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28 October 2014
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Telling Lives


A dirty-faced David Edwards
A dirty-faced David Edwards

The day I got the sack

David tells us about his childhood adventures on the back of a coal wagon ...


What's your story about?

My story is about two of the many “adventures” that I had when growing up in Silloth on Solway. It is about innocent childhood. Those days were far less regulated and, dare I say it, paranoid than nowadays and children spent much more time outside using their imagination and learning about the world.

My parents must have been very concerned at some of my stunts but they never showed it and my childhood was one of fun and exploration.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?

video Watch David's story here ... >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

Although it happened a long time ago this story has always been a strong memory for me. Silloth has a timelessness to it and  the charm of the town is that it seems to be trapped in an earlier, happier time.

David and his father
David and his father

Every time I visit I am transported back, if you pardon the pun, to that trip on the coalman’s wagon and the long walk back home to the welcoming smells of the Ritz Café and my uncle’s wonderful ice cream. The story will now be available for my family via the internet and the use of technology to tell a childhood tale from a time before personal computers were invented has a nice synchronicity.

What was the experience of making your digital story like?

The facilities are first class and the tutors are knowledgeable, patient and extremely helpful. The other learners were from a cross section of age groups and backgrounds and all had interesting stories to tell. It helped very much to be alongside other beginners. The process was at first quite daunting but we were soon confident enough to work through the capture and editing of images to match the audio of our stories which we recorded at the BBC Radio Cumbria studios.

It will be very disappointing if this sort of project is not repeated. The Cumbria Institute of the Arts  should seriously consider running some evening classes for the use of the local community as its facilities are so good. This would be a tremendous opportunity for older people like me to learn some new skills. 

Please tell us about yourself.

Outside the Ritz Cafe in Silloth
Outside the Ritz Cafe in Silloth

I was brought up in Silloth, where my father worked on the aerodrome and my uncle owned the Ritz Café. We moved to Carlisle when my father got a job working on the Blue Streak rocket at Spadeadam. After attending Carlisle Grammar School I went away to Brighton to study computer science.

I worked for a large multinational finance company for 28 years and returned to live in Carlisle again some four and a half years ago. I do some business consultancy work but spend much of my time doing voluntary work and pursuing other interests such as photography, painting and writing.

I am working with two of my cousins to digitally capture the many images that have passed down to us through our family and to put them into the context of the family history.

 I recently had the good fortune to be a “radio reporter for a day” with BBC Radio Cumbria.

last updated: 25/04/06
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