This film is part of Free

We of the West Riding

Take it from a Yorkshireman there’s never a dull moment in the West Riding.

Documentary 1945 21 mins


A vivid description of life, work and recreation in the West Riding of Yorkshire. When members of the extensive Sykes family aren’t busting a gut in Archibald’s textile mill (the exact location of which isn’t indicated) they’ll be found cycling across a moor on a tandem, racing pigeons, in the football terraces, or rehearsing for a part for the latest amateur dramatic society’s production of Jane Eyre.

Director Ken Annakin’s visual flair and gift for storytelling is abundantly evident in this absorbing account of the experiences of a ‘typical’ Yorkshire family. By the late 1940s Annakin had migrated from government sponsored WW2 documentaries, such as this one, to feature films, his most famous being Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965). The Sykes family was largely played by members of the local Coldwell family and members of the local amateur dramatics group, the Halifax Thespians. Novelist Phyllis Bentley (the scriptwriter 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 is depicted in the film. The Hallelujah Chorus at the end of We of the West Riding is performed by the Huddersfield Choral Society and the Holme Valley Male Choir. The brass band, Black Dyke Mills Band is also seen performing.