On the 26th March, Richard & Eleanor Blair and Liz and I went to see the first screening of this film by Gary Wilkinson on Eileen O’Shaughnessy, Orwell’s first wife. Gary Wilkinson is a self funded film maker who makes really excellent films about the people and history of his local area of South Shields, where Eileen was born.
The film gave a real insight to Eileen’s life, both before and after meeting and marrying Eric Blair. He was able to show us the home she was born in as well as Greystones, the Hunton family home from where she went to hospital where she died so young, during an apparently routine operation. The relatively short film of about 20 minutes was sensitive and accurate. Copyright costs for the photos used preclude it being broadcast, which is a shame, because it deserves a wider audience. Eileen made a huge contribution to helping Eric become the George Orwell whose work we all admire. As well as interviewing Richard for the film, he also interviewed Sylvia Topp, an Orwell Society member, who is writing a biography of Eileen.
Would any members who would be interested in my organising a visit to the places in the film, with Gary Wilkinson as our guide, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org