Love On The Dole by Walter Greenwood

We are joined by the writer Andrew Hankinson to discuss Walter Greenwood’s classic novel of Northern working-class life. First published in 1933, Love on the Dole, revolves explores the fortunes of the Hardcastle family, who live in industrial Salford in the 1930s, just as the Depression is beginning to bite. Greenwood’s authentic portrayal of the corrosive effects of mass unemployment and poverty was well received by critics, but it wasn’t until the 1934 stage version had become a hit, that the book became a bestseller. It is estimated that a million people has seen the play by the end of 1935 and the book has remained in print ever since. However, it had to wait until 1941 before being made into a classic film which featured Deborah Kerr in her first starring role. We discuss the books connections to other working-class novels, its wider cultural impact and its influence on the gritty social dramas of the 1960s, the interesting differences between the book and the film adaptation, and we ask why, despite the classic status accorded to Love on the Dole, Greenwood himself and his nine other novels have faded into obscurity. 

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