Bert's Town - An Introduction

D H Lawrence's Eastwood

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 Information Boardthe 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.

EastwoodWhat 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.

Durban HouseNeither do 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.
Some of locations that have an association with D H Lawrence or his writings may be seen on these other Ilkeston Cam pages. Each link will open a new window.
Brinsley Colliery - This is where Bert's father worked and is now a picnic area and conservation site. The headstocks were returned and re-erected here following the closure of British Coal's mining museum at Lound Hall.

Dixies Arms
Bagthorpe - The Dixies Arms pub is thought to be one of the places where his father quenched his thirst.

Haggs Farm
Haggs Farm - This is private property and is not accessible to the public but the access to it can be seen on this page. Lawrence featured the farm in "Sons and Lovers" renaming it Willey Farm. The same page also features Felley Mill Farm and pond that was called "Strelley Mill" in "The White Peacock".
Nottingham Canal
The Nottingham Canal - In "The Rainbow" the canal was central to his story in which it burst its banks and drowned Tom Brangwen.
Beauvale Priory - Used in "The White Peacock" but only referred to as The Abbey, Beauvale Priory stands in the agricultural area between Moorgreen and Felley. Today the remains of the Priory are part of a farm and are not accessible to the general public.
Moorgreen Reservoir
Moorgreen Reservoir - This was the scene of another drowning tragedy in his novel "Women In Love".

Greasley Church
Greasley Church - D H Lawrence was not actually mentioned back in 2002 when I uploaded three pages from Greasley but they show part of his "Country of My Heart" and he actually used the church as a setting in two of his stories. It was Greymede Church in "The White Peacock" and Minton Church in "Sons and Lovers".
Cossall - This is the village that Lawrence used in "The Rainbow" calling it Cossethay and Church Cottage was the home of Louie Burrows to whom he was engaged for a time, the character of Ursula Brangwen being based on Miss Burrows.

So to begin the series you will find another half a dozen locations in the outlying areas of the town beginning in the north at Brinsley.

Bert's Town Index - D. H. Lawrence's Eastwood

Click the underlined text to view each part.
22 February 2009
22 February 2009
22 March 2009
26 April 2009
24 May 2009
28 June 2009
26 July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
Part 01
Part 02
Part 03
Part 04
Part 05
Part 06
Part 07
Part 08
Bert's Town
The Outlying Areas
Beginning The Trails
A Choice Of Routes
The Birthplace Museum
Back On The Trails
Moving On
Backtracking plus Supplementary Images

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