heritage, this new Wrose plaque helps cement the Bradford district’s reputation as a real destination for literature lovers.”

Malachi’s blue plaque is the latest installation as part of Bradford’s newly-launched blue plaque scheme.

On Tuesday, October 29, Bradford Civic Society will be unveiling a blue plaque for George Cross recipient Barabara Harrison, and there will be a further unveiling at the Thornton birthplace of the Bronte family later this year.

Bradford BID have also funded a set of plaques for some of central Bradford’s ‘star buildings’, with unveilings expected to be announced over the coming weeks.