‘It was so wonderful to see my family come alive again’

Pat Hillam, left, the granddaughter of Albert and Ethel Coldwell who starred in 1946 film We of the West Riding, sees it on the big screen for the first time in 66 years. She is pictured with the filmmaker's widow Pauline Annakin and Tony Earnshaw, of Bradford's National Media Museum

Pat Hillam, left, the granddaughter of Albert and Ethel Coldwell who starred in 1946 film We of the West Riding, sees it on the big screen for the first time in 66 years. She is pictured with the filmmaker's widow Pauline Annakin and Tony Earnshaw, of Bradford's National Media Museum

0
Have your say

A WOMAN who appeared in the Halifax film We of the West Riding as a tot has seen it back on the big screen for the first time in more than 60 years

Pat Hillam was four when her grandparents, Albert and Ethel Coldwell, and their children were chosen to star in the documentary-style movie.

Now aged 70, she has spoken of her excitement at seeing her relatives resurrected at the National Media Museum, Bradford.

She said: “To see my family come to life on screen again was just wonderful.

“I have a video of it but watching it on TV is nothing like watching it on the big screen.

“The last time I saw it on the big screen was at the premiere in Halifax.”

The Coldwells were selected to portray a typical Yorkshire family during the Second World War.

“They used artistic licence. My grandparents didn’t do a lot of the things they are portrayed as doing in the film, but it was just a snapshot of Yorkshire life,” said Mrs Hillam.

Her grandparents and their children Ivy, Eva and Kenneth played the main roles, but Mrs Hillam and her mum Hilda, who were living with them in Woodside Place, Boothtown, also had small parts.

“I remember it all so vividly,” said Mrs Hillam, who now lives in Norwood Green with husband Tony, and has grandchildren of her own.

“I had to run across the street to speak to my grandmother, who was outside her back door in the yard scrubbing some clothes, and I had to do this over and over again.”

She also recalls being taken on location in and around Halifax to see other scenes filmed.

“I remember it all. I must have picked up on all the excitement from the older ones, even as a four-year-old.

“It’s just as if it happened yesterday.”

She also got the chance to meet film-maker Ken Annakin’s widow Pauline after the showing, who presented the Bradford museum with her husband’s original copy of the film.

Mrs Hillam said: “He classed it as his first film. He was born in Yorkshire and it was close to his heart. He always wanted it to come back here.”

Beverley-born Annakin lived in Ilkley and went on to direct many films, among them Swiss Family Robinson and Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines.