The study and appreciation of the life, works and times of Arnold Bennett

Reading Group visit to the Providence Works

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Members of the AB Reading group on a visit to the Providence Works, Middleport

7 November 2019 

Mynors’ works was acknowledged to be one of the best, of its size, in the district – a model three-oven bank, and it must be remembered that of the hundreds of banks in the Five Towns the vast majority are small, with this: the large manufactory with its corps of jacket-men, one of whom is detached to show visitors round so much of the works as is deemed advisable for them to see……..


‘At Minton’s I have seen a crate worth three hundred pounds.  But that one there is only worth eight or nine pounds.  You see you and I make cheap stuff.’  ‘But don’t you make any really good pots – are they all cheap?’  ‘All cheap,’ he said.  ‘I suppose that’s business?’  He detected a note of regret in her voice.  ‘I don’t know,’ he said, with slightest impatient warmth.  ‘We make the stuff as good as we can for the money.  We supply what everyone wants.  Don’t you think it’s better to please a thousand folks than to please ten?  I like to feel that my ware is used all over the country and the colonies.  I would sooner do as I do than make swagger ware for a handful of rich people.’

Anna pondered over the organising power, the forethought, the wide visitor, and the sheet ingenuity and cleverness which were implied by the contents of this warehouse. They walked to the end of the warehouse, glancing at everything. 

‘See here,’ said Mynors, ‘isn’t that pretty?’ He pointed through the last window to a view of the canal, which could be seen thence in perspective, finishing in a curve.  On one side, close to the water’s edge, was a ruined and fragmentary building, its rich browns reflected in the smooth surface of the canal.  On the other side were a few grim, grey trees bordering the towpath.  Down the vista moved a boat steered by a woman in a large mob-cap.  ‘Isn’t that picturesque’ he said.  ‘Very,’ Anna assented willingly.  ‘Its really quite strange such a scene right in the middle of Bursley.’  ‘Oh! there are others,’ he said.  ‘But I always take a peep at that whenever I come into the warehouse.’  ‘I wonder you find time to notice it – with all this place to see after,’ she said.  ‘It’s a splendid works.’  ‘It will do – to be going on with,’ he answered, satisfied.  

 

 

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