Regional/Local Accents/Dialects can tie you in knots

I recall some years back having need to phone a call centre based in Glasgow; I had no idea what the person talking to me on the other end of the line was on about as he was talking pure ‘Glasgow patter’.

My Grandad on my Dad’s side who lived in Kirkby-In-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire for most of his life would say to me as a teenager that I had the worst Scouse accent he’d ever heard and that I was speaking far too quickly anyway for him to be able to work out what I was on about. I had been born in the same mining community but had left it when 6 years old spending 4 years in Rochdale and then the rest of my life to date on Merseyside. My accent will be predominately of Merseyside but with bits of Lancashire and Notts thrown in too.

St Wilfrid’s Church – Kirkby-In-Ashfield*

The interesting thing is that when I go back to Kirkby, which I do every couple of years, I can just switch back on to the local dialect/accent and pick up on it after all these years (56) away from my original home town.

Kirkby Cross*

What brought all this to mind was a recent phone conversation with a chap (Keith Murray) who was at one time a Kirkby resident and who still lives in Nottinghamshire. Our chat was about railways but he put me onto a piece he’d written in what he calls ‘Kerkbiese’ – you’ll need to click on the scans below to try to read them:-

If you’ve got through all that and you’ve never previously encountered a Notts accent then well done. If you found it hard going then you probably feel like I did when I was speaking to that chap from Glasgow all those years ago. The other point goes back to what my Grandad (Bill Robertson) used to say i.e. the speed of talking. There’s no doubt in my mind that in Liverpool people talk much faster than they do down in Nottinghamshire so it’s no surprise that a combination of dialect, speed of delivery and accent can make understanding very hard going.

Note: This posting links back to my previous one regarding Steaming back to Kirkby Loco, accessible via the link below, as it’s how I got in contact with Keith Murray:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2021/01/30/steaming-back-to-kirkby-loco-book-review/

* The two photos of paintings by an A Baldwin (one dated 1969) were found in my Dad’s house when I was clearing it out after he had passed on. I wonder who A Baldwin was and how my Dad picked up these paintings?

The Mansfield & Pixton Railway

You learn something new every day and what I’ve recently learned is that England’s oldest continuously running commercial railway is one which ran through my former home town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield (Nottinghamshire) and within yards of where my maternal grandparents lived on the Town’s Urban Road prior to it being re-routed in 1892.

I learned all this via a most excellent book ‘The Story of the Mansfield & Pinxton Railway’ (cover photo above) which was written to coincide with the railway’s 200th anniversary in 2019. What’s more despite some re-routing this is a railway that’s still running.

There’s a companion walking guide booklet to go with the hard backed 98 page book and a DVD too. Rarely have I come across such well researched and presented work; all these items are a credit to the volunteers who put them together and the Heritage Lottery Fund who helped finance their project.

My home Town of Kirkby has had a significant and complex railway history and this project looks at one part of that history in considerable detail. The book is illustrated by many historic photographs and a two page spread map which helps you put the Mansfield & Pinxton Line in context with the other railways that were around it. Part of the track bed now forms the railway which the reopened/rebuilt (1993 – 1998) ‘Robin Hood Line’ occupies.

My own photo of the present Kirkby-in-Ashfield Station taken in April 2009.

A few facts about the M&P – The line opened in April 1819 with horse drawn trucks. The first known passenger service along it was in 1832. The Midland Railway bought the M&P in 1847.

I’ve read a lot of railway books and I can really recommend this one; it has been a joy to read.

If you’d like a copy* there’s information on the M&P 200 website about how to obtain one:-

www.mansfieldandpinxton200.btck.co.uk/

Click on the scan or photo to enlarge them

* At just £5 plus £3 P&P for such a beautiful hard back book you can’t go wrong…….

Editor’s Note – I was born on Orchard Road Kirkby-in-Ashfield and lived in the Town until the age of 6 in 1964. I return every now and again as I still have a relative living there. The photo above was taken on one such visit. My maternal grandparents – Walter & Annie Calladine – lived at 31 Urban Road where my Mum Sheila also lived until marriage to my Dad – George – who was from Hampden Street and the son of Bill & Nellie Robertson. I live in ‘exile’ in Lydiate on Merseyside as a consequence of my Dad working in and managing shops for the former travel agents Thomas Cook starting in Nottingham until his retirement from their Southport shop. I’m a railway enthusiast as a consequence of watching trains with Grandad Calladine at the former Station Street level crossing in the early 1960’s.

Steaming back to Kirkby Loco – Book Review

I’m a Kirkby lad although I’ve not lived there since 1964. I’m talking about Kirkby-In-Ashfield Nottinghamshire by the way.

