If you’ve been down Station Street lately, have you noticed a little addition to the building frontage next to Tesco’s? Take a look up above ground floor level and you’ll see the 10m x 5m banner pictured above. A member of the Alan Sillitoe Committee, Mark Shotter, and Rob Howie-Smith from the Howie-Smith Project have been the prime movers behind the creation and siting of the banner commemorating ‘Our Rebel Writers’ – Nottinghamshire’s trio of world-renowned authors, DH Lawrence, Lord Byron and Alan Sillitoe, who were all rebels in their various ways.

This hopefully will be the first in a series of texts, including quotes from the trio above, installed in certain locations in Nottingham city centre in various forms/materials, though mostly on plaques, celebrating Nottinghamshire’s fine literary rebel (and wider rebel) heritage. This, along with a projected accompanying website and app, will form the ‘Our Rebel Writers’ Trail, an attempt to both raise local awareness of and pride in this aspect of our rich cultural heritage and to increase the already considerable number of people who visit our county to see the places our rebel writers spent many of their formative years.

The banner itself, as you can see, comprises of portraits of the three painted by gifted local artist, Nick Humphries, and a quote from each of them. Its siting on Station Street comes courtesy of the Howie-Smith Project, a social enterprise supporting urban regeneration and the use of derelict spaces to create artistic opportunity for the benefit of the community, one such ex-derelict space being the building on Station Street that has been renovated by the project. Now Station Street Studios, the building houses a second hand bookshop, a darkroom, photographic studio and gallery, a recycled wood workshop, a sound recording studio and music rehearsal space, a dance studio, a performance space, a nail art salon, a tattooist and a hair salon!

Funding for the banner came courtesy of the Mary Portas Trust, which gives grants to facilitate the regeneration of urban retail areas.

Watch this space for further developments in the establishment of the ‘Our Rebel Writers’ Trail!


(Photograph by David Sillitoe)