DH Lawrence brands Derbyshire town 'hideous' in century old postcard

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A century-old postcard written by English writer and poet DH Lawrence in which he brands a Derbyshire town “hideous” has been rescued from a skip.

DH Lawrence penned the postcard to his friend Miss Nellie Holderness who he met while on teaching training in 1911.

The black-and-white postcard features a picture of Old School House and Rock Cottages, in the Derbyshire town of Shirebrook.

DH Lawrence wrote: “I have got here but had to bike – not a single train. It is an awful fag.

“Shirebrook is a most hideous place – I contrast it with Eakring. Keep well – love to all – DH Lawrence.”

The postcard is set to fetch £250 at auction

 

The postcard was passed down the family to Patricia Endean-Rowe whose grandmother was Nellie’s sister and also knew DH Lawrence.

Mrs Endean-Rowe, 71, a retired teacher from Eakring, in Notts., initially feared it had been lost forever after it was almost binned.

She said: “It was literally saved at the tip four years ago.

“My late mother, Ella Walker, couldn’t remember where she’d put it.

“After she passed away, we had to clear her bungalow.

Nellie Holdermess, who the postcard was sent to

 

“A relative was about to throw a plastic box into a skip at Bilsthorpe tip but, just before he did, gave it a shake – and realised something was inside.

“It was the DH Lawrence postcard sent to one of my great aunts more than a century ago.”

Mrs Endean-Rowe added: “Kitty Holderness, my grandmother, went to college in Ilkeston with DH Lawrence.

“They were trainee teachers together. Family legend has it that Lawrence was enamoured with Kitty but we don’t know that for certain.

“Lawrence also gave two signed books to Kitty, a copy of Sons and Lovers and a poetry book, so they must have been fairly close.

“George Holderness became head of Eakring School and Lawrence visited the family at the School House in Shirebrook.

“I’m told my great-grandfather gave the author a wonderful reference for a teaching job in London.

He cycled to the mining town, Shirebrook

 

“Lawrence wrote about a headmaster once and we did wonder if it was based on our great grandfather.

“Kitty was the only sister to have children, one of whom was my father. The sisters were all prolific postcard collectors.”

DH Lawrence got to know the Holderness sisters (Nellie, Elsie, Mabel and Kitty) at teacher training college with Kitty in Ilkeston, Derbys.

John Worthen, Emeritus Professor at the University of Nottingham, said: “Lawrence stayed with the family in Eakring from August 13-16, 1911.

“On August 19 he cycled to Shirebrook and on August 20 sent his fianc e, Louie Burrows, a postcard featuring the same picture.”

The postcard was passed down through the family but was nearly discarded

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The postcard is expected to fetch around £250 when it goes under the hammer on July 31.

Jim Spencer, books expert and associate director at Hansons Auctioneers which is handling the sale, said: “This is a wonderful find.

“Lawrence is one of England’s most famous literary figures whose work created much controversy when first published.

“His impact is still felt today and some of his books, such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, have been adapted for film and television.

“When you consider he was born in 1885 and died aged only 44 in 1930 that’s quite an achievement.”



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