The other day I ordered a booklet titled ‘Steaming Back To Kirkby Loco – Poetry & Motion’ by Keith Murray and David Amos. To be honest I was not sure what would be mailed back to me but at £3.50 including postage it was worth a punt to try to reconnect myself with my childhood train watching with Grandad Walter Calladine at the Town’s former level crossing on Station Street. I’ve blogged about my memories of this previously and here’s a couple of links:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/01/29/where-i-caught-the-train-bug/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/07/20/the-place-where-it-all-started-kirkby-in-ashfield-station/

So to the booklet which I note has been supported in its production by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It includes quite a number of photos which I’d not seen before of Kirkby Motive Power Depot, the adjacent Kirkby-in-Asfield Station (East) and Summit Colliery. Many of these photos are in the Care of Kirkby Heritage Centre which has a shop unit on Kingsway in the Town. But the interesting twist in this booklet is that much of the story of the loco shed and those who worked at it is told using poetry and prose and it’s done very well too. There’s a colour photo on page 42 of The Station Street level crossing in the early 1960’s by Graham Upchurch with people standing at the gates watching and waiting for a train to pass and gates to open again. That shot could easily have me as a 4 to 6 year old and Grandad Walter in it.

My uncle Ken Calladine was I understand a driver on the railway and I think he was based at Kirkby Shed. Unfortunately I don’t know any detail of his work but maybe someone out there can fill in the blanks?

I enjoyed the booklet which really did reconnect me with my childhood in Kirkby and my lifelong love of trains. On the very last page there’s a couple of photos of Keith Murray’s OO scale model of Kirkby Loco Shed and Kirkby-in-Ashfield Station (East) at a 2019 Elizabethan Model Railway Society event. I’d really love to see that………. I’ve found a You Tube video from an exhibition held by the Society back in 2018 and if you run the video from 9 minutes in you’ll see the excellent Kirkby layout:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f6fRAAp0IQ

Well worth the read, if you have a connection with Kirkby-in-Ashfield. I gained my copy by sending a £3.50 cheque payable to Mine2Minds Education and included my contact details and address to David Amos, Mine2Minds Education, 46 Lawrence Avenue, Eastwood, NG16 3LD

And if you have a moment have a look and listen to this song on You Tube Video by Dave Goulder all about the famous Kirkby turntable accident:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGxj0OdS2I

The Bodyline Hypocrisy – Book Review

As a Kirkby, Notts born lad Larwood has always been a hero of mine and I’d previously read Duncan Hamilton’s 2009 book – Harold Larwood. Then, more recently, I came across Michael Arnold’s book – The Bodyline Hypocrisy. Having long thought that Larwood and his captain Jardine (not forgetting fellow Notts fast bowler Bill Voce of course) had been used and abused by cricketing authorities to serve wider political ends this book goes into such issues in great detail. Suffice to say it has confirmed my view.

Statue of Harold Larwood in my (and his) own home town of Kirkby-In-Ashfield. Before it was moved for redevelopment.

The 1932/33 tour Down Under by a good quality England Team turned out to be the most controversial series just about ever not least because of the accuracy of Larwood’s fast bowling. He could seemingly drop a cricket ball on a sixpence regularly, an art that very, very few really fast bowlers have ever been able to do. Couple that with a captain who knew how to expose the weaknesses in the Australian batting and a great partnership, across a class divide, was created. Add to that the poor condition of the Austrian pitches, which were actually the cause of two infamous incidents where Aussie batsman were seriously hurt, and the fact that the Australians had a poor bowling line up and all that was left to Australians was to complain and complain they did!

I would have loved to have met Harold Larwood but the nearest I was to come was hearing my Mum (Sheila Calladine) talking about being at (Vernon Road?) school, Kirkby-In-Ashfield with one of his daughters – I think that will have been June Larwood.

All in all this book is indeed a good read in cricketing terms but also in helping the reader to understand the times in which the controversy took place and the mind set of Australians.

I was born in Orchard Road Kirkby-In-Ashfield in 1958 and lived there until the age of 6 with my Mum & Dad Sheila & George Robertson. Now exiled on Merseyside I visit Kirkby occasionally.

Kirkby-In-Ashfield – An interesting historical perspective of my original home town

www.miningheritage.co.uk/summit-circular-a-look-into-kirkby-in-ashfields-industrial-past/

I came across this website via a posting on the facebook Page of Kirkby Living Memory (Heritage Centre) and very interesting it is too. Having been born in Kirkby in 1958, lived there until the age of 6 and still having a relative in the Town whom I visit now and again it filled in some gaps in my knowledge of it.

What’s in the box? Bits & bobs that may come in useful – as kept by most men

This innocuous wooden box (you can see the side of it above) which I’m guessing was made to store a form of fishcakes, started life in the early 1960’s or even 1950’s. I know where it was sourced from and what it’s been used for through two generations of my family; my Dad and me that is.

It came from The Fish Shop on The Hill in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and if memory serves the shop was run by a Jean Parks or Parkes who was a friend of my Mother Sheila Robertson (nee Calladine). I recall being taken into the shop as a very young lad in the early 1960’s as we lived close to The Hill in Orchard Road.

It’s been used firstly by my Dad (George Robertson) and since by me for storing bits and bobs in; things that men seem to collect which we think will come in useful one day so to speak.

My Dad kept screws, nails and bolts in it whereas I, in tune with modern day living, keep phone chargers and cables in it.

It may be just an old wooden box but there’s some family and Kirkby-In-Ashfield history in it for me, which I often think of when use it.

We left Kirkby in 1964 when I was but 6 years old.