We of the West Riding

About the film

Exploring the daily life of a large family in Yorkshire, We of the West Riding shows both their work at the textile mills and their varied leisure pursuits.

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  • Release year - 1945
  • Director - Ken Annakin
  • Production company - Greenpark
  • Producer - Ralph Keene
  • Screenplay - Phyllis Bentley
  • Cinematographer - Peter Hennessy
  • Composer - Leighton Lucas
  • Narration - Norman Shelley
  • Editor - Julian Wintle
  • Sound recording - W.S. Bland
  • Running time (minutes) - 21 mins 06 secs

Original description

The life of a typical Yorkshire family

'A young Yorkshireman describes the life led by his family, who all work in the great woollen mills of the district. Their work is shown and their recreations, which include football, music, amateur theatricals and cycling over the beautiful countryside. They all love singing, and the film ends with the annual performance of Handel's Messiah which is traditional in the West Riding.'

(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1946)

Did you know?

  • The Sykes family was largely played by members of the Coldwell family. Five of the eight children, however, were away at war at the time of filming, and so members of the local amateur dramatics group the Halifax Thespians (also seen in the film) played the absent family members.
  • Novelist Phyllis Bentley (who wrote the script for We of the West Riding) was, at the time of filming, the president of the Halifax Thespians, whose production of The Importance of Being Earnest can be seen in the film.
  • The Hallelujah Chorus at the end of We of the West Riding is sung by the Huddersfield Choral Society and the Holme Valley Male Choir, the former of which went on to record Handel's Messiah in 1946. The Black Dyke Mills Band is also seen performing.

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