Bert's Town - Part 06 - Back On The Trails
w/e 26 July 2009
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
D H Lawrence's Eastwood

Nottingham RoadAfter our visit to the D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum in Part 05, we now return from Victoria Street to Nottingham Road (left) and follow the Blue Line and Literary Trails again. The Blue Line Trail runs along the northern side of Nottingham Road but the plaques on the Literary Trail are on both sides so to see them all involves passing back and forth across the busy road. Pedestrian crossings at regular intervals make this a relatively easy task but the constant flow of traffic made photography a little more difficult and at times it was virtually impossible to get a clear view across the road of a relevant feature.


At the next road junction a short stub of the blue line leads into Albert Street as far as the blue board on the wall of this rather uninspiring building. A view from a similar position is available at the Picture The Past site (click here) shows a much grander structure that remained here until demolition in 1971. That building was the Congregational Chapel that the Lawrence family often attended. Behind the chapel was the British School where Bert often went to 'penny readings' and literary society meetings. Later between 1902 and 1905 he spent 'three years savage teaching of collier lads.'
Albert Street
In the footpath below the board is the eighth literary plaque and this one has a quotation from 'The Christening': "The wide valley opened out from her, with the far woods withdrawing into twilight, and away in the centre the great pit streaming its white smoke and chuffing as the men were being turned up."

As can be seen from the small image on the right, there is still a view across the valley but the pit has now disappeared.

Like the pit the chapel and school have also gone but there are several pictures of them at Picture The Past:
Click to see the chapel circa 1920, in 1958, in 1966, the school in 1958 and a rear view from 1965.

I have to admit that compared to the previous occupant of the site, the architecture of the Iceland building leaves me, excuse the pun, pretty cold but its frontage does contain the ninth literary plaque and a quotation from Bert's 'Hymns in a Man's Life': "I liked our chapel, which was tall and full of light, and yet still; and colourwashed pale green and blue, with a bit of a lotus pattern. And over the organ-loft, '0 worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness', in big letters."
Alexandra Street

Fruit & Veg ShopEastwood has done much to restore many parts of the town in the style of D. H. Lawrence's time but many late twentieth century buildings in the main shopping area pay little or no homage to the author. The next plaque is on the south side of Nottingham Road at its junction with Alexandra Street and is in the footpath of another building of little architectural merit. The quotation from Bert's 'Nottingham and the Mining Country' reads: "Now Eastwood occupies a lovely position on a hilltop, with the steep slope towards Derbyshire and the long slope towards Nottingham."
The Hollies

That "lovely position" is still the same but the centre of the town has undergone some substantial redevelopment. Its former appearance is recalled in the quotation on the eleventh plaque seen here in the footpath back on the north side and outside 'The Hollies' - another functional rather than aesthetically pleasing development. It again comes from 'Nottingham and the Mining Country' and reads: "The string of coal-mines of B. W. & Co had been opened some sixty years before I was born and Eastwood had come into being as a consequence. It must have been a tiny village at the beginning of the nineteenth century, a small place of cottages..." .
Nottingham Road

To the right of 'The Hollies' as seen in the previous image is Wood Street and it is here that the Blue Line Trail splits. Our route now is to follow the blue line down Wood Street and we shall not see the remaining three literary plaques until we return to this point along Nottingham Road from the opposite direction. No doubt the traffic will still be as heavy but from here on we shall be walking in a much quieter area.
Wood Street

Wood StreetIn Bert's time Wood Street was less than a hundred yards long and the extent of it can be seen in this small image. A post Second World War development (above) saw many new houses built on the fields and allotment gardens that separated Eastwood from the small settlements of The Breach and Lower Beauvale. Both are now incorporated into the town of Eastwood but would certainly have been part of Bert's "country of my heart." The blue line that is clearly visible in this image continues down Wood Street and zig-zags via a footpath to reach the area formerly called The Breach and it is there that we will resume the walk in Part 07.

Back to Part 05
 Bert's Town Index
Forward to Part 07

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