Saturday 5 March 2022

George Orwell in Headingley


George Orwell in Headingley


Gather outside 21 Estcourt Avenue at 1.30pm to listen to musician Jem Dobbs, who lived there for his first nineteen years, then walk to the nearby HEART Centre in Bennett Road.



At 2pm in HEART, sit down for a tribute to the great author, who in late 1936 worked on his notes for ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ in Headingley at number 21 Estcourt Avenue where his sister Marjorie Dakin lived. Les Hurst, Research Officer for the Orwell Society, an expert on the book, will talk about it (with readings) and answer questions. Orwell devoted the final section to his idiosyncratic thoughts on Socialism, and these will be included in any discussions.


George Orwell (Eric Blair) was researching living and working conditions amongst poverty-stricken people in Lancashire and Yorkshire during the Depression. In the early part of the year he lived in Wigan, Sheffield and Barnsley, and for two short periods in March he worked in Headingley. When the book was published in 1937 by Gollancz as a Left Book Club selection, its vivid details of the suffering inflicted by poverty shocked most of its readers, but his views on Socialism caused factional disputes. Today, of course, many readers will compare and contrast Orwell’s findings with the situation in Britain today.


The book grapples "with the social and historical reality of Depression suffering in the north of England, – Orwell does not wish merely to enumerate evils and injustices, but to break through what he regards as middle-class oblivion, – Orwell's corrective to such falsity comes first by immersion of his own body – a supreme measure of truth for Orwell – directly into the experience of misery." (Wikipedia)