This film is part of Free

The Duke of York's Visit to Horrock's Mills

A tour of cotton production at a Preston mill - for the benefit of the future George VI

Non-Fiction 1922 22 mins Silent


Excitable crowds pack the square outside Preston Town Hall to see the Duke of York (later King George VI) greeted by the town's top brass, before the royal party motors off to Horrocks' mill for a tour of the works. Inside, the mood is just as patriotic, with the factory floor strewn with cotton yarn and Union Jack bunting. Age has taken its toll on parts of this film, but the nitrate decomposition can't obscure the jovial enthusiasm of workers waiting to catch a glimpse of their royal guest.

John Horrocks established his original business in Preston in 1791, as Lancashire's textile industry was emerging. Two centuries later the company was well established, and Horrocks' workers were no strangers to the spotlight. Employees of the Preston works were recorded by Edwardian film pioneers Mitchell and Kenyon in 1901, entertained George V and Queen Mary in 1913, and would even welcome King Fuad of Egypt in 1927 - who no doubt had his own particular interest in the wonders of cotton.