FOR more than 40 years Percy Monkman worked in the same bank.

But his unremarkable day job belied his unconventional life outside work where he transformed himself into an entertainer, actor, cartoonist and prolific artist.

Described during his lifetime as the best-known person in Bradford, Percy was acclaimed by the public and his contemporaries, and enjoyed a long-standing friendship with JB Priestley. He was particularly known as a watercolour painter of the Dales, with many of his works depicting Addingham, Bolton Abbey and Wharfedale.

He exhibited across the West Riding and many times in Ilkley, where he had family. He also exhibited regularly in London at the Royal Institute of Water Colour Painters.

Now the fascinating story of his life his being brought before the public by his grandson Martin Greenwood.

Born in 1892 Percy came from a humble, non-conformist, working-class family in Bradford. He left school before he was 14, with only a basic education - but he went on to achieve great things.

Martin, originally from Bradford, said: “Towards the end of my grandfather’s life a journalist wrote that Percy Monkman must have been the best-known person in Bradford. Of course this is subjective and cannot be proven, but there is no doubt that for many reasons he was extremely well-known and was certainly a Bradford celebrity for some 60 years, after he returned from military service in the First World War.

“Most people’s legacies relate to their work or occupation. But my grandfather had the most unremarkable of professional jobs. Rising to chief cashier, he worked in the same Bradford bank from the age of 16 to when he retired at 60, indeed in the same physical building, with just four years away, from 1915 to 1919, with the army in Northern France. Hardly worthy of a paragraph, let alone a biography!

“Yet all his spare time – evenings, weekends and holidays – was so crammed with tremendous energy and artistic creativity, that he was an inspiration to all who came across him. “

Martin says telling the story would not have been possible if his grandfather had not been a hoarder.

“He seems to have kept every document he ever received, every press cutting, every programme he appeared in, notes of every talk he ever gave, and thousands of other items, from review sketches to joke books and jottings on backs of envelopes,” he said.

“Packed into all sorts of folders and envelopes, this treasure trove has lain unopened in my attic since his death over 30 years ago. At last I have been able to analyse these documents and made many discoveries that have amazed me despite my prior knowledge of the key parts of his life.”

Percy Monkman, An Extraordinary Bradfordian is published by PlashMill Press. It can be bought from Amazon for £24.49.