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The National Forest’s LANDshapes project interview with Maurice West

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LANt023 Maurice West
LANDshapes Oral History interview summary

In this absorbing recording listen to Maurice West as he talks of his life and experiences as a miner. Born in Burton-on-Trent, Maurice was taken to live in Coton Park as a "Babe in arms" and says that Coton Park was then known as 'Strip and at it' because "… if you were from outside Coton Park, you wouldn't have dare walk through because the kids used to have you, the parents would have you"!. Share Maurice's happy memories of playing cricket at 'Top Field' and learning to swim as a child "We used to rock the brook up, leave it for a couple of hours… three hours… go home and have a jam sandwich and then, when we got back, it would be deep enough to swim in".

Join Maurice down the pit as he recalls the camaraderie of living and working in a close-knit mining community; learn about what an 'Ossenter' did and find out about bat-picking and ring-dragging. Discover the dangers of "Chucking a length on" and hear about the "Little Demons" that helped the process. Find out why Maurice says that "There weren't a more gaseous pit than Cadley" and listen as he talks about the pit closures saying that he feels "Sad. Sad because it were a way of life and it were my way of life…. you'll never get the comradeship that you had at a pit, even now. If I'm in Swad 'Hey up you. How are you'? you know? 'Wish Cadley were open again'. And I still get that…. Loved my job… loved it"

Interviewer: Roger Kitchen.
Interview Date: 15/03/2005
Landshape Zone: Leicestershire and Derbyshire Coalfield
Parish: Swadlincote and surrounds
Location: Church Gresley, Derbyshire,
Date of birth: 1938
Location of Original: Originals held with The National Forest Company.
Reference LANt023

Photo of Maurice West

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Last updated: 15/9/2005
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