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
"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.