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For those who share a passion for all things connected with the history of the area, one cannot do any better than to reach for the novels of Arnold Bennett who so graphically described the conditions and character of our area. His descriptions of the Potteries loop line feature in many of his writings. Anna of the Five Towns, Clayhanger, A Man from the North, Riceyman Steps and The Strange Vanguard, and in many of his short stories. One memorable piece concerns the return of Sophia Baines to her home town of Bursley (Burslem) accompanied by her sister Constance, in 'The Old Wives Tale'.                     

Arnold Bennett records, through the eyes of the sisters in the novel, the building of what was to be Waterloo Road station (opened 1901) and named Trafalgar Road in his novel.

© 2013 The NSR Rolling Stock Restoration Trust. Registered Charity No 1127895

The Arnold Bennett Connection

By Geoff Walker

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"As the train puffed under Trafalgar Road, Constance pointed to a new station that was being built there, to be called 'Trafalgar Road' station. "Won't it be strange?" said she, accustomed to the eternal sequence of Loop Line stations- Turnhill, Bursley, Bleakridge, Hanbridge, Cauldon, Knype, Trent Vale, and Longshaw. A 'Trafalgar Road' inserting itself between Bleakridge and Hanbridge seemed to her excessively curious. "Yes I suppose it will," Sophia agreed.

I adore the vivid descriptions portrayed  in many of Arnold Bennett works, and having grown up within the area described I can picture these locations clearly. To think that the Potteries Loop Line and its solid but short wooden vehicles, so eagerly used by the people, helped Arnold to create his world renowned masterpieces !.

The restoration of these coaches has more relevance than many people might people think, this simple link between our efforts and the history of the area, through such writings and experiences will help future generations appreciate how our communal and industrial heritage was shaped.

 

Arnold Bennett Society: dedicated to the Potteries' master wordsmith www.arnoldbennettsociety.org.uk

Watch now!

Geoff Walker introduces this series of Arnold Bennett short stories.

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Watch now!

Geoff Walker reads Catching the Train, from The Matador

of the Five Towns.

Listen and reminisce...

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