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

Alice Lillian King 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.


The BFI film shows Lillian King as she was crowned British Silk Queen in 1933

“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 with her husband in Scotland.