" Dear John,
I have been speaking to my mother on the subject of the 'Sons and Lovers' film and she has provided the following memories which I hope you will be able to use on your excellent site.
My mother is something of a local authority on D H Lawrence and actually took me down to the filming at Brinsley Colliery, though, being only two at the time, I don't have any recollections.
We started talking about contributing these notes when I came across your site whilst surfing the net and, quite bizarrely, the release on DVD of the film was announced within a couple of weeks. I've obtained a copy and my Mother has had the opportunity to view it - happy memories.
If you can use the notes, I would be grateful if you could note my mother's name, Betty Gill, as the contributor as I'm only the e-messenger as it were!
Thanks - and keep up the good work with your most informative site.
Sons and Lovers notes.
The black and white version of "Sons and Lovers" (filmed in 1959/60) was the perfect medium for the book.
Parts of the film were filmed on location in Nottinghamshire, in the town of Eastwood - D H Lawrence's birthplace - and Brinsley, a small village a mile or so to North.
The 'pit accident' in the film took place at the disused Brinsley Colliery (Ordnance Survey Map Grid reference SK4648). Although the colliery was no longer in use, the headstocks were still in situ. Some 20 years later, the headstocks were actually moved to form part of the exhibits at the Lound Hall Mining Museum near Retford in North Nottinghamshire. They were later brought back to the, by now, landscaped colliery site and re-erected, though in a slightly different location to the original position they occupied when the mine was operational - some 10 metres further North.
Many of the 'extras' for the 'pit accident' scenes were local people from Brinsley and Eastwood and the village of Underwood - three miles North of Eastwood.
From recollection, I believe the Brinsley Colliery scenes were filmed in or around September 1959 and I went to watch the filming.
Word had got around a few months earlier that filming was to take place and that 'extras' would be required. A list of 'applicants' was held by the Pit Manager at the Underwood Colliery, which was still operational at the time and 'intending' actors had to contact him.
Some members of my immediate family were taken on as 'extras'. Uncles Wilf and Alec (White), who had both been miners but were now retired, together with Aunt Edna (Jepson) were in the film. Aunt Edna was actually at school with Jessie Chambers who features greatly in the life of DH Lawrence. After the filming had taken place, a photograph of the 'extras' was published in the Nottingham Evening Post and Aunt Edna was highlighted. Enquiries were made by the newspaper as to who the 'extra' was and a later follow-up article on her picked out her link to Jessie Chambers.
The costumes for the 'pit disaster' scenes were held in the Underwood Miners Welfare and Institute (still in existence today) and it was, apparently, a bit chaotic getting everyone suitably attired. Once everyone was 'in costume' they were taken the couple of miles to the Brinsley Colliery site by coach.
The 'extras' were paid £8 a day - which seemed a fortune to the villagers - and filming took place over two days. The 'extras' were kept busy as there were numerous 'takes' of them running towards pit headstocks.
The scenes where the women are shown running to the pit, having heard the wail of the alarm siren, were filmed in Victoria Street in Eastwood which is where DH Lawrence was born - at No. 8A - and where the Lawrence Birthplace Museum is now situated.
Betty Gill "