A documentary produced by five Film and TV students has been selected to appear at the Liverpool Irish Festival later this month.
Connor Richmond, Matthew Harrison, Sophie Malone, Alex Walsh and Rebecca Seddon, who all study Film and Television Production at Edge Hill University, created Kitty: The Saint of the Slums, a documentary on historical figure Kitty Wilkinson as part of their university coursework.
Kitty Wilkinson was an Irish wife of a labourer who moved to Liverpool in 1832 and saved many lives during the cholera epidemic by allowing neighbours to wash their infected sheets and linens in her house, effectively establishing the UK’s first washhouse. As Kitty’s house had the only working boiler in a destitute area of Liverpool, and owing to her efforts to promote the importance of cleanliness in combating disease, her actions undoubtedly saved countless lives.
With the support of the Rathbone family Kitty’s efforts eventually led to the opening of the country’s first public washhouse in Liverpool in 1842, revolutionising and transforming UK healthcare.
Connor Richmond, who co-directed the short documentary said:
“I think what people need to remember is that, this was not a lady with loads of money, this was not a lady with great power behind her. This is an ordinary lady, a poor helper of the poor.”
Watch the full documentary, Kitty: Saint of the Slums here
The team of students originally created the documentary as part of their second year coursework, but became heavily invested in the story and continued to develop it over the summer months, even travelling to Derry~Londonderry to gather footage.
The students managed to secure interviews with Kitty’s great, great, great niece Rev. Elizabeth Storey, the author of The Life of Kitty Wilkinson Michael Kelly, and Liverpool-Irish Historian Greg Quiery, as part of the documentary. Irish singer-songwriter David Dunlop also provided an original soundtrack which even contains some of Connor’s own vocals.
The documentary has attracted considerable attention, including an interview on BBC Radio Merseyside, and has been invited to officially premiere as part of the Liverpool-Irish Festival on Saturday 25th October at 3pm. The screening will be held in the Museum of Liverpool and will include a Q&A with the students as well as guest speakers, history talks, and a book signing from Michael Kelly.
Connor, Matthew, Sophie, Alex and Rebecca remain committed to telling Kitty’s story, and are planning to approach other film festivals as well as local schools in Liverpool and Ireland to spread the story further.
“We really want to keep spreading Kitty’s story. Her story has such significance to modern day culture – people need to remember that we are all living amongst other people’s lives, and that anyone can make a difference.”
The Liverpool Irish Festival takes place from 23rd October until 2nd November in venues throughout LIverpool. Kitty: The Saint of the Slums will be shown as part of the Festival on Saturday 25th October at 3pm in the Museum of Liverpool.