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Arnold Bennett (1867 - 1931)

Arnold Bennett, British 20th century writer and novelist born in The Potteries. He moved to London and became hugely famous with many famous artists, writers and musicans in his circle of friends.

He was particularly friends with Frederick Marriott who he met before becoming successful and stayed life long friends.

Bennett was born in Hanley, his father was a pawnbroker and later they lived in Waterloo Road Burslem, Stoke on Trent.

He was famous as a writer of which many included stories about the towns of the Potteries. He is quite famous for bending the truth slightly so for example he calls the Potteries the 5 towns when there are actually 6, Burslem is Bursley, Hanley is Hanbridge, Tunstall is Turnhill, Stoke is Kynpe and Longton is Longshaw.

Burslem became very important to Bennett, here is a description he writes in his book 'Clay Hanger':

"In front, on a little hill in the vast valley, was spread out the Indian-red architecture of Bursley - tall chimneys and rounded ovens, schools, the new scarlet market, the grey tower of the old church, the high spire of the evangelical church, the low spire of the church of genuflexions, and the crimson chapels, and rows of little red with amber chimney-pots, and the gold angel of the blackened town hall topping the whole. The sedate reddish browns and reds of the composition, all netted in flowing scarves of smoke, harmonised exquisitely with the chill blues of the chequered sky. Beauty was achieved, and none saw it."

Arnold Bennett was as famous as J K Rowling in his day, his books sold in huge figures, he was very influencial across culture and politics. He declined a knighthood after running the French propaganda office for the British through WWI.

He moved to London aged 21 and won a literary competition under the encouragement of Marriott which saw him become the most prolific of writers.

He wrote for magazines, he wrote novels, and also hit plays. He was friends with HG Wells and many artists of the day corresponding letters with them.

He died of Typhoid in his flat in Chiltern Street, above Baker Street Station in 1931 and is buried in Burslem Cemetary, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.