Stoke & Staffordshire

Former Stoke-on-Trent home of writer Arnold Bennett to be restored

House
Image caption The building opened as the Arnold Bennett Museum in 1960

The former home of Stoke-on-Trent's most famous writer is set to be restored.

Arnold Bennett, who was born in 1867, lived in the house on Waterloo Road in Burslem during his teenage years.

His novels immortalised the Potteries and his reputation as a respected English realist writer was firmly established by his death in 1931.

The large three-storey red brick house was the fictional home of the eponymous hero Edwin Clayhanger in one of Bennett's most famous works.

In the novel Clayhanger, Bennett wrote: "...to Edwin it was not a house, it was a work of art, it was an epic poem, it was an emanation of the soul."

The building was bought in the 1950s by the city council and opened as the Arnold Bennett Museum in 1960.

It was later sold and turned into flats. Over recent years, it has remained, in part, derelict.

New owner, Mr Burhan Khan, now wants to restore the building to its former glory. He has applied for planning permission to turn it into his family home.

'Inspiring house'

"When we came to view it, it was literally just another house to us," said Mr Khan.

"It was only a few days before the actual auction that that we realised that it was Grade II listed and who the former owner was.

"When we found out it was Arnold Bennett's house, it took a bit to sink in.

"We had decided to rent out it out as bedsits, but as we got more involved, we decided to move in ourselves, because we knew no-one would take as good care of it as we would."

Professor Ray Johnson, vice president of the Arnold Bennett Society, said: "It's a very inspiring house.

"I would like to go back in... when it's a family house again and that's what it should be."

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