Literary Locations #7: Ebers Road

John Baird
Thu 22 Nov, 2018

Location #7: 35 Ebers Road, Mapperley Park, Nottingham. Where the magic happened.

Between the wars Dorothy Whipple was Nottingham’s best-known novelist. The "Jane Austen of the 20th Century," according to J. B. Priestley. She married a man twice her age and moved here after he became Nottingham’s first Director of Education. Most of her life was spent in Nottingham and it was here at no. 35 Ebers Road that she wrote her hugely popular stories.

Whipple’s second novel Greenbanks (1932) brought with it a great success that continued with her subsequent tales of ordinary life, most of which are set in Nottinghamshire, or as it appears, ‘Trentham’. One of them, The Priory (1939), was inspired by a cottage she rented in the grounds of Newstead Abbey.

Tastes changed after WWII and, just as two of her novels were made into films, her books fell out of favour. Those movies: the noir-ish They Knew Mr Knight (1934) - the 1946 film includes scenes of Ebers Road and the city centre, and They Were Sisters (1943) – a 1945 film which starred James Mason.

Her final novel, Someone at a Distance (1953), is perhaps her best. Whipple describes it as, "a fairly ordinary tale about the destruction of a happy marriage.”

Whipple wrote two memoirs: The Other Day (1950) and Random Commentary (1966). The later offering reflection on her time in Nottingham.

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Dorothy Whipple

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