Bert's Town - Part 01 - The Outlying Areas
w/e 22 February 2009
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
D H Lawrence's Eastwood

Vine Cottage

The main road between Eastwood and Brinsley is Mansfield Road and a small car park at the Brinsley end allows access to the former Brinsley Colliery where only the headstocks now remain as a monument. The footpath from the car park to the headstocks passes this small derelict cottage that even the flowering snowdrops cannot disguise the fact that it is desperately in need of some tender loving care. This is Vine Cottage and it was here that Lawrence's Aunt Polly lived. Polly's husband was killed in a mining accident but she lives on as the main character in a short story by the author called "Odour of Chrysanthemums".
Quarry Cottage

A little closer to Eastwood and still on Mansfield Road is another small cottage but this has been much better looked after and is still occupied today. This is Quarry Cottage and it was here that Arthur John Lawrence, Bert's father, was born on 18th June 1846. Arthur worked at Brinsley Colliery and became known as a heavy drinker. Arthur's marriage to Lydia Beardsall was not a happy one and Bert was later to write in a letter in 1910 to poet Rachel Annand Taylor "I was born hating my father: as early as ever I can remember, I shivered with horror when he touched me. He was very bad before I was born." Hardly a testament to a happy family life.
Eastwood Hall

Still on Mansfield Road and near a small area known as Nether Green is the entrance to Eastwood Hall which Bert was to use as a location in "Sons and Lovers". The Hall itself was built in 1810 and was the home of the Walker family, a well-known name in the mining industry. After the nationalisation of the coal industry it was used as offices for the National Coal Board but now as can be seen by the plaque on the wall it continues to flourish as a conference and functions centre. Durban House is nearby on the opposite side of Mansfield Road but we'll now head of to the northeast of the town to an area known as Beauvale.
Beauvale School

Engraved StoneworkOn the corner of Beauvale and Mill Road is the Greasley Beauvale Primary School but the engraved stonework above the door on the corner is inscribed "Greasley Board Schools Erected 1878" (left). It was here that D H Lawrence received his education between 1893 and 1898. He had previously attended the Infants School at the age of four for a short time but did not return here until he was seven years old. His mother Lydia was a former schoolteacher, Bert Beauvale Schoolwas a sickly child and contrary to the relationship with his father, he formed a deep emotional bond with his mother who is credited with his early literary influences. Although he disliked school and achieved only average results he was the first pupil from here to gain a scholarship to Nottingham High School. The family were already living in poverty and his parent's marriage was full of friction but at the age of just thirteen Lawrence caught the seven o'clock train to Nottingham each morning to take up the scholarship and go to the High School for the next two years.

Beauvale continues past the school in the direction of Moorgreen and it is in that direction we must head for the next location.
Old Ram Inn

BeauvaleOnly about a hundred yards from the school (right) towards Moorgreen on the left hand side of the road is the Ram Inn and opposite is this white cottage (above) which was the original Ram Inn in Lawrence's days. He incorporated the inn is his story titled "The White Peacock". Continuing past the inn the road eventually reaches a T-junction where a left turn would take us to Moorgreen Reservoir and a right turn to Greasley Church, two more features that Lawrence worked into his stories in later life. (See Index Page for relevant links).
Family Grave

Our final port of call though in this introduction to Bert's Eastwood is in the south of the town at Eastwood Cemetery. The Lawrence Family Grave is well marked and the inscription on the headstone includes three names: Our dear son William Ernest Lawrence 1878 -1901; Lydia 1852 - 1910 and Arthur, died 1924. The foot of the headstone has an addition inscription which reads as follows:
"Also David Herbert Lawrence, Beloved Son of the Above, Novelist, Poet & Painter,
Born Sep. 11th 1885, Died at Vence, Mar. 2nd 1930. Unconquered."
This however is not to be taken to mean that he is buried here for his wife Frieda (d. 1956) moved from Vence in France to the Kiowa Ranch in New Mexico where she had a small memorial chapel. Lawrence had been buried in the old Vence cemetery in 1930 but his remains were exhumed in March 1935 and cremated at Marseille on March 13. The ashes were passed to Captain Angelo Ravagli, an Italian infantry officer with whom Frieda had started an affair in 1925 and he took them to New Mexico where they reside in the memorial chapel.

 Bert's Town Index
Forward to Part 02

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