Durban House Heritage

Durban House Heritage

DH Lawrence

David Herbert Lawrence, author, poet, playwright and painter, was born in the coalmining town of Eastwood on 11th September 1885 and was commonly known as Bert. His father, Arthur, was a coalmining contractor (a butty) for the Barber and Walker Company and his mother, Lydia, nee Beardsall, was the daughter of George Beardsall, a former Engineer on the railways and in the shipyards. DH Lawrence was the fourth of five children, 3 boys and 2 girls, none of the boys followed their father into the coalmining industry.

The Lawrence family lived at four different abodes in Eastwood, 8a Victoria Street, Eastwood (1885 – 1887), The Breach House (1887 – 1891), Walker Street (1891 – 1902) and finally Lynncroft, now No.97.  The Breach House was the setting for the novel Sons and Lovers, published in 1913, and was known as the Bottoms in the novel. 8a Victoria Street is now the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum, run by Broxtowe Borough Council. It initially opened as a museum to the memory of DH Lawrence in 1976.

DH Lawrence was educated at Beauvale School, a Greasley Board School and his first employment was at Haywoods Surgical Appliances for a short period of time. He then became a pupil-teacher and following him gaining a scholarship, he qualified as a teacher in 1908.  His first teaching post was the Davidson Road Boys School in Croydon in 1908.

Jessie Chambers, the character Miriam Leivers in Sons and Lovers, was an early influence on his life and work. Following a brief engagement to Louise Burrows, he eventually ran off with Frieda Weekly nee von Richtofen, wife of Professor Weekly, one of Lawrence’s mentors at the University of Nottingham.

They then travelled the world, living a various places, but remaining chiefly in France, Germany, Italy and England.  He died in France, aged 44, on 2nd March 1930, from the effects of TB which had plagued him for a number of years. In 1960, thirty-years following his death, Lawrence’s work was at the centre of media attention in Britain following the Penguin book trail of Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  Following the collapse of the prosecution’s case, Penguin books sold 3.5 million copies of the novel in six months.

Booking the Tour

8a Victoria Street, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, NG16 3AW
T: 0115 917 3824
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10am-4pm
Booking advised
Discounted entry for Beauty Lounge customers when you quote this code: DHLBEAZ18

This authentically recreated miner’s cottage is the birthplace of world renowned Nottinghamshire author D.H. Lawrence.  Visitors can experience the humble beginnings of the controversial writer who scandalised the literary establishment.  Entry is through timed admission which includes a guided tour explaining the fascinating early life of Lawrence.

In each room there is meticulous attention to the style of the period, so that it really does transport the visitor back in time. From the parlour to the attic, everything appears just as it would have been in a Victorian household.  A great experience for all, whether you are a Lawrence fan or not.  This charming, award-winning museum also includes an exhibition featuring pieces such as his original water colour paintings and his headstone!

The museum is also your starting point to explore the beautiful surrounding countryside, which inspired so much of Lawrence’s work, and the Blue Line Trail; an urban walk taking you by other points of interest relating to Lawrence.

[Services: Refreshments/Gift Shop/ Translation Sheets/ Hearing Loop/ Group tours]

Take the Tour

Durban House Heritage

Relive the Moments of DH Lawrence...

Durban House

Durban House dates from 1876 and was built as the administration HQ for the Barber and Walker Coal Company. They ran a number of collieries around Eastwood including Moorgreen, Brinsley, Selston (Underwood), High Park and Watnall. Later they expanded their coal empire and developed and ran two collieries around Doncaster, at Bentley and Harworth. Various Coalmining Acts were passed from 1850 to 1872, and this combined with the growth of the coal industry, meant that coal owners needed specialised building to house the managers, surveyors, plans of the workings and admin staff needed to oversee the running of the business.

In 1917 Barber and Walker moved their HQ to nearby Eastwood Hall, formerly the ancestral home of the Walker family By this time, known as the Walker-Munroe’s, they had moved their main family home to Hampshire.  Durban House then became a Colliery Officials Institute, complete with a concert hall, billiards room, games room, reading room, complete with a library, and a bar with a club licence.  It was officially opened on 18th November 1917.  

Following nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947, Eastwood Hall became the HQ for the NCB East Midlands Division, No. 5 Area, and ownership of Durban House passed to the NCB.  It was used as flats for a period of time but eventually fell into disrepair.  In 1998 with the help of European funding for regeneration purposes in former coalmining regions, Durban House opened as the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre, to compliment the Birthplace Museum.  It closed as a Heritage Centre on 31stMarch 2016.