Sandy Still

Rod Hall

Allen Miller

Jim Jack


Allen’s mother was a GI war bride from Preston, Lancs. From an early age he loved musical films. (By the age of 8 he knew all the words and music of Calamity Jane!) He asked his mother if he could have guitar lessons but she told him he would have to have piano lessons first - he declined! He came to England from San Antonio, Texas in 1959, initially for one year but, when his family returned to Texas at the end of the year, he asked if he could stay with his grandmother in Preston and complete his English education....he never went back! He loved music of all kinds and was in the School Choir, graduating from soprano at 12 to bass at 18. He studied Classics at Durham University (1965-68). It was here that he was introduced to folk music, being a regular at the Buffalo Head in the North Bailey every Wednesday night. He also bought his first guitar and taught himself to play, using Bert Weedon’s classic tutorial. After graduation he went to Athens for a year, teaching English. There he bought another guitar and started to write songs, two of which were performed by his Greek students at the annual end of year show. He ended up singing and playing Greek songs in tavernas and at beach parties. The New Wave musical movement in Greece at the time was a strong influence on him.

He began teaching at Hummersknott School in 1970 and immediately joined forces with Jim Jack to play for the 6th Form Girls’ folk club, who were invited out to give concerts for small groups of people. Songwriting went on the back-burner for many years. Within 2 weeks of joining the staff he was introduced to The Dales by the head of Modern Languages who lived at Grinton and invited him out for a day’s walk on Fremington Edge. That is where he saw for the first time the near-deserted village of Hurst and the remains of old lead works nearby. That same day he went into Grinton church and saw the graves of Adam Barker and his daughter Ann and read about their story. These influences would lie dormant for a number of years but, like most of his discoveries, they eventually ended up in songs.  

Allen has two sons and a daughter. One of his sons, Gus, produced The Making of Swaledale. He retired in 2007 as Assistant Head Teacher at Hummersknott. In July of 2010 he married his Texan girlfriend, Yolanda, who is also a big fan of Fourum and loves The Dales. For the first nine years after his retirement he divided his time between San Antonio, Texas (where his sisters live) and England. However, since Yolanda now has a UK Resident’s Permit, they have made England their home. They love to travel and explore new places, both in England and Scotland (their favourite!) and in Europe, as well as the USA.

Allen Miller





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