Hilda Alice Ogden was a character in Coronation Street from Ep 371 - 8 Jul 1964 to Ep 2790 - 25 Dec 1987, followed by a short episode for an ITV Telethon in 1990 where she made a brief return to Coronation Street. She was the long suffering wife of Stan Ogden. Hilda was a very strict lady with her more level headed husband Stan. Hilda was a busybody but was one of the most law abiding Coronation Street residents. Hilda was played by actress Jean Alexander.
Hilda Alice Crabtree was born on the 2nd February 1924 in Silk Street, Weatherfield. She was the youngest child of Arnold Crabtree and Florence Crabtree. As a young girl, she hung around with Ronnie Pickles. In November 1943, Hilda was dating a soldier called Harry Battersby. During a blackout in November 1943, 19 year old Hilda was running down a street and fell over a drunk soldier who was laying down on the pavement down the street. That soldier was Stanley Isaiah Ogden. They were married 7 days later. Hilda finished with Battersby before marrying Stan. Stan had the Clarke Gable look to him and this was one of the reasons Hilda was attracted to him. Stan had to then return to army service.
In June 1964 Hilda Ogden and her family moved into No 13 Coronation Street when Stan bought the house. Hilda was 40 at the time. Hilda soon became known as the local gossip, her curlers were her antennae. In January 1966, Stan almost beat her up when she filled a lottery ticket out wrong and was not to be awarded her £100'000. Hilda was a hard worker while Stan was quite lazy. In February 1973, Stan threw a 50th birthday party for her, but she said she was 49 and showed her birth certificate to prove this. In October 1976, Stan "borrowed" Hilda's Christmas Club fund. She called him a thief and useless so he absconded. She felt remorse, and also felt having Eddie Yeats around was the reason why her and Stan were arguing more.
Stan was quite active until 1979 when he started to grow weaker and more tired, due to his smoking and drinking lifestyle, plus being overweight. Hilda and Stan took friend Eddie Yeats in as a lodger. Eddie soon became the sole breadwinner as Stan slowed down. Stan was overweight and had back problems. In early 1983, he was almost infirm and could not climb ladders anymore so Eddie bought his window cleaning round, becoming Stan's boss. Stan cleaned downstairs while Eddie did upstairs windows. Hilda remained as the Rovers Return cleaner and cleaning for Mike Baldwin to earn money for the family. In May 1983, Hilda's brother Archie died and Hilda eventually claimed his fish and chip shop but sold it.
In November 1983, Stan and Hilda had a 40th wedding anniversary and planned a holiday so had to obtain his birth certificate. He found he was 64 and not 61 so was just months off getting his pension. Eddie married and left the Ogden's in December 1983, making Stan the sole breadwinner again. Stan was more alert for a while and seemed to be better until his health took a turn for the worse in mid 1984. He officially retired in May that year. Hilda took in Terry Duckworth as her lodger for a short while. in August 1984, Hilda suggested Fred Gee buys Stan's old window cleaning round for £250 as no one has taken it over. Fred rejected the idea.
In November of that year, Hilda collapsed under the strain of looking after Stan. This even affected her work at the Rovers and Billy Walker threatened to fire her but she broke down in front of him and he said she should rest and not return to work until she is feeling better again. Billy got Percy Sugden and Deirdre Barlow to look after Hilda. Deirdre called for the doctor. Dr. Meakin arrived and said that Stan should go into hospital for a few days for tests. Hilda was worried he would not come out of the hospital alive. Stan was taken to hospital. He was starting to get better but died a few days later. Hilda got the call one night and was devastated. Stan's belongings were returned to Hilda and as she opened up his glasses case she wept.
