Henry Wilks was born on the 2nd December 1921 in Bradford to a family of fettlers in the mills. Henry left home at 14 after his parents died, and he worked in the mills himself. Henry kept in touch with his paternal cousin Alice Wilks. Henry also had an aunt. In 1939, Henry joined The Gunners. After his discharge from the army, Henry married Margaret and they had a daughter Marian Wilks in 1954. Henry became a rich mill owner. In 1972, Henry decided to retire and move to the countryside.
Henry was a retired Bradford wool merchant. He had brought his business acumen to Beckindale, but just after his arrival, he visited Annie Sugden of Emmerdale Farm, his neighbour, and said he had a right of way over Emmerdale farm land to his house. In the end, Henry became friends with the Sugden's at Emmerdale and bought shares in the ailing farm - when it became a limited company. In May 1973, Henry wanted to build a pig unit. Construction begun but a young woman was injured, and Jack Sugden protested, so Henry abandoned the construction and the land was restored back to farm use. Henry then became a joint owner of the local village pub The Woolpack, alongside Amos Brearly, and they became great friends as well as business partners.
Henry and Amos were on tap behind the bar at The Woolpack from 1973 to 1991. In January 1975 Henry appeared to be in financial straits when an accountant and bank manager came to see him. Henry soon sorted out the money worries. Henry and Amos kept an orderly house even though they did argue themselves a bit. In 1983, Amos had a bad experience when Alan Turner called him a bore behind his back while on a golf trip. Henry supported Amos when Amos told him. Henry bought shares in NY Estates. Villagers used to comment that Henry seems to own or co-own almost every business in Beckindale and he had a "finger in every pie". In 1986, local villain Harry Mowlam threatened to buy out everyone in the village, including Henry's share in Emmerdale. Shortly afterwards, Henry found Mowlam dead in the river, and due to a fight the previous day, Matt Skilbeck was arrested and charged with murder. Henry supported Matt, and it emerged that Henry found Mowlam's body 20 yards from where Matt last saw him alive. Henry was pleased when the real killer was caught, and Matt was cleared.
In 1987, Henry was involved in the protest against a proposed nuclear dump in the village. The villagers won the battle. In March 1988, Henry and Amos had a huge row and he considered moving to Italy to be with his daughter and grandson Nicolo Rosetti but realised he could not cope in another country at his age, so decided to stay in Beckindale. Amos was relieved.
Amos retired to Spain in January 1991 and the pub was bought by former NY Estates manager Alan Turner. Henry stayed on at the pub and became irritated by Alan's ways. Henry died suddenly of a heart attack in October 1991.
Amos flew back to England for the funeral and Henry was buried in the village cemetery. At the wake, Annie said how her and Henry first met, when he visited her and demanded a right of way over Emmerdale Farm land to his house. Over the next few years, Amos made sporadic visits to Beckindale and spoke of the late Mr Wilks.
- An inconsistency in Henry's birth date in Episode 595 (15th July 1980) reveals his birthdate as 15th July.
"I was wondering where you'd got to." (First line)
"Here you are love." (Final line)
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