Arts Council ‘lifeline’ may save Eastwood’s DH Lawrence centre from closure

Valarie McHale at DH Lawrence Heritage Centre to turn on purple lights around the building to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer, she is a sufferer. Pictured here is the building after the light switch on.

Valarie McHale at DH Lawrence Heritage Centre to turn on purple lights around the building to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer, she is a sufferer. Pictured here is the building after the light switch on.

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Eastwood’s DH Lawrence Heritage Centre could be thrown a lifeline after it emerged that cash is being invested to look into creating a sustainable future for the venue.

The centre is set to be closed down by Broxtowe Borough Council at the end of March and Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero has been spearheading a high-profile campaign to save the community asset.

Now Arts Council England has announced that it is investing £20,000 to pay for a feasibility study that will explore possible options for the future of the centre.

Peter Knott, area director at Arts Council England, said: “I am pleased the Arts Council can support and invest £20,000 towards a feasibility study ‘Creative Options for Eastwood’ to find a new, exciting and possibly different future for the DH Lawrence Centre.

“This should reflect the needs and aspirations of the people who live and work in Broxtowe, as well as the fascinating literary and industrial heritage of the surrounding area, of which Durban House played an important role.”

A number of stars from the world of film, television and stage have publicly backed the campaign to save the centre, including Rosamund Pike, Glenda Jackson, Robert Lindsay and Nottinghamshire screenwriter William Ivory.

Representatives from the Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nottingham Writers’ Studio, the team behind Nottingham’s UNESCO City of Literature bid, the DH Lawrence Society, Nottingham University and a local mining historian, have all been working with Gloria to fight the council’s plans to shut the heritage centre.

Gloria said: ““I am really pleased that the Arts Council has made £20,000 available to look into options for the future of the D H Lawrence Centre.

“It is an important part of our community and heritage. I have always thought it could be bigger and better and that’s what this money will be used for - looking into how it can be made bigger and better so that more people will use it and benefit from it.”

The centre which is based in Durban House, was built in 1896 for The Barber Walker mining company and was once the wages offices for Brinsley Colliery, where DH Lawrence would go as a boy to collect his father’s pay packet. It is also a venue for the popular month-long annual Lawrence festival.

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