the-valley-cover

The Dearne Valley lies at the heart of the South Yorkshire coalfield. Its close-knit villages – with their dancehalls and clubs, collieries and rugged countryside – were home to four generations of the Hollingworth family.

The Valley: A Hundred Years in the Life of a Family, published by Bloomsbury in April 2014, is my history of the Hollingworths, of whom I am one. Against the backdrop of a turbulent century, through good times and bad, it shares the family’s tales of joy and laughter, hurt and loss, love affairs, lock-outs and pit disasters, as their attempts to build a better and fairer world meet sometimes with triumph, sometimes with bitter defeat.

Drawing on years of historical research, interviews, anecdotes and family memoir, the book is a personal account of British working-class life in a time of profound social upheaval: a tribute to a community that no longer exists but still resonates in our memories.

This website is a companion to the text, sharing source material, notes and additional information as well as news. Notes for each chapter can be found in the Extracts section; the Blog has updates to, and reflections on, the story; the notes are gathered together in Footnotes, and images and sound files gathered by chapter in Galleries. The site is an ongoing project, with new material added at least twice a week.

About The Author

Richard-Benson
Photo: Chris Floyd

I am the author of the number one bestseller The Farm, which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award in 2005 and a 2006 Richard and Judy Book Club choice. I was born in the Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire, and live in London with my wife and two daughters.