New book explores Erewash history and DH Lawrence links

Author Philip Dalling gives a fascinating account of the Erewash valley in his new book, out on October 1.
Author Philip Dalling gives a fascinating account of the Erewash valley in his new book, out on October 1.

A book exploring the history and character of the Erewash valley and its influence on famed author D. H. Lawrence will be released next month.

Written by former local news reporter Philip Dalling, ‘The Erewash Valley: The Landscape of D. H. Lawrence’ has proved a labour of love.

More than 160 pages and 250 photographs it poses the question of how the valley should be defined.

Philip said: “It is at one and the same time a literary landscape, a vital artery of communication, a cradle of the Industrial Revolution, and now a beacon of hope for environmentalists.

“The Erewash valley is a classic example of how swiftly the face of Britain has changed in the post-industrial age.”

Detailing the area’s geography and social history, the book examines its former status as an industrial powerhouse, with wealth based on coal, iron, heavy engineering, hosiery and lace and the network of canals and railways which linked mines, furnaces, foundries and mills.

The industrial power of the valley also depended on the work of its men, women and, in the early days, children.

The author has spoken to mine workers, twisthands, footplatemen and others in a search for the human stories behind the industrial scene.

The literary scene is seen not just through the genius of D. H. Lawrence, but also from the viewpoint of writers such as Walter Brierley, an unemployed miner from Waingroves who wrote the 1930s best seller Means Test Man.

Philip also examines the changing face of politics in the valley, the area’s notable sporting achievements, and the role played in times of war.

He said: “One of the greatest present-day achievements has been the transformation from a place of industrial squalor to acclaimed nature reserves.”

Published by Coppice Books, it will cost £17.99, available from October 1.