This film is part of Free

The Lily

A day in the life of the Lily in Darlington washing the town's dirty laundry.

Amateur film 1988 13 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


For more than 60 years, The Lily Laundry of Darlington cleaned the dirty washing of the town inhabitants. Eventually closing on the 23rd July 1982, with the building demolished in 1984, this affectionate amateur film made by a former accountant of the company captures both the day-to-day operation of the business as well as giving a personal account of the company’s history that began in Richmond, North Yorkshire in 1912.

This film was made by Derek Mathieson, who began shooting film at the age of eleven using a clockwork 8mm Kodak Brownie camera. Leaving school aged 15, he first worked at the Inverness Empire Theatre, learning the craft of theatre production, including lighting design, and abandoned filmmaking for several years. He joined Darlington Cine Club in 1977 after attending a talk at the club, given by South Shields animator, Sheila Graber. He shot his first amateur documentary on the Lily Laundry in Darlington, built in 1912, where he then worked as an accountant and company secretary. He has since made over seventy documentary and holiday movies, moving to video production in 1992.