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Bennett's and the Potteries

Locations in Bennett's novels


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Clayhanger's Steam Printing Works

At the end of Queen Street is Clayhanger's Printing Works, home of Darius Clayhanger, the first steam printer in Bursley. Today, it is recognisable as the Kismet Restaurant and a letting agents - it faces onto Swan Square and the Swan Inn.

 

Clayhanger's Steam Printing Works

 

The Steam Printing and Stationers Works of Darius Clayhanger
The Steam Printing and Stationers Works of Darius Clayhanger

 photo: Dec 2008

In Bennett's writings:

 

 

"Edwin came steeply out of the cinder-strewn back streets by Woodisun Bank [hill] into Duck Square, nearly at the junction of Trafalgar Road and Wedgwood Street. A few yards down Woodisun Bank, cocks and hens were scurrying, with necks horizontal, from all quarters, and were even flying, to the call of a little old woman who threw grain from the top step of her porch. On the level of the narrow pavement stood an immense constable, clad in white trousers, with a gun under his arm for the killing of mad dogs; he was talking to the woman, and their two heads were exactly at the same height. 

On a pair of small double gates near the old woman's cottage were painted the words, "Steam Printing Works. No admittance except on business." And from as far as Duck Square could be heard the puff-puff which proved the use of steam in this works to which idlers and mere pleasure-seekers were forbidden access."

Bennett: Clayhanger

 

"At the southern corner of Trafalgar Road and Wedgwood Street, with Duck Square facing it, the Dragon Hotel and Warm Lane to its right, and Woodisun Bank creeping inconspicuously down to its left, stood a three-storey building consisting of house and shop, the frontage being in Wedgwood Street. Over the double-windowed shop was a discreet signboard in gilt letters, "D. Clayhanger, Printer and Stationer," but above the first floor was a later and much larger sign, with the single word, "Steam-printing." All the brickwork of the fašade was painted yellow, and had obviously been painted yellow many times; the woodwork of the plate-glass windows was a very dark green approaching black. The upper windows were stumpy, almost square, some dirty and some clean and curtained, with prominent sills and architraves. The line of the projecting spouting at the base of the roof was slightly curved through subsidence; at either end of the roof-ridge rose twin chimneys each with three salmon-coloured chimney-pots. The gigantic word 'Steam-printing' could be seen from the windows of the Dragon, from the porch of the big Wesleyan chapel higher up the slope, from the Conservative Club and the playground at the top of the slope; and as for Duck Square itself, it could see little else. The left-hand shop window was alluringly set out with the lighter apparatus of writing and reading, and showed incidentally several rosy pictures of ideal English maidens; that to the right was grim and heavy with ledgers, inks, and variegated specimens of steam-printing."

Bennett: Clayhanger

 

 

Actual location / building:

on the left is a letting agent and restaurant - Bennett's Steam Printing Works
on the left is a letting agent and restaurant - Bennett's Steam Printing Works
at the end of Queens Street (Bennett's Wegwood Street)

Further along in Queens Street is the Wedgwood Institute (Bennett's Art School)

 

out of the front window  of the Steam Printing Works is Duck Square and the Duck Inn
out of the front window  of the Steam Printing Works is Duck Square and the Duck Inn

This is one of the oldest public places in Burslem and Bennett often refers to them as Duck Square and The Duck Inn where the hand-bell ringers used to meet. In fact, the Swan Hotel has been rebuilt since Bennett's day, but the name has been kept.

 


also from the front of the Steam Printing Works can be seen Bennett's Conservative Club at the top of Duck Bank and on the right is Duck Bank Chapel and Sunday Schools 

 


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