12 October 2008

Georges Perec Versus the Local History of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire? No Contest when the Sun Comes Out in Mid-October

The statue of the poet Lord Byron, in a cage to protect the public from its falling on the head of any unfortunate, in the Market Place, Hucknall.

A derelict building celebrates the Hucknall-born composer Eric Coates, and Byron's daughter Ada, after whom a computer language was named in remembrance of her pioneering efforts with Charles Babbage.

A representation of Lord Byron with his dog Boatswain and what looks like a cross between Newstead Abbey and Hucknall parish church in the background.

A representation of Ada Byron, daughter of the poet Lord Byron.

A representation of the composer Eric Coates.

The same as below.

A representation of a miner, now an extinct animal in Hucknall, and virtually everywhere else in Britain.

When they see the sun out on a Sunday, all Nottingham culture vultures (and there are vast numbers of us, of course) put the foot on the mushroom and try and find out what's what. Penny and I only made it about ten miles up the road to Hucknall – well, we'd only originally gone out for a loaf of bread, but you can't resist exploring remote parts in the fascinating East Midlands – and there are some endearing areas.

Not everyone, perhaps, is aware that the poet Lord Byron was buried in the parish church here, minus a few organs that some people wanted to keep behind before his final journey back from Greece (where he's still a hero), ending in an amazing rock-and-roll ride through southern England to his final destination in Hucknall (then Hucknall Torkard), during which many people lined the route to pay their last respects.

The Red Lion pub in Huckall has a plaque outside its entrance informing the curious that this was a rent house of the Byron family in the 18th century; the poet Byron was to inherit nearby Newstead Abbey, although he spent very little time there, and sold the place not too long after inheriting it.

Hucknall is also the birthplace of Eric Coates, the composer who is unfortunately still best remembered for the Dambusters theme, music as they (the public) once worked.

Hucknall has always been a working-class town, a place of framework knitters and miners, as various placards and other things remind us. These industries are now gone, of course, as is the lively atmosphere I remember in this town only a few decades ago.

This is just one of the many places in Britain that Margaret Thatcher and her slavering sons, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, ripped the heart out of.


Anonymous said...

Hucknall is a great place because i live there

Dr Tony Shaw said...

Thank you, and I think I've tried to show that I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I used to live there and moved away 25 years ago and havent set foot in the place since 1997. Maybe one day I will pay another visit