Durban House Heritage Centre opens
Over 150 guests attended the official
opening of the new £1m Durban
House Heritage Centre Exhibition by Notts writer and ex-Coronation
Street star Billy Ivory. Among those present were the Mayor of
Eastwood Councillor Ellie Lodziak, Broxtowe's Mayor Councillor
Maureen Tewson, the Chairman of Greasley Parish Council Councillor
Ken Marsland as well as Leaders of Nottinghamshire
County Council, Broxtowe
Borough Council, local MPs and MEPs.
interactive exhibition, which cost more than £1m, has been
funded by European and Government money, along with cash from
Borough Council and other partners, including town
councils, English partnerships and IKEA. It forms part of the
Eastwood Phoenix Project, which, as the name suggests, aims to
regenerate the town, helping it 'rise
from the ashes' like the
mythical bird of the same name.
'The D H Lawrence Heritage Experience'
are hoping to attract Lawrence fans world-wide to the new exhibition,
as well as educational school parties, academics and of course
local residents. And they estimate that more than 20,000 visitors
a year will view the exhibition, forming part of the Blue Line
Trail, a tour around places in the town linked to Lawrence's life
opened by the former Conservative Chancellor Ken Clarke. The new
exhibition also complements the nearby D H Lawrence Birthplace
Museum on Victoria Street (pictured below).
Visitors to the Durban
House Exhibition can see a Victorian street scene, crawl through
a narrow mine working, experience the fun of a Victorian Fair
and sit in a schoolroom which Lawrence would have recognised as
a boy. And the first thing they will encounter at the entrance
to the exhibition is a model of a young boy waiting to pick up
his father's wages - just as Lawrence did as a boy from the former
caol company's offices when it belonged to mine-owners Barber,
Walker & Co.
Broxtowe's Tourism and Heritage Officer
Joan Wildgust said all the items featured were unique and had
never been exhibited before. She said: "We
are trying to bring a new interpretation to Lawrence`s work in
order to make it more accessible to everyone. The exhibition begins
with a history of Eastwood, which includes a copy of the Domesday
Book's entry about Eastwood. Next there is a kitchen scene at
nearby Haggs Farm showing a life-size model of Lawrence with his
girlfriend, soulmate and mentor Jessie Chambers who is Miriam
in the semi-autobiographical Sons and Lovers."
A copy of the pages of Lady Chatterley`s
Lover used in the notorious 1960 trial which eventually established
the literary worth of the novel is another of the exhibition`s
notable features. Said Joan: "After
the schoolroom the exhibition then moves to the future - what
Lawrence would have experienced had he shared the fate of his
A room full of mining memorabilia includes
the 'Coal Crawl',
a mock-up of a 3ft 2in high Brinsley Colliery tunnel, which visitors
can try out for size. Also featured is a Purdy Lamp, invented
by Eastwood man William Purdy in the 1870s, who was unfortunately
beaten to fame and fortune by the Davey Lamp because he couldn't
afford the copyright fees. A mine accident book containing some
gruesome entries reads; 'pinned
beneath cattle and relighter' and
'kicked by a horse'.
Other local industries also feature strongly
in the exhibition, including framework knitting, pottery, agriculture
and the canals.
A video showing the history of the town's
trams - or the 'Ripley Rattlers'
as they were known - takes the visitors
on the last section of the exhibition
'The Wakes', which again features
strongly at the beginning of Lawrence's Sons and Lovers. Here
younger visitors to the exhibition can throw balls through holes
in an original fairground target board, then enjoy pulling faces
into a distorted mirror, next to which is a Victorian merry-go-round
The exhibition also includes a 'dressing-up
box' of Victorian costumes
for the youngsters to try on and replicas of Lawrence's postcards
sent from all over the world.
Borough Council Leader Councillor Milan Radulovic: "The
most important aspect of this exhibition is that we are trying
to teach local people about their heritage which will hopefully
give them a greater sense of pride in their community."
Information from Eastwood &
Kimberley Advertiser and Greasley, Awsworth, Newthorpe, and Watnall
Available every Friday priced 18p.
Telephone: 01773 713563 / 01773 760444