Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire titles

Spokesman Books | Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire titles

Nottingham & Derbyshire Titles

Based in Nottingham, Spokesman Books publishes a range of titles with local themes. For 2011, we are adding a new, enlarged edition of Means-Test Man by Walter Brierley This celebrated novel, introduced by Andy Croft, describes a week in the life of an unemployed Derbyshire miner. Set in the 1930s and written by a miner out of his own bitter experience, it was one of the most powerful and original novels of that decade.

In their classic 1960s study, Poverty: The Forgotten Englishmen, Ken Coates and Richard Silburn looked again at what was meant by the word 'poverty'. They concluded that vast numbers of English people were, for the most of their lives, living in acute poverty. What this actually involved was spelt out by means of a detailed survey of St Ann's, an area in the middle of Nottingham.

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<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Means-Test Man</span>Means-Test Man
By Walter Brierley

Means-Test Man describes a week in the life of an unemployed Derbyshire miner. Set in the 1930s and written by a miner out of his own bitter experience, it was one of the most powerful and original novels of that decade. It is tragic that Walter Brierley's portrayal should be highly topical in the 21st century as the number of jobless grows relentlessly.

"In 1939 the Daily Herald carried a piece by John G. O'Leary, the chief librarian for Dagenham, complaining about the state of public libraries. According to O'Leary, British libraries were failing to respond to 'the unceasing demands' of their working-class readers, for 'novels with an economic and social background'. As examples of this sort of writing he cited Walter Greenwood's Love on the Dole, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Walter Brierley's Means-Test Man.

Today this might seem an exaggerated comparison to make for Means-Test Man. Both the other two titles have become catch-phrases for their time, their authors well-known and they have been almost continuously in print since then. Brierley however, has been long since forgotten, his work long out of print, and still very difficult to find in libraries.

As this piece from the Herald shows however, Means-Test Man was clearly considered to have a status and importance in its time comparable to those more famous 'modern classics'. The purpose of this reprinting of the novel is to show modern readers why this was, to make available again a novel that should never have been out of print, and to let readers make up their own minds why it has been for so long."

Andy Croft from his Introduction

Price: 9.99

300 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 7953


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Poverty: The Forgotten Englishmen</span>Poverty: The Forgotten Englishmen
Ken Coates & Richard Silburn

Is Poverty in Britain a thing of the past?

Ken Coates and Richard Silburn look again at what is meant by the word 'poverty'. They conclude that vast numbers of English people, living in slums throughout the country, are, for the most of their lives, living in acute poverty. What this actually involves is spelled out by means of a detailed survey of one slum- St Ann's, an area of Nottingham which has now been cleared but is all too typical of hundreds of such districts which remain.

This work is a classic study.

'Writing with compassion, style, wit and almost a complete lack of jargon, (they) present us with inescapable facts which must remould our thinking and our actions.'  The Times

Reviews in
The Topper
by Bob Holman in The Herald

Price: 9.00

282 pages | Indexed
Paperback | ISBN: 978 0 85124 375 7


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>St Ann's</span>St Ann's
Poverty, Deprivation and Morale in a Nottingham Community

Two thousand and seven marks the fortieth anniversary of the first publication of our report on Poverty, Deprivation and Morale in the Nottingham community of St Ann’s.

St Ann’s is frequently in the headlines of this twenty-first century, but we may well be asked why we think it fitting to republish this report, which concerns the thirty thousand people who lived in the old St Ann’s. Poverty has certainly changed its aspect since the 1960s, but since we were primarily concerned with its moral effects, our report remains depressingly familiar, and points up a whole constellation of attitudes and experiences which are all-too-familiar in modern times.
Ken Coates, Preface to 2007 edition

The survey was conducted under the auspices of the Adult Education Department of the University if Nottingham, and gave rise to a film directed by Stephen Frears.

Read Ken Coates and Richard Silburn's recent article in the Nottingham Evening Post.

Price: 9.00

104 pages - 20 photos
ISBN: 978 085124 7328


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Sons and Lovers</span>Sons and Lovers
Trevor Griffiths' screenplay of the novel by
D.H. Lawrence

In May 2013, it's the centenary of the first publication of Sons and Lovers. To mark this anniversary Spokesman are reprinting Trevor Griffiths’ highly acclaimed screenplay of the novel.

