As the crow flies Eastwood is only a couple of miles
from Ilkeston and it's not a great deal further by road. It lies
to the north east just across the Erewash Valley in Nottinghamshire
and one of its main claims to fame is that it was the birthplace
of author, poet and painter David Herbert Lawrence. "Bert"
was born on September 11th in 1885, the fourth of five children
and his formative years were spent in and around the town in what he came to call "The
Country of My Heart". He had a somewhat troubled lifetime
some of which we'll touch on in this series and even thirty years
after his death, the events leading to the publication of one
of his controversial novels, Lady Chatterley's Lover, made front
page news in 1960 when it was the subject of an obscenity trial,
having been banned in both UK and the US as pornographic and
obscene. But whatever your opinion of his novels, it is now a
fact that they are now among the most widely taught English works
(alongside Shakespeare's) right around the world.
What the beautiful
Lake District was to the likes of Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter
and Stratford Upon Avon to Shakespeare, Eastwood was to Lawrence
and his upbringing in the poverty and deprivation of this mining
community set in the surrounding agricultural countryside had
a profound impact on him as evidenced in his later writings.
Lawrence eventually left Eastwood to work and live in other parts
of the UK and also in other countries and whilst I don't intend
to write a full biography - there are several on the internet
already (such as here, here and here plus many other related sites) - it
is inevitable as we visit the town and surrounding area that
certain details of his life story will be mentioned.
I intend to cover all that Eastwood has to offer as the intention
of this series is to look at locations that have a connection
to the author and his works. His birthplace which we will see
in a later part has been restored and is now a museum. Together
with the Durban House Heritage Centre and a number of information
boards at various locations, these have helped put Eastwood on
the tourist map. At the time of writing the Heritage Centre has
an uncertain future due to a proposed reduction in the funding
it receives from Broxtowe Borough Council and it was the publicity
about this that prompted me to start the series in February 2009.
Two overlapping trails, the Blue Line and the Heritage, both
start at Durban House and we'll be looking at these later but
first we'll examine some of the other locations a little further
away from the town centre that have an association with Bert
and his family. There are a number of other associated locations
in the surrounding area that I have already photographed for
Ilkeston Cam and in order to prevent a duplication of effort
I have included links to the relevant pages below.