Eastwood MP will fight plans to close Lawrence heritage centre

Plans have been unveiled to build a statue to celebrate the life and work of Eastwood author DH Lawrence, on the same day it emerged that the town’s Lawrence Heritage Centre could face closure.

A meeting took place on Thursday to discuss building the statue in the town in memory of the Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterley author, with members of the heritage centre, the Lawrence society and Eastwood MP Gloria de Piero.

At the same time, Broxtowe Borough Council revealed that discussions are due to take place on the possible closure of the centre at a council meeting later this month.

A spokesman for Ms De Piero said that the MP now intends to write to the authority urging them to reconsider the closure plans. She also plans to launch a petition to put pressure on the authority to reconsider.

Photograph of D.H. Lawrence probably taken in the 1920sPhotograph of D.H. Lawrence probably taken in the 1920s
Photograph of D.H. Lawrence probably taken in the 1920s

Speaking before the closure plans were revealed and speaking about the statue plans, she said: “Lawrence is one of the most celebrated writers in the world, his work was inspired by where he was raised, Eastwood, and so although we have good tourism, for such a famous writer I think we can get so much more.

“It’s good for business, good for jobs and good for local pride; I just thought it was ridiculous that we haven’t got a statue of him. He’s constantly in popular culture so it’s time to celebrate him and try to make sure Eastwood’s on the map.”

A report from the borough council has recommended shutting the building – which houses, among other things, an exhibition on Eastwood during the time the acclaimed author lived there – to save money.

Malcolm Gray, chairman of the DH Lawrence Society, said it would be a “tragedy” if the centre closes.

Ashfield Labour candidate Gloria De PieroAshfield Labour candidate Gloria De Piero
Ashfield Labour candidate Gloria De Piero

He said: “If it closed and that link with Lawrence was severed it would be a great loss. It would affect tourism and the number of people coming into the town.

“As you drive into Eastwood, you have the signs directing you to the building. It’s an important part of the town. It would be disastrous.

The centre is housed in Durban House, Mansfield Road.

Built for The Barber Walker mining company in 1896, it is where Lawrence, as a child,used to collect his father’s mining wages.

A council spokesman said: “The council’s cabinet will consider a report on Tuesday, September 22, which recommends the closure of the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre building.

“The DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum is not affected by this proposal and the report will examine the future development of this nationally recognised museum.”

The museum was threatened with closure back inn 2010 but was saved by a grant from Nottingham University.

Pictured: The DH Lawrence Heritage Centre, DH Lawrence and Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero