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.