ARNOLD BENNETT - All Aboard Mr Bennett!
In October 1911 Arnold Bennett set sail for New York on the Lusitania. He was in his element, as the Lusitania was one of the first liners built to be like a floating hotel - and he admitted that his secret ambition had always been to be the manager of a grand hotel. In his book about his visit to the USA - Your United States - he details the workings of the ship and life on board, and we get his impressions of New York and places he visited illustrated with archive film.
For context: Also in 1911, the larger ship Olympic visited New York on her maiden voyage - her captain was Edward John Smith, also born in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. We see original film of her leaving New York and en route. The following year Smith would captain the sister ship to Olympic before he was due to retire - that ship was the Titanic. We hear expert insight into Lusitania/Olympic/Titanic and these “floating palaces”.
Three years after the Titanic disaster, in 1915, the Lusitania would be sunk by a U-Boat in WWI. We see a touching animation of the end of Lusitania - two months before Bennett visited the Western Front and wrote Over There. 40 min