Places and Spaces

Map of Nottingham.

The Sillitoe Trail: Spaces and Places

Originally published in 2012 as part of theSpace arts project funded by Arts Council England and the BBC

From an early age, geography and maps were a very important part of writer Alan Sillitoe’s life. In the 1974 essay Maps, he remembers watching with “utter fascination when the teacher in school took a wheeled metal cylinder with a handle to it, rolled it on an inked pad, and then pushed it firmly across a blank page in my exercise book so that a perfect outline of Europe and North America was left gleaming on the page. – It was the action of a magic wand, a device made by a wizard.”

When writing his Nottingham-based novels, Sillitoe always had a street plan to hand, alongside a one-inch scaled map of the area, enabling him to produce a definitive Nottingham landscape. From this position he was able to ‘map the spiritual turmoil of myself and other people.’

The Sillitoe Trail

Take your own interactive 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 or visit The White Horse pub, the Raleigh factory, the River Trent and Goose Fair.

Follow: Arthur Seaton @Thespacelathe on Twitter

Download: Sillitoe Trail Factory Handbook (17MB PDF)


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Fillingham and Walker 2020