Arnold Bennett and the census

Where was Arnold Bennett on census day?

On his yacht, of course, enjoying the fruits of his literary success.

Here’s the census return submitted form Bembridge, Hampshire.

Clisk the image to see a larger version.

His guest, John Black Atkins, had earlier in his career been a distinguished war correspondent, and was currently deputy editor of the Spectator; in 1925 he would become the magazine’s editor, and it was under his watch that the Spectator launched its first literary competition – beginning a tradition in which I have often taken a lively interest.

The census form lists nine people who are employed by ‘Arnold Bennett, author’. How many other writers of the time could boast such an entourage? Bennett took such pleasure in displaying his prosperity – no wonder Bloomsbury hated him.


  1. Tom Deveson
    Posted January 29, 2022 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Not to mention Ezra:

    ‘In the cream gilded cabin of his steam yacht
    Mr. Nixon advised me kindly, to advance with fewer
    Dangers of delay. “Consider
    Carefully the reviewer….’

  2. Dr. Barry A. Matthews
    Posted January 30, 2022 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir, Do you ever review forthcoming poetry collections? The poems are preceded by several short essays on the growing militarism of the UK and the old chestnut of the revisionist historians and interpretations of the Great War. If you wish I will forward you a pre-publication copy. Dr Barry Matthews ________________________________

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  1. […] on the Upper Richmond Road. And the number of servants was, I suppose, a good indicator of status. The eight crew members on Arnold Bennett’s yacht were a definite sign of his remarkable success and […]

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