Brinsley Books

Proceeds from the sale of Brinsley books written by Ztan Zmith are donated to Brinsley village church and the Bagthorpe and Underwood book proceeds benefit the Underwood Church Tower Appeal Fund.

Many books e-mailable in PDF format

         please e-mail 



price £6.50


This is Ztan’s last book which he completed just before he passed away. Written at the request of Brinsley Parish Council, this book records those Brinsley servicemen who gave their lives before, during and after the two World Wars. This year, 2018, is the centenary of the ending of the First World War and this book is a commemoration of those brave men.

If you would like a copy of the book, price £6.50 (incl. p+p) it is available from Christine Smith, e-mail All profits from the book are for the benefit of St James Church, Brinsley.



price £2.00


The story of a church and also the village of Brinsley near Eastwood in Nottinghamshire – an area where writer D H LAWRENCE’s grandparents lived and where his father, uncles and aunts were brought up.

His father Arthur and his Uncles worked in Brinsley Pit whilst his grandfather made moleskin clothing for the miners.

 It was the everyday life in and around the mining community of Brinsley and Eastwood that inspired the writer DAVID HERBERT LAWRENCE and colours his early works.  LAWRENCE was very fond of Brinsley and Eastwood - an area he called “The Country of My Heart”.



price £2.00

This book, in light hearted manner, traces schools in Brinsley from earliest times, through the Dame School, Mission School, Church and Board Schools to the modern village school of today.


Very little trace is left of the earlier schools, but we do have pictures and the fascinating memories of elderly residents of the village to tell us what life was like as a scholar in Victorian and Edwardian times and also between the two Great Wars. 

At the end of the book there are extracts from the amazing War Time Log Books of the Moor C of E School, which makes for compulsive reading. It’s hard to imagine what life must have been like when it was necessary to hide from air raids beneath school desks on a daily basis. 



price £2.00

The tiny village of Brinsley had eleven pubs over the years, as coal dust was notorious for developing prodigious thirsts. 

Brinsley Pubs” tells the entertaining and sometimes strange stories of former landlords, landladies and customers of the village pubs over the last 200 years


Stories include:  gory goings on in a pub that used to have a doctor’s operating theatre in the basement; pub ghosts; Auntie Polly and her soup kitchen; the miracle doctor; The Company Store; Egg Week; bizarre accidents; Coroner’s Inquests and much more.



price £2.00

This is a fascinating book about bygone Brinsley Characters. These include:

  • Granny Smith, midwife and layer out extraordinaire

  • The Old Folk’s Committee and their doings.

  • Sid and his paper collection

  • Tamar and child miner Matthew Wilson.

  • Hospital Parades and Float Judges

  • Golden Slipper men and a tragedy

  • Ida Andrews and the Blacksmith

  • Mrs Dovey and her powders

  • The man who signed a King’s Death Warrant

and much more besides



price £2.00


Such goings on in and around Brinsley!  No wonder D H LAWRENCE had so much to write about!


There was the time when there were high jinks on the lake at Lamb Close House and the terrible day that Lawrence’s uncle had his accident at the pit.


Then there was William Purdy who wrote to the King about unsafe mines and had so much trouble patenting his safety lamp.


And how about the tragic Gilbourne family – and the sorrows of poor Kate?



price £2.00


Another book about bygone Brinsley and its fascinating Characters. These include :

  • Brinsley Hero – Vincent Gilbourne

  • Early Parish Council days

  • Horace Pryor and a Soldier’s Fate

  • Ganger Edward Flint’s Sad End

  • 1926 Strike and the Lighter Side

  • Francis Purdy the Beggarlee Bulldog, bare knuckle prize fighter and Champion of three Counties.



price £2.00


More about bygone Brinsley and its fascinating Characters.  

   These include:

  • Revd Starmer in War and Peace - the humour and the sadness.

  • The WW1 casualty without a memorial

  • Stoney Lane brickyard

  • Night soil men and a battling woman

  • Grandy Cosford—a life

  • Paradise refound

  • Brinsley’s old time lamplighters



price £2.00

This book features

  • Valentine Yates and the lighter side of being a sanitary inspector – especially during the War.

  • John Ball’s War.

  • Train Journey from Nottingham to Eastwood and Brinsley before 1914.

