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MAURICE WIGGIN

Maurice Samuel Wiggin was born in Bloxwich in 1912. His family owned a 'horse furniture' factory there - JJ Wiggin Ltd - founded by his grandfather in the nineteenth century, and Maurice grew up familiar with the 'hiss and suck of the monstrous piston, the slowly moving oily crank' and the 'scent of hot metal and slurry and sweat'.

He went to primary school in Bloxwich and then moved to a grammar school in Walsall for his secondary education. Thereafter, following a brief interlude of teaching, he went up to Oxford in 1931 to read English literature. Graduating (with a disappointing Third in 1934), he took his first job in journalism at the Birmingham Evening Despatch.  In 1939 he moved to London for a new job as features editor of the Daily Express, and began writing for the Sunday Times, first with angling and country columns and later as a TV critic. When the war intervened, and now married, he joined the RAF for the duration.

Maurice began fishing at the age of six, not on rivers but on the canals, or in the 'black depths of pit pools among the towering slag heaps' of the Black Country, and developed an abiding and deep love of water and nature which remained with him for life.

'Of course, people who are starved of streams become connoisseurs of canals, unlikely though it may seem to the more fortunate. We would cycle our behinds into blisters to reach a particularly well-spoken-of cut, way up on the Shropshire border of halfway to Wales or down in darkest Warwickshire. When we got there it was never any better than the canals at our doorstep.'

In his teens he purchased a New Hudson motor-cycle and from then on was able to travel further afield for his fishing, to the Welsh Marches, the Severn and Wye and Dee 'and their enchanted tributaries', often in search of  chub.

Maurice was the Angling Correspondent  of the Sunday Times for ten years, for the Manchester Daily Dispatch for three and for the Evening Standard (under a pen-name) for two. Angling, along with motor-car racing, were his two great passions but at the age of forty-six, after a tussle with a grand old trout, he stopped fishing, quite suddenly, and never took it up again.

He died at the age of 74, in 1986 in Herefordshire.

Maurice Wiggin published twelve books, many of which were about fishing, or autobiographical. containing stories of his fishing expeditions.The Passionate Angler, in our view his best fishing book, has been out of print for many years but it is as relevant and entertaining today as it was when it was first published in 1949 and Medlar is delighted to be able to publish this edition to add it to its list of great angling titles. We are also delighted to be able to include the original illustrations drawn by his great friend John Pézare.