Accents only come to life when you listen to them.  Here are some examples.

Click Here to go to the videos page and SEE it being spoken.
Or if you want some practice, consult some written Northumbrian here.

Since the era of Dr Johnson, there has been a steady interest amongst historians and academics in the origins and evolution of language.  On our own history pages we have provided a very brief overview of how Northumbrian originated, where its traits came from, and how it has evolved to what we have today.

Heddon-on-the-Wall 1953
How to make a cartwheel
Thomas Mosscrop, (b.1879, male, retired joiner)
Thomas describes in intricate detail the making of a cartwheel. The speaker’s grandchild enters and is addressed briefly during the course of the recording.


Uswayford, Alwinton
Neil Telfer,  (b.1935/08/15, male, quarry manager)
Neil remembers the isolation of the family farm he grew up on in Uswayford on the fells above Alwinton. He describes how provisions were delivered to such a remote location and the measures taken to prepare for the possibility of being cut off in winter. He speaks admiringly of his mother cooking for such a large household. Windyhaugh is a hamlet in the Usway valley and Wooler a town to the northeast.


Our own Peter Arnold won a trophy in 2013 from the national dialect festival for this item, which was reported on ITV News.




The copyright and rights of the original owners and participants are acknowledged.

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2 thoughts on “Listening

  1. Trying to find an interview with my grandfather made in the “60”s
    Frederick William
    Born at Allenheads,
    Northumberland and
    lived there all of his life.
    Please can you help?

    1. Hello Ian,
      Apologies for the delayed reply to your enquiry. It sounds from the date as though your grandfather took part in the English Dialect survey, originated by Professor Orton, based at Leeds University. I understand that studies are still taking place about the many recordings made by that initiative. I fact, it was only earlier this week that I discovered the following link to the current repository

      If you were to make further enquiries at Leeds, I feel pretty sure you could track the original recording down. We’d be very interested in any recollection you may have of when the recorders came to visit, and of course whatever the outcome of your enquiries may be.

      Bonne Chance!

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