By January 1985, Hilda was starting to adapt to life without Stan and took in lodger Henry Wakefield and then young Kevin Webster. Kevin was a younger version of Stan to her. Kevin begun dating Sally Seddon, whose family Hilda knew of and thought were rough. Hilda tried to talk Kevin out of dating her, and he stormed out that night. Hilda spent the whole night awake worried about her young lodger. Kevin came home and soon made up with Kevin and later allowed Sally to move in during 1986, and they married that October. In November 1987, Hilda and her friend Joan Lowther were attacked at her house and Hilda was hospitalised. Eddie Yeats visited her and said hello to Sally and Kevin. Dr. Lowther then offered for Hilda to be his housekeeper at his posh Derbyshire house after Joan died from her injuries. Hilda accepted and for the first time in her life she could live in the quiet countryside away from the grim rainy streets of Weatherfield. She was given a huge send off in The Rovers Return on Christmas Day 1987. She quietly left Coronation Street early the following morning.
This was not the last that the Coronation Street residents saw of Hilda. Hilda was to return briefly to Weatherfield in 1990.
Life after leaving Coronation Street (1987-1998)
Hilda settled into life living in rural Derbyshire as the housekeeper to Dr. Lowther. No more living in an inner city back street. Instead she was living in a rural house overlooking fields and hills. In January 1988, Kevin Webster had trouble with the mortgage and wanted to contact Hilda to back out but they managed to overcome their problem.
Hilda did make a brief return to Weatherfield in 1990 and said hello to Bet and Betty and visited Stan's grave. Around this time Dr. Lowther had just recently proposed to Hilda, but she decided not to accept the proposal as she wanted to remain an Ogden.
In 1998, Dr. Lowther died and Hilda was left his house by him in his will. Betty Williams came to visit her and they reminisced about the old days on the street, and Betty also informed a keen Hilda on the recent goings on since her departure.
Since her departure, Hilda has been referenced to many times in the show. In August 1992, Bet showed Raquel Wolstenhulme a photo of Stan and Hilda.
When Jack Duckworth chose to move away from the street in September 2009, having been there three decades, he mentioned to his surrogate son Tyrone Dobbs how Hilda and Vera argued in the street when the Duckworths first moved there back in 1983.
Sally spoke of Hilda in 2016 to Yasmeen Nazir. When Yasmeen heard about Hilda, she mentioned she sounded quite the character.
December 2017 marked 30 years since Hilda left the street, at which point she would be 93 (if still alive).
As of 2nd February 2019, if still alive, Hilda will turn 95 that day.
- In 1986, actress Jean Alexander was considering quitting the show. By the summer of 1987, Jean had decided to quit Corrie after 23 years playing Hilda. Viewers campaigned against this until they realised that she had not been axed by the producers, and had decided to leave of her own accord.
- Jean Alexander quit the role in 1987 but she did reprise her role as Hilda in a short episode in 1990, as part of an ITV telethon. She also reprised the role as Hilda for a straight to video special called The Women Of Coronation Street where her friend Betty Williams visited her. This was in 1998, Dr Lowther had died and Hilda had been left his house. Betty and Hilda reminisced about old times and Betty left that evening.
- Alexander was offered to return to the main show several times, with the recent offer before her death being for the 50th Anniversary in 2010, however she turned each one down. Alexander became quite critical of the later show due to its overuse of affairs and bleak storylines, feeling that the show lost its warmth. She did admit to sometimes watching the show on and off in order to see how her old cast mates are getting on.
- Following her death in 2016, there was some reports claiming Hilda's death would be addressed in the programme. Nothing else was discussed about this happening, likely meaning it was just a false rumour or was just an idea that never came to fruition. The exact fate of other iconic characters such as Ena Sharples, Annie Walker and Minnie Caldwell were never explicitly stated either, and decades after they were last seen, it was hinted that they had died.
- In February 1973, Stan Ogden thought Hilda was 50 that month, and born in February 1923. He bought her a 50th birthday card. But Hilda showed him her birth certificate to prove she is only 49. Born February 1924. Yet Jean Alexander was almost 3 years younger than Hilda.
List of addresses
Appearances: 8 July 1964–25 December 1987
Full Name: Hilda Alice Ogden (Nee Crabtree)
Spouses: Stan Ogden (1943-1984)
Cousins: Isabel, Agnes Swailes