Sillitoe Trail

Alan Sillitoe

Alan Sillitoe in 2008. Cover image for Sillitoe Trail, TheSpace. Source; LeftLion, Dom Henry

A literary journey based on Alan Sillitoe’s 1958 novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

About the Sillitoe Trail and The Space arts platform

Nottingham-born, Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010) is best known for his first two books; Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958) and Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner (1959).  

The Sillitoe Trail is a digital re-imagining of Alan Sillitoe’s first novel; Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and the film version by Karel Reisz (1960) which stand as beacons for debating contemporary British values and identity.

The work focusses on five locations from the novel – The Old Market Square, the White Horse pub, the Raleigh Cycle Factory, the River Trent, and the Goose Fair. Each location explores a particular theme and features Arthur Seaton, Sillitoe’s defiant anti-hero at the centre of the narrative.


Digital Production

The Sillitoe Trail was originally launched by James Walker and Paul Fillingham in 2012, for TheSpace an experimental on-demand digital arts platform commissioned by Arts Council England and the BBC. The original commission was supported by the Alan Sillitoe Memorial Committee and includes creative interpretations of Sillitoe’s masterpiece from Nottinghamshire artists, students, writers, musicians and film-makers.

Written and produced by James Walker in collaboration with Fillingham’s digital startup Thinkamigo – the duo worked alongside BBC producers to develop editorial workflow for publishing content on the web and digital TV.

TheSpace featured fifty arts organisations, including; Shakespeare Globe Theatre, Tate Gallery, and the John Peel Record Collection.

Sillitoe Trail was hailed as an ‘exemplar of creative engagement’ by Arts Council England Chair Sir Peter Bazalgette. The project made a huge impact in Nottinghamshire, extending into public events in; Sheffield (DocFest) Newcastle (City Library), The British Library, and Google HQ, London.

In addition to episodic presentation on BBC platforms between 2012 and 2013, the project culminated in the release of a 1950s inspired ‘Factory Handbook’, a mobile trail app for Apple iPhone and a two day festival of readings, screenings and music at Nottingham Contemporary.


The Sillitoe Trail formed an important case study, in support of Nottingham’s bid as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2015. Local media features, include programmes on NottsTV, BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC East Midlands news.  Sillitoe Trail was also the subject of a BBC TV Inside Out documentary and featured on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live hosted by John McCarthy.

All the rest is propaganda…

Take your own virtual tour of the author’s city and follow in Arthur Seaton’s footsteps around Nottingham, exploring the real locations of key scenes from the novel. You can go back to the Old Market Square site, or visit The White Horse pub, the Raleigh factory, the River Trent and Goose Fair.

For related content, visit Sillitoe Trail Xtra.

We suggest you start your journey by the left lion in the Old Market Square – the most logical place for the trail to begin. – Paul Fillingham and James Walker.

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Fillingham and Walker 2012 -2022