  • Brinsley’s Ancient Coffin Walk over the fields – an annual event each July.

  • Revd Percival Page and the Pages of History (the Vicar who, thinly disguised, appears in D H Lawrence’s stories)

  • Brinsley Mill and the death of a wind miller



PRICE £2.00

More stories about Brinsley taken from an almost endless fund of memories, family papers and other materials.

Contents include:

  • The itinerant Rope maker from Broad Lane

  • The journeyings of Brinsley Headstocks

  • A Brinsley Vicar and the Indian Mutiny

  • The Working Man

  • Sheila and her Dad (who wasn’t a blackleg)

  • Joe Smith and letters to the paper



Price £2.00

THE SUN INN GIRL GUILTY OF MURDER Sarah Barber, who at one time had worked at the Sun Inn in Eastwood, was found guilty of the murder of her husband Joseph Barber and was sentenced to death ….

When the church clock struck 9 o’clock on the day of her execution there was a hush in the crowd, but this eventually turned to disappointment and anger when the big doors at the top of the steps remained firmly shut even when the clock sounded a quarter past the hour…

This is just one of the incredible stories in “Brinsley – Virtue & Villainy” Others include -

  • The Man from Canada who came back fifty years later

  • The girl who died because of her love of fashion

  • Fire on Cordy Lane

  • Gerald the Poacher

  • The Soldier Boy who drew his pension at 18 and walked to Derby Barracks every month for the next fifty years



Price £2.00

This book is called "Brinsley - Down to Earth" and is Ztan’s eleventh Brinsley Book (and 23rd book overall) and the title “Brinsley - Down to Earth” says it all.


True stories in the book range from inflating cows in the milking parlour to life on Wharf Row beside the canal (illustrated by a rare photo of the Row itself)  

Then there is the tragic story of Becky Lowe and the exploits of an award winning cyclist and champion India Club Swinger.  

Also included in the book is the woman who only wanted a "icckle bit" of cheese and the demon school dentist who operated in the middle of a field so that his patient's screams wouldn't be heard by the headmaster.



Price £2.00

The connecting themes running through this book include old time local cyclists, coal and Pollington Colliery.

The fascinating stories of the following local folk are included :-

  • John William Lee – Pioneer Cyclist

  • George Bestwick Pearce – Palin’s son.

  • Thomas Wright – Victorian scholar and pit lad

  • Gaffer Thomas Wright and a lump of coal

  • William Wright – Cricketer & Union man

  • Death of Pollington

  • Eccentric Elias Jepson

  • Charles Cooke and his motor powered tricycle

  • Revd F J Starmer – the cycling Vicar

  • Carter Taylor the cobbler

  • William Pacey and a spot of bother

Price £2.00

Odie the Terrible – and other aliases,” tells the story of a local miner who achieved fame as a wrestler on the local halls, especially Heanor Town Hall and venues throughout Britain – also on Television at the time of Kent Walton, Big Daddy, Jackie Pallo, Giant Haystacks and other greats.

Odie, as Vince Apollo, one of his aliases, became the undefeated Heavyweight Wrestling champion of Europe and the subject of a film depicting his life and fame. This was a B movie touring major cinemas supporting a John Wayne and Kirk Douglas blockbuster called “The War Wagon.” 

As one half of “The Undertakers” – which was a masked tag team that delighted in taunting the crowd - he was never unmasked and met celebrities of the day such as Russ Hamilton, Mike and Bernie Winters, Frank Carson, Bing Crosby, Kris Kristofferson and others.

He also met “Odd Job” from the film Dr No and grappled him for real in the wrestling ring!

Odie the Terrible – and other aliases”, contains much humour and insight into the life of a travelling wrestler.
Price £2.00

This book is packed with true stories of fascinating local characters who lived in and around the village - none more so than pop star, grappler and living legend John Lawrence - grandfather of the famous writer D H Lawrence and Walter Cornell the lamp cabin man and one legged cyclist.

Then there are the stories of Alfred Wilkinson, keeper of the Miners’ Welfare unable to serve ale to local miners; Bill Harris the only resident in the Rookery to own a piano and D H Lawrence’s uncle who stood trial for murder! 

Life was never dull in and around Brinsley!