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Things to do in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire

Bridge Inn Eastwood
Bridge Inn © Alan Murray-Rust [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Crouched atop of a windy hill straddling the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire border, Eastwood is a vibrant ex-mining town northwest of Nottingham.

Eastwood High street
High Street © By Victuallers (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is a small but sturdy town with a good selection of retail outlets. There are no pretensions about Eastwood, what you see is what you get! Having said this, Eastwood has attained fame through its most famous son, the author David Herbert Lawrence.

D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence known by his family as Bert has achieved a level of worldwide fame that far exceeds his humble beginnings, being born out of simple mining stock.

Sign By The Door of Sun Inn
Sign By The Door of The Sun Inn © Patrick A Griffin [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

At first the town elders and even some of his straight-laced neighbours took umbrage to the outspoken and sexual nature of his writing.

He was shunned and considered an oddity amongst the hard working mining community with his educated and perhaps high-falutin' ways.

As he travelled abroad and visited other hilly towns and districts such as Italy's "Flowery Tuscany" his sharp-nosed comparison with the meagre terraced houses of Eastwood did little to endear him to his fellows.

Now he is accepted by his hometown and by the literary fraternity for the superb originality of his novels, his short stories and his descriptive prose, alongside great classic authors like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.

Eastwood Church
Eastwood Church © By Victuallers (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In effect, long after his death on foreign soil in 1930 his spirit has finally come home. His mother, father and brother are buried in Eastwood Cemetery.

A wide blue marker trail along the pavement guides foreign visitors along the "Lawrence Trail" which goes to the Lawrence museum and other places he lived in and visited including Durban House.

The Blue Line to follow the Lawrence Trail
The DH Lawrence Trail © Trevor Rickard [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The trail is the first of its kind in England and is said to be a likeness to the "Red Freedom Trail" of Boston America.

Eastwood Fire Station
Fire Station © Kevin Hale [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Townsfolk may be stopped, handed cameras and asked to take photographs of groups of smiling tourists at the many local places of interest, often unchanged, from Lawrence's novels. (A small price to pay for the extra revenue this talented author has brought to the region.)

Coal Mining Past

Although the coalmines have long since gone, some of the long established collier families remain, as do several streets of the old back-to-back terrace houses.

Even today some locals can be heard to speak the old dialect. For instance Eastwood may be pronounced as Astewood. "I'll tell thee summat, it's Astewood, serry tha knows" (serry meaning sire or sir)

The Sun Inn Eastwood
The Sun Inn © Tina Cordon at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5), GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

The main road to Nottingham runs right through the town centre and although the population has expanded towards the twenty thousand mark with the addition of modern housing estates, the town has long since lost the "status-rails" which in the early 1900's carried elegant tramcars along the fifteen-mile route from Nottingham to Ripley.

Being a progressive mining town a meeting was held at The Sun Inn Eastwood (still standing) where the momentous decision was taken to found the Midland Counties Railway in 1832 intending to compete with the canals for the lucrative coal-carrying contracts.

Just on the outskirts of the town centre a stone obelisk proudly commemorates the men of Eastwood who fell in both World Wars. This is attended annually by local veterans and youth organisations.

Colliers Wood Eastwood
Colliers Wood © Stephen McKay [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Church of St. Mary on Church Street Eastwood, built in 1838 was badly damaged by fire in the early 1960's and only the tower now remains attached to a modern addition.

All in all, Eastwood is a most pleasant urban town to visit or to reside in, with all the amenities of modern living to hand for young and old alike, and especially as a gateway to the countryside delights of the peak district.

Description by David M. Page

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