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13 November 2014

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History of Radio Stoke

You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Radio Stoke > History of Radio Stoke > "On The Cut"

Arthur wood

Arthur Wood

"On The Cut"

For canal enthusiasts, there is nothing better than hearing about the colourful history of the waterways. Thanks to the work of one North Staffordshire radio producer, Arthur Wood, they can listen to the authentic voices

Back in 1985, work was finally completed in the Radio Stoke studios on a huge project.
It's a project which would have challenged today's leading national broadcasters, even with the cash at their disposal.
But when you think it was essentially the work of just one radio producer, working on the sort of tiny budget provided on BBC local radio, it was an amazing feat.
Arthur Wood, whose 'day-job' was as Education Producer at Radio Stoke, had managed to record some one hundred hours of interviews out on location, and then edited them all, distilling them all down to ten half-hour documentary programmes.

It is a staggering achievement - and even more when you consider that Arthur also wrote the narrative script (and voiced it himself) and even wrote the music! Arthur was of course a distinguished jazz piano-player.

Canals man

Arthur, who died in 2005, was a canals-man. 
Raised in North Staffordshire, he was familiar with the many waterways that run through the area, and even chose to settle in a house near to the Cauldon.  He had his own boat.

However it was those who worked on the canals that fascinated him the most; and he decided to record memories of a disappearing way of life before they were finally lost for ever - and so began the "On The Cut" project.  "Cut" is of course the local dialect word for a canal.
Arthur described the opus as: "An account of day-to-day life on commercial waterways by the men and women who worked on, and alongside, some of the main canals of England in the earlier years of the 20th century."

Arthur Wood

For his 'On the Cut' series, Arthur received a number of awards and accolades. In the photo above, he picks up another award, from celebrity Michael Aspel


At one point, it was feared that the tapes were lost - until it was realised that the series had been so popular that Radio Stoke decided to sell copies of the series in cassette form. 
Luckily some people had retained their original sets from when they had bought them, and one set was found in pristine condition and was processed anew for a new generation of listeners.

Arthur Wood

Now, in the internet age, it is easier to let everyone hear these marvellous recordings again, and on this page all you have to do is click on the relevant link below and you can hear again those programmes from over twenty years ago.
But even more important is that the memories you will be allowed access to in this audio go back much further than that; and Arthur's hope, that those memories never be lost, will be realised ... each and every time you listen.

Our grateful thanks to Arthur's wife Moira who helped in making this page possible.

last updated: 10/11/2009 at 10:29
created: 05/02/2008

Have Your Say

What is your reaction to this project?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Alan Barnes
Well done BBC Stoke for making this fascinating series available online

Des Redwood
Absolute delight!

Laura Sturrock

Adrian Stewart
I listened to this when they came out on audio tapes years ago...then lost the tapes. Now I have found these I am so happy...

Hugh Potter
Brilliant. Are they available as a podcast?

As a waterways enthusiast I think this series is wonderful. Thank you very much.

Chris Potter

Steve Wood
The spelling is Caldon, not Cauldon ;-)

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