|The language of the
Potteries .. or
"Ar ter toke crate"
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Questions & Answers
see the BBC Radio Stoke
Voice Project on the
you're on your own for the others
On June the sixteenth 1960. a train spotter and a hedgehog trainer came down from Crewe to an address in Fenton in response to an advert in The Evening Sentinel for a 1953 Ford Prefect that was going for the bargain price of twenty pounds. After doing the deal, they went for some chips and happened upon a unique Potteries conversation.
The transaction involved a quantity of fish and chips for the sum of two shillings and fourpence.
Standing agog with amazement, the intrepid pair had just witnessed a typical North Staffordshire four duck transaction. After making their own purchases, they stood eating chips in the shop and found that duck transactions were many, varied and sometimes colourful.
Spreading the word of this weird and wonderful phraseology, they made regular sorties to The Potteries accompanied by friends and curious people, visiting all kinds of establishments where people came into contact. Eventually, the train spotter, after witnessing an amazing sixteen duck transaction in a Wright's Pie shop near Stoke Station, put pen to paper and wrote a large thesis on the phenomenon. By this time. coach loads of visitors from all over the country were descending upon the Five Towns to hear it all for themselves.
That first visit to The Potteries by the train spotter all those years ago laid the foundations of The Potteries tourist industry. People now come from all over the world to stand in chip shops, newsagents and to hang around market stalls to hear this wonderful means of communication for themselves. Over the years, Wedgwood have set up a visitor centre as have The Gladstone Pottery factory and Shugborough Hall - the ancestral home of the Earl of Lichfield.
If it wasn't for the word 'duck', Alton Towers would be a rest home for gentlefolk, Bridgemere Garden World nothing more than a swamp and the head of Staffordshire County Council tourism department would be a bus conductor, but because bus conductors don't exist anymore, he probably wouldn't be anything.
"Hey up duck!! 'Ow at?"
|Reproduced by permission from "Owd Grandad Piggott"
© Alan Povey
The origin of the term "duck"
also see a full glossary of potteries words
Reproduced by permission from "Owd Grandad Piggott"
|Want to know more? .. you can purchase books and tapes on the Potteries dialect:
questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks
18 Jan 2005