Description: Dennis Potter was born and brought up in the Forest of Dean, a place he described as a heart-shaped place between two rivers, somehow slightly cut off from the rest of England. This book, first published in 1962, is Potter’s personal study of that small area – its people, traditions, ceromonies and institutions – at a time of profound cultural and social change. He describes the fabric of a world whose old ways are yielding to the new: the collieries closing, the chapels emptying, the local clubs and brass bands harder to sustain. He asks whether the gains of modernity have, for the individuals and society he evokes, been worth the loss.
Episode 1: Revisiting his birthplace, Dennis Potter found the Forest of Dean in a state of profound uncertainty. Read by Robert Glenister.
Episode 2: No job for life: For the Forest of Dean’s coal-mining community, pit closures in 1961 sparked traumatic change.
Episode 3: Empty Pews: In 1961, the old Chapel religion of the Forest of Dean was losing its grip on the local community.
Episode 4: Out With the Old: he Forest of Dean elders remembered the past, while the young embraced what was new.
Episode 5: A Time of Tension: Change can breed insecurity or opportunity. For Forest of Dean locals in 1961, it sparked tension.
Clearwell Caves and the Royal Forest of Dean Iron Mining Museum
Dennis Potter resigned from his post as a trainee with the BBC because he was writing this book with political bias, making a conflict of interest.
Used to spend alternate weekends at the Christchurch, Berry Hill camping site (every other w/e at Port Eynon campsite, The Gower)so I love the place. I’m sure that my repeated visits set the need for a forest vista deep into my psyche. How sad to see that Christchurch is now closed to tents, it has become a lodge site: the changing forest comes into play once more.
Trivia – Jimmy Young was born and bred in Cinderford