Tributes to our Silk Queen film star of the 30s

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

AWO­MAN whose coronation as Silk Queen in 1933 was cap­tured on film has died, aged 102.

Alice Lil­lian King - af­fec­tion­ately known as Alice - was the star of a film which cap­tured a long-since passed tra­di­tion that cel­e­brated the town’s silk in­dus­try.

The Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute, which owns the amaz­ing footage, never knew her name – so in 2015 the Ex­press launched an ap­peal to find out, but all to no avail.

It was only this month that we fi­nally traced Lil­lian, only to learn she had sadly died.

Pay­ing trib­ute, her daugh­ter Flora Lane said: “It wasn’t too long ago the fam­ily all sat around with mum and watched that film.

“We were amazed. It seemed like such a huge event and she was the star of it. I even think my grand­fa­ther was in the crowd some­where as well.

“Mum was al­ways so mod­est about it, but she did keep the dress, the silk gloves, cape and bag.

“She lived a long and happy life, and while it is sad for us to lose her we will al­ways have her cap­tured on that won­der­ful film.”

Lil­lian was the daugh­ter of Wil­liam and Sarah Alice Hand­forth and grew up in Lan­g­ley.

She was 19 and work­ing in a lo­cal mill when she was cho­sen to be that year’s Silk Queen, which was filmed by a visit­ing news­reel com­pany.

The six-minute film has no voice-over but in­cludes the en­chant­ing mut­ter­ings of the crowd be­fore Lil­lian is crowned and makes a speech.

The Mayor then speaks, there’s a pro­ces­sion, in­clud­ing the Silk Queen on a horse-drawn float, and Heather­bells Jazz Band moves down the street.

Lil­lian later met her hus­band, David, while he was sta­tioned with the RAF in Black­pool.

They mar­ried in 1941 and had their first child, John, in 1942 while David was at war.

When David re­turned the fam­ily moved to Scot­land but re­turned to live in Pott Shrigley, where Lil­lian worked as house­keeper for the Rud­dins fam­ily.

Flora ar­rived in 1953 and seven years later the fam­ily moved back to Scot­land.

David died in 1988 and Lil­lian lived in­de­pen­dently un­til she was 99 when she moved to a care home in War­wick­shire near Flora.

Lil­lian, who had six grand­chil­dren and two great grand­chil­dren, died on Fe­bru­ary 7 and will be buried in Scot­land.

See the video on mac­cles­field­ex­press.

Lil­lian is crowned the Silk Queen in 1933

Lil­lian King

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