New DVD - The Story of the ARNOLD BENNETT Statue July 17 2017

This is a compilation of video recordings, photographs and interviews charting the two decades of ideas and design proposals - beginning with a 1998 idea for a “Bursley Trail” of statues of some of Bennett’s characters. We look at further ideas for a Bennett grouping, then the decision to pursue the single seated figure of Arnold Bennett himself. With the design finalised, we then follow the various creative episodes through to the sculpting of the clay figure in 2010 and the making of the final mould for a future statue. We show the accomplishment of the bronze statue itself through all the practical stages - made possible by the generous funding of The Denise Coates Foundation - and conclude with the unveiling event on Bennett’s 150th birthday - 27th May 2017.

Plus: The Arnold Bennett Plaques. Three events involving the unveiling of plaques to Arnold Bennett: in Hope Street, Hanley, where he was born, in Fontainebleau in France at the house Les Nefliers where he wrote The Old Wives' Tale and at his home at 205 Waterloo Road, Cobridge. There are speeches, presentations and readings giving insight into Bennett's importance to The Potteries and to English Literature in general. Features many Society members - with special guest Giles Brandreth.    

2 hours total  £12.99

ARNOLD BENNETT 150th Anniversary events April 06 2017

15th August, The Battle of Burslem 7pm Burslem Old Town Hall

1st September, 7.30pm, Keele University  Samira Ahmed + Bennett Book Prize 

2nd September, 10.00am-5.00pmKeele University  Annual Bennett Conference

15th September, 7.45pm Screening of Piccadilly, Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

21st September, 7.30pm  "Play it Again, Mr Bennett!" concert - Penkhull Festival

20th October, 7.45pm  "On Stage Mr Bennett", Foxlowe Arts Centre

Free Screenings - Spring/Summer Season 2017 December 02 2016



WEDNESDAYS, 7.45pm. Bar open from 7.00pm. Ticket-free – No booking required. Free parking adjacent to Film Theatre - enter from College Road opposite Queen Anne Street.

Special Event:  Tuesday 15th August         7.00pm  The Leopard Hotel, Burslem


To commemorate the 175th Anniversary of the 1842 Chartist Riots in the Potteries, culminating in the Battle of Burslem on August 16th, the Arnold Bennett Society is organising this free event in Bennett Room of The Leopard Hotel, Burslem, on Tuesday August 15th at 7.00pm - a mixed media evening with a talk by prominent local Chartist historian Bob Fyson, some original speeches made at the time recited by actors David Bowen, Jacqueline Redgewell and myself, and a screening of my edited version created from original filming of The Jolly Potters taken by the great documentary filmmaker Philip Donnellan in 1964 for the BBC but never commissioned or broadcast (I've assembled the raw, separate takes into a complete chronological version following the original playscript held in the Victoria Theatre Archive). An added extra is film from 1930 showing the Chartist episode - including the final Burslem confrontation between soldiers and striking miners acted out be a cast of around 100 - featured in the City Historical Pageant staged in Hanley Park for the Josiah Wedgwood Bicentenary.

Jason Hill, North Staffordshire Trades Union Council, says:-

On August 15th, we shall be commemorating the 175th anniversary of the events that took place in North Staffordshire in 1842, which are credited with helping to forge trade unionism and direct action as a powerful tool in British industrial relations.

The initial spark was the decision, in early June 1842, by W.H.Sparrow, a Longton coal mine owner, to disregard the law and fail to give the statutory fortnight's notice before imposing a hefty pay reduction of almost a shilling a day on his workers. The miners went on strike and soon surrounding colliery workers began showing support. The strike cause was championed by the Chartists, who called for a General Strike across the Potteries. By the end of July strikes were endemic across North Staffordshire.

On 15th August prominent Chartist orator Thomas Cooper gave a speech at Crown Bank in Hanley, urging "that all labour cease until the People's Charter becomes the law of the land." The following day, August 16th, Thomas Powys, a Burslem magistrate and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the county, ordered troops to fire on a procession of strikers in Burslem. Josiah Heapy, a textile worker from Leek, was killed and many more wounded.

A total of 274 people were brought to trial in the special assizes that followed, of whom 146 were sent to prison and 54 were transported to Australia. This did not dent the popularity of trade unionism: the Miners' Association of Great Britain and Ireland was formally established on 7 November 1842 and the United Branches of Operative Potters was established on 6 September 1843.

Jason Hill, of North Staffordshire Trades Union Council, said: “The events of 1842 formed the birth of industrial trade unionism in North Staffordshire. We are marking the 175th anniversary of the August 1842 demonstrations with a special event in the Leopard Hotel, Burslem on August 15th. Later this year, we shall be unveiling a plaque in Burslem commemorating these events, and marking the sacrifice of Josiah Heapy.”



Wed 20th September      7.45pm


On the anniversary of Jack Baskeyfield's death at Arnhem on 20th September 1944, this is a film by Staffordshire University film students based around an new interview with filmmaker Bill Townley. From 1967 to 1969 Bill laboured at his own expense to film and produce a feature-length action film in Cinemascope charting the actions of Jack Baskeyfield which would see him awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Cleaned, restored and digitised by the Staffordshire Film Archive several years ago, Bill's film remains a remarkable achievement and excellently produced film. The evening will feature wartime archive footage, extracts from Bill's film and behind-the-scenes documentary material.