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Sunday, July 05, 2020

5 Locations in Belle of the Back Streets

Would you like to know more about the locations I use in my novels? I hope that if you read the book, or if you've read it already, that these pictures might give some context and background and add a bit of depth to the locations I've written about.

Belle of the Back Streets is available now in paperback, hardback, e-book and audiobook and you can buy it here 

Here we go with my top 5 favourite locations in  

Albion Inn

The Albion Inn is where Sally Sutcliffe works in Belle of the Back StreetsSally is Meg's mam and Meg is the heroine of this book, our belle of Ryhope's streets. I created fictional Hetty and Jack Burdon to run the Albion Inn and loved the character of Hetty so much that I brought her back for almost all of my other novels where she appears as a background character. My books aren't a series, they're stand alone and can be read in any order, but some background characters like Hetty Burdon and local gossip Lil Mahone, were too good to put away and so they return every now and then. 

The Albion Inn in Ryhope still exists, although looks very different to the picture above. It's where I had the book launch for Belle of the Back Streets and it was standing room only.  

You can read all about my book launch here and see some great pictures too.

The rhubarb field

A question I'm asked often about Belle of the Back Streets is 'Where was the rhubarb field?' - and it's a question that came up often in the walking tour around Ryhope that me and my friend Paul Lanagan led last year as part of Local History Month. 

You can read all about the guided walk around Ryhope here and see some pics too.

Well, the rhubarb field was owned by Ryhope and Silksworth Co-operative Society Ltd, or the Co-op for short, or 'the store' as everyone in Ryhope called it. This picture above shows the rhubarb field on the corner of Nelson Street and in the distance that big building was Nelson Street infants and juniors school. It's the school I went to, the school my mam worked at as a dinner lady and she'd bring pink custard home in a jug for dessert for us kids at home when there was some going spare.

The coal mine

Belle of the Back Streets was my debut novel and Ryhope Coal Company and the coal mine appear for the very first time in a novel. The pit was Ryhope's lifeblood. Over 2,500 men and boys were employed there at its peak in the 1930s. It opened in the 1860s and closed in the 1960s. Ryhope had over 14 pubs running down the colliery and into the village. Mining and farming were thirsty work.

East End Market

In Belle of the Back Streets, the heroine Meg takes on her dad's rag and bone round. She spends a lot of time at the old market in the heart of Sunderland's East End. It's fair to say, the East End was a bit rough and ready back in 1919 and Meg had a lot on her hands when she went to the market to try to sell her wares.

Hendon Paper Mill

Antother place Meg went to sell her collected rags was the paper mill at Hendon. I was fascinated by my research into paper mills and my fifth novel, to be published in hardback, audiobook an ebook in November 2020 will be called The Paper Mill Girl, it'll be out in paperback March 2021 and you can pre-order it now if you'd like to.

Belle of the Back Streets is available now in paperback, hardback, e-book and audiobook and you can buy it here 

And if you'd like to find out more about locations in my Ryhope-set novels, here you go: 

Glenda Young
Author of historical novels with Headline
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
Facebook: GlendaYoungAuthor

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