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 interpretation 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 Sillitoe Trail was originally launched by James Walker and Paul Fillingham in 2012, for The Space 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 fresh interpretations of Sillitoe’s masterpiece from Nottinghamshire artists, students, writers, and film-makers.

Digital Pioneers

Nottingham-based design agency Thinkamigo, worked alongside BBC producers to develop editorial workflow for publishing web-based content. The Space 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 2012-13, the project culminated in the release of a 1950s inspired ‘Factory Handbook’, a mobile trail for iPhone Apple and a two day festival of readings, screenings and music at Nottingham Contemporary.

Radio and Television

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.


Coinciding with a 24 hour festival and mobile app launch at Nottingham Contemporary in November 2012, the BBC Inside Out programme introduces key themes and collaborators involved in the project.

Postscript – 2020

Whilst archivists continue to struggle with the loss of creative artefacts due to proprietary media formats becoming outdated, or where funding expires – Sillitoe Trail – in the defiant spirit of the author’s chief protagonist Arthur Seaton, refuses to go the way of videotape, floppy disks and more latterly the CD ROM.

On the 10th anniversary of Alan Sillitoe’s death, plunged into a world-wide pandemic, arts organisations are seeking new ways to engage audiences in lockdown. Sillitoe Trail is aligned with the #CultureinQuarantine initiatives pioneered by creatives around the globe.

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 COVID-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.

Mining Heritage Home
Mining Heritage Home
Mining Heritage Home

Created in rebel county by Thinkamigo
Research, design, communications

Fillingham and Walker 2012 -2021