David Lawrie grew up in North Northumberland about 40 miles north of Ashington. He would regularly visit Ashington to visit his grandfather — who worked at the colliery (as did most of his family) — in one of the Pit Row houses. His family later moved to Ashington in the early 1980s, and his parents still live there. David attended Sheffield University in another Northern industrial town, met his wife while working in London and in 1998 moved to Chicago, where he works as a landscape architect.