After all its our history and our local (or not so local) roots that make us who we are. Something's that's all too easy to forget in this age of the homogenous global internet culture. There are hundreds of regional dialects in the UK alone. We may all speak more or less the same language (English) but can on occasion struggle to comprehend each other. The Black Country has a particularly rich and unique dialect. It's said it has the highest percentage of vocabulary descending directly from Anglo-Saxon, making it one of the oldest dialects in England. You can check out some examples on this youtube clip. It's hard to believe on current linguistic trends that probably only English, Spanish and Mandarin will be spoken in the next hundred years and these will eventually merge into one global language in the next three to four hundred years.
But I digress, or to use a local colloquialism I'm going 'all around the Wrekin'. The main reason for sharing this picture of my father, (which also appeared on the facebook group Birmingham City Centre Past earlier in the year) is because its thirty years since he was interviewed as part of an oral history project about life in inner city Birmingham. I've made the interview available on Chirbit a website dedicated to sharing audio clips. It about 45 minutes long and focuses on the 'fast food' industry. Although it also touches on life in the Italian quarter, WWII and the contemporary politics of the day. Sadly my father passed away six months after this interview was recorded in 1984, before he could do a follow up interview.
The roast potato machine in the picture, which was also used to cook roast chestnuts, is coke fired and dates back to the late ninetieth century. It's now in the care of Birmingham museums and can be seen on display from time-to-time. The last time it was on show they used some of my father's recordings to illustrate the display. It was quite an experience walking into the museum and hearing his voice again! I hope, if you find the time to listen to the interview, you enjoy it.