"Sons and Lovers is a work of autobiographical fiction that charts, with extraordinary fidelity, the events, circumstances and social relations of Lawrence's early life. Written between 1910 and 1912, it covers the period 1875-1910 through the lives of a mining family in Bestwood (Eastwood) in Nottinghamshire, and especially through the emerging moral consciousness of Paul Morel, the novel's central figure, whose life differs in few important details from Lawrence's own. I choose to do this work because, ... there is, in this Lawrence, and vibrantly so, a powerful and radical celebration of dignity in resistance within working-class culture in industrial class-societies ..."
Trevor Griffiths in his Introduction

Nottingham author, Joy James, recalls her part in the celebrated BBC adaptation of Sons and Lovers

Price: 15.99

318 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 85124 334 4


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Theatre Plays One</span>Theatre Plays One
by Trevor Griffiths

1 - The Wages of Thin | Occupations | Sam Sam | Apricots | Thermidor | The Party | Comedians | The Cherry Orchard

The Wages of Thin is running at the Old Red Lion Theatre, St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ (Angel Tube), until May 15th 2010.

Reviews of The Wages of Thin:
Vera Liber (2010), British Theatre Guide
Theo Bosanquet, What's on Stage, 2010

Comedians was on at the Lyric Hammersmith, in late 2009.
The director was Sean Holmes and the cast was Keith Allen, Mark Benton, Billy Carter, David Dawson, Michael Dylan, Kulvinder Ghir, Matthew Kelly, Simon Kunz, Paul Rider and Reece Shearsmith.

Here are some reviews of Comedians:
What's On Stage

Trevor Griffiths was born and educated in Manchester and has been writing for theatre, television and cinema since the late 1960s.

The first volume of his collected theatre plays covers the period 1969 to 1980.

Volume two contains the plays written between 1981 and 2001.

His extensive work for the screen includes three major television series - Bill Brand, Sons and Lovers, and The Last Place on Earth; numerous single plays including All Good Men and Through the Night, and television films Country and Food for Ravens. Many of his stage plays have also been produced on television.

For his film Reds, written with Warren Beatty, he received the Writers Guild of America Best Screenplay award and an Oscar nomination. Other films have included Country, directed by Richard Eyre, and Fatherland, directed by Ken Loach.

From the 1980s onwards he has also directed his own work both in theatre and on film. Food for Ravens, which he wrote and directed for BBC Wales, won both a Royal Television Society award and a Welsh BAFTA.

In 1982 Trevor Griffiths was given the BAFTA Writers Award.

Price: 15.00

ISBN: 978 0 85124 7205


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Theatre Plays Two</span>Theatre Plays Two
by Trevor Griffiths

2 - Oi for England | Real Dreams | Piano | The Gulf between Us | Thatcher’s Children | Who Shall Be Happy? | Camel Station

Read reviews of both volumes by:
Ray Brown
Romy Clark
Sam Porter
Randall Stevenson

Price: 15.00

ISBN: 978 0 85124 7212


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Byron <em>versus</em> Elgin</span>Byron versus Elgin
By Ken Coates

In 1998, Newstead Abbey was directly in the line of advance of projected colliery workings, and there were real fears that undermining it could cause serious damage to the buildings, possibily even collapsing them. This was the problem which gave rise to the campaign to save Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of Lord Byron. Ken Coates, then the local Member of the European Parliament, decided to try to extend the well-organised campaign of British supporters, and seek help in Greece, to prevent possible destruction of the Abbey and the Byron museum. He wrote to all the Greek Members of the European Parliament, and received a virtually unanimous response. The concern was spontaneous. It was at this point that he realised that it was necessary that solidarity should engender reciprocal support. With the Greek people so impressively united in defence of the heritage of Lord Byron, did we not need to elicit a matching response in Britain to the continued theft of the ‘Elgin’ Marbles in the British Museum, taken from the Parthenon shortly before Byron’s own first visit to Athens?

Price: 2.00

14 pages | Illustrated
ISBN: 978 0 85124 6178


<span style='font-size: 14px;'>Community Under Attack</span>Community Under Attack
The Struggle for Survival in the
Coalfield Communities of Britain

by Ken Coates and Michael Barratt Brown

In 1992, Michael Heseltine announced that the vast majority of British coalmines were going to close. We immediately recognised what dire consequences there would be for the local economy of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire if this plan went ahead. This book, published in 1997, examines some alternatives created by local people and some of the difficulties which they have experienced. It looks at the sources of official funding and finds them inadequate to meet the needs of the coalfield communities.

Price: 6.99

208 pages | Paperback
ISBN: 978 085124 6130


Spokesman Books | Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire titles