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The Arthur Wood Collection

What is the Arthur Wood Collection?

The Arthur Wood Collection is a set of hundreds of audio recordings, originally on tape, which were retained privately by Arthur Wood. Most are recordings of programmes he made when he was at Education Producer at Radio Stoke, some were made by other Radio Stoke producers, and a few were made privately by Arthur for personal interest. Most of the recordings date from the 1970s and 80s with a few from the 1960s. They form a unique portrait of the culture and heritage of the Potteries and surrounding areas in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire. As Radio Stoke's 50th anniversary falls in 2018, the Collection is also a timely showcase of BBC local radio as it was in its earlier days.

The HLF has funded the Revealing Voices project to digitise and catalogue at least 440 of the recordings.

The resulting digitised, catalogued Arthur Wood Collection of archive audio recordings will be shared at community events throughout the project, and will eventually be held by Stoke-on-Trent City Archives and the National Sound Archive for permanent public access.

What's in the collection?

We're still listening to all the digitised recordings to find out exactly what they contain, but broadly the themes in the collection include:

  • “Within living memory” personal recollections of early 20th century and even 19th century life in and around the Potteries and North Staffordshire / South Cheshire area
  • first-hand accounts of local areas and community life
  • local industries and trades
  • railways and transport
  • the built and natural environment
  • both World Wars, the Depression and the Great Strike
  • local history, heritage and folklore
  • dialect and language
  • creative writing
  • drama productions
  • schools programmes
  • personal memoirs of canal-working in the earlier parts of the 20th century, from all over the country.


On The Cut originals

For his series On The Cut Arthur Wood interviewed people from all over the country who had worked on or alongside the canal in the earlier years of the twentieth century. The resulting series was broadcast across the BBC network in 1985, and provoked such widespread interest that it was released as a cassette tape boxed set.

We’re delighted to be working on Arthur’s full original unedited research interviews for On The Cut. Most of this material has never been broadcast or heard publicly, making it a particularly special collection.