New book traces Lancaster literature links

Dr Penny Bradshaw, author of Literary Lancaster.
Dr Penny Bradshaw, author of Literary Lancaster.

A new book seeing Lancaster through the eyes of Dickens, Wordsworth and other literary giants has been released.

Literary Lancaster - City of Stories is inspired by mentions of our city in great works of literature and writing legends’ other links to Lancaster.

Written by Dr Penny Bradshaw, a senior lecturer in English Literature at the University of Cumbria, it explores Lancaster’s historic connections to literary figures like Alan Bennett, Siegfried Sassoon and modern-day writers Carol Ann Duffy and Jo Baker.

It takes readers on a journey around eight key locations in the city, including Lancaster Castle, which inspired one of William Wordsworth’s sonnets. Another location is the Old Keep at the University of Cumbria, which was part of the old Bowerham Barracks, home of the King’s Own Regiment in the 19th Century.

This military connection may perhaps have influenced Siegfried Sassoon to use Lancaster as an important symbol in one of his First World War poems ‘The Redeemer’.

The book also tells how playwright Alan Bennett’s mother was a patient at Lancaster Moor Hospital and traces Charles Dickens’ visits to the city. It tells of how poet Laurence Binyon was born at 1 High Street in Lancaster andalso explores how the Lancashire Witches inspired works of literature.

Darren Clifford, Lancaster City Council cabinet member for tourism, described the book as “a fascinating insight into Lancaster’s narrative history”. The book, produced in partnership with Lancaster City Council, is available to buy for £3.99 from Lancaster Visitor Information Centre or can be purchased online at