As you progress from the car park via the footpath, you can see an abandoned house through the undergrowth on your right. This is Vine Cottage, where D.H. Lawrence’s Aunt Polly lived. Polly’s husband was killed in a mining accident. The tragic event inspired the short story ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ and the play ‘The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd’. Local mining culture, love and loss form the basis of many of D.H. Lawrence’s literary works.
Chrysanthemums at Vine Cottage – David Amos reads an excerpt from Odour of Chrysanthemums by D.H. Lawrence, in local dialect, which describes the cottage in its heyday.
At the edge of the ribbed level of sidings squat a low cottage, three steps down from the cinder track. A large bony vine clutched at the house, as if to claw down the tiled roof. Round the bricked yard grew a few wintry primroses. Beyond, the long garden sloped down to a bush-covered brook course. There were some twiggy apple trees, winter-crack trees, and ragged cabbages. Beside the path hung dishevelled pink chrysanthemums, like pink cloths hung on bushes. A woman came stooping out of the felt-covered fowl-house, half-way down the garden. She closed and padlocked the door, then drew herself erect, having brushed some bits from her white apron.