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Burnley mill weaves its way into Oscar-tipped film The King’s Speech
A NINETEENTH Century Burnley weaving mill is set to become a star of the silver screen after being featured in a movie being tipped for an Oscar.
Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, the world’s last surviving steam-powered weaving mill, was used as the location for the mill scenes in The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce and Geoffrey Rush.
Members of the cast and crew, including director Tom Hooper and leading man Firth, descended on the Harle Syke mill for a day of filming in December 2009.
When the film, which has been nominated for seven Golden Globe awards, is released in cinemas tomorrow the mill will be seen by audiences across the world.
The film tells the story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.
The scene shot at Queen Street shows an episode from the king’s younger days, in which his weakness in public speaking became apparent when he tried to deliver a speech to northern mill workers.
Queen Street’s weaving technician Margaret Nowak is featured in the film as an extra.
She said: “It was fascinating to see the mill transformed into a film set and we had a lot of fun being filmed alongside so many famous faces.
“Colin Firth wrote in our visitor book that Queen Street Mill was ‘a thing of beauty’ – and we couldn't agree more.
“It's fantastic that the mill will be seen by film audiences far and wide, and we're sure it will entice many of them to come and experience this wonderful piece of living history for themselves.”
Queen Street Mill Textile Museum is funded by Lancashire County Council.
Georgina Gates, assistant keeper, said: "Queen Street Mill is no stranger to national television, having previously been a location for ‘Life on Mars’ and Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘North and South’, as well as numerous documentaries and daytime favourites such as 'Flog It'.
“However, the glamour of appearing on the silver screen in the year’s most acclaimed motion picture is bound to confirm the mill’s star quality."
Conrad Varley, 74, a part-time weaving supervisor at the mill, will also appear as an extra in the movie.
He said: “Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter were both very nice, as everyone else was.
"They were very pleasant, although they were occupied most of the time, coming in and out of the weaving shed.”
The film has been nominated for seven Golden Globe awards including Best Actor (Colin Firth), and Best Picture of the Year (Drama).