Monday 14 May 2018

Ow foot toe crate

I've just been sidetracked into listening to an episode of Tongue and Talk: the dialect poets on th'i-player. I'm supposed to be proofreading something about logistics, but when your mother sends you an intriguing email it would be rude not to follow it up.

Mum is a real poetry buff: she reads it, writes it and performs it, usually from memory, which always impresses me. It seems this gift extended to her Aunt Lucy, who Mum says was as deaf as a post but nonetheless partial to a little recitation.

One of her party pieces was a poem called 'Bowton's Yard', by Yorkshire born but Lancashire bred dialect poet Samuel Laycock (1826-93), 'Laureate of the Cotton Famine'. This gem was based on a real terrace in Stalybridge, where Laycock lived, called Bolton's Yard. It describes in turn the inhabitants of this row of houses and was, apparently, a huge influence on Tony Warren, creator of Coronation Street. It's not hard to see why. You can listen to it here.

I was brought up in Uttoxeter in Staffordshire (or, as we would say, Utcheter in Staffyshire) and still have a few dialect words in my vocabulary (nesh, mardy, two-double, plattin' em), but I haven't really got a Staffs accent - except when I get angry or have spent too long back home with the folks. If you want to know what it sounds like, say the title of this post. It means 'How to speak correctly.'

Ta-ra. Let thee sen art.


  1. Julia, I went to school in Lichfield - and my parents still live there - so not far from you! Don't think I have a staffs accent either!