Friday, 4 March 2016


A Part-Time Dictionary for Haslingdonians 
(only to be used now and again!)

A selection of "local words" which some are very interesting and mentioned here, I like to think maybe HASLINGDEN (or certainly LANCASHIRE) words, which people outside of the area, usually look at your and always say – WHAT?

(I am rooting through all clothes because soon we will be flitting to a house with a ginnel running under it, but it’s very slutchy in back garden and we will be lucky if we can play murps on its surface. It’s very parky today and I will need to wrap up before climbing up Brew to get to this new house. On way up we noticed “a bit of a tuttle” coming down.)

Descriptions are purely based on what we think the words might mean!

GINNEL – a narrow width footpath (with debate on whether or not it should have a covered in roof or not, or maybe does not matter either way - covered or uncovered).

SNICKET – a narrow width footpath (with a open top and bordered each side with a hedgerow)

FLITTING - removing house

SLUTCHY – meaning very muddy underfoot

UP THEM DANCERS – Meaning go up to bed (retire upstairs) dancers meaning stairs

UP THEM JOHNNY HORNERS  - Again meaning to go up to bed

IT’S PARKY – it’s very cold. (Parka is a warm waterproof coat with hood originally worn by Eskimos)

BREW – another name for a hill whilst walking (Climbing up the Brew)

MURPS – a local name given for marbles

ROOTING – looking for items amongst jumbled up items

BIT OF A TUCKLE (OR TUTTLE)  A lady who dressed different to the norm was called

 BONK meaning "Hill" as in "Lets play up Bonk"

CRAMMED  not in the correct meaning of tightly packing, but by the meaning of "being annoyed and off hand with everyone"

HOYND or maybe OINED as in the meaning to be pestered

Interesting local word associations:

Chris Reid commented: “It was a common saying about people with bandy or bow legs, that they couldn’t stop a pig in a Ginnel!  I always wondered where that saying arose from, it is a nasty comment really, but maybe back in the day it was not meant with the same type of nastiness”

Derek Whittaker commented: There was, and still is, a ginnel between Maple and Rosewood Ave’s up t’shoot.  It had an ash surface that was ideal for playing marbles (or murps) on.  We used to dig an heel in, spin round, making a small pit.  This was called the “NUG”.  A white marble with bright red swirls was called a “BLOOD ALLY”.

David Cardwell  commented  "Put wood i'thoyell" meaning to "shut the door after you come in"

Marie Ives commented  "My auntie used to say about someone (mainly female) if she was unkempt "who's no shap" she always said who instead of she!

Deborah Armstrong commented "Lets play up Bonk" - Lets play up on Hill

Marie Ives commented that if she wasn't doing a job quick enough her Aunt would say "Cum on get Agate"

Marie Ives remembers her dad saying if some had been repaired or mended
"Av feckled thad"

Jean Tomlinson  Her Grandparents would say "shap thisen" meaning "Com on get going"

Julie Greenhalgh commented "My old boss, if he didn't believe what you said would say "if that's reet I'll show "mi a-se at Big Lamp!" (others say Commercial)"

Marie Ives commented - When I came home and asked Dad where Mum was he always said "Back O Gatties i rain tub" Never knew where Gatties was, does somebody else know who has Hassy roots?

Jean Tomlinson commented - Her Grandparents would say "Slop Stone" meaning stone sink or drain

Michael Mullaney commented:  Whilst not claiming its roots in Haslingden, the saying used regularly by Margaret Walsh my Grandmother was "fag ae Bolla thurryup carts coming"
This was brought to Haslingden by the Boston, USA Irish.  Its interpretation is "get out of the way the police cart is coming" 
Equally when inquiring as to what was for dinner her reply would be "Pigs a-se and cabbage".
Another saying was "Julia Flarter" used in a friendly way to name a difficult girl child.

"Rek O'thi hey" meaning to check how vertically straight with just the eye (forget the plumb-bob)

More local sayings:

Deborah Armstrong commented "Shut your cake hole"

Chris Howarth commented "Buggerluggs"

Raymond Halstead commented "A reet Digdag"

Eunice Parfitt
commented, her Gran would say "Its blowin a hooligan out there!"

John R Edwards commented "Gobsh*te" - One who talks a lot of rubbish

Other local sayings/customs etc:

Maureen Nash says "when it was thundering my mum used to say "that God is mad with someone", and when it was lightning she would open both front and back doors, and said that if it strikes this house "it can come in one door and go out of the other"

Derek Whittaker  remembers saying "Do you fancy a game of "Knick Knack"? which meant knocking on someone's door and then running away quickly and peering from somewhere to see if they had come and opened the door and looking around for someone

Derek Whittaker tells a Haslingden joke - Went t'vets with t'cat - He said "Is it a Tom"? "No" I said, I brought it with me".

Maybe not just as local but still used today

Derek Whittaker  Living together, not married = "living over the brush"
Terry McGuire I'm sure we all knew someone who had done a "moonlight flit"
Terry McGuire  "Gormless" (Gaumless) meaning "dopey"
Terry McGuire - "traipsing" meaning to wander about aimlessly
Susan Coyle  "Fell Off a Flittin" - You look like you have been dragged through a hedge backwards!

Again it’s been fun getting these names together and I am sure many more will come along soon, but for now it’s thanks to the following for their great contributions:

Chris Howarth, Alison May, Chris Reid, Karen Ratty Marsh, Peter Taylor, Marie Ives, Deborah Armstrong, Derek Whittaker, Sheila Ryan Lucking, Eileen Webster, David Cardwell, Mike Ryan, Lorraine Brumpton, Raymond Halstead, Maureen Nash, Eunice Parfitt, Chris Kirby, Terry McGuire, Peter Fielding, John Megan Edwards, Ron Baron, Julie Greenhalgh, Susan Coyle, Michael Mullaney, Jean Tomlinson, John R. Edwards.  


"The Apprentice Initiation" 

All I did was ask the question “CAN YOU REMEMBER THESE?” – When some of us started work at 15 you may well have been asked, something like – Go over there lad and ask Fred for a “BUCKET OF STEAM” or go over there girl and ask Frieda for a “LONG STAND”.  And there were plenty of others as well which I have selected some and printed below:-

Go and get a “GLASS HAMMER”
Go and get a “TIN OF TARTAN PAINT”
Go and get me some “VIRGIN WATER”
Go and get me “BOWMAN’S CAPSULE” from the hospital pharmacy
Go and get me a “BEVELLED CHALK LINE”
Go to the electrician “FOR A BOX OF SHORT CIRCUITS”
Go and get me “A TIN OF ELBOW GREASE”
Go and get me “A SKY HOOK”
Alternate to Long Stand was:
Go and ask for a "LONG WEIGHT" (a favourite for tacklers!)

It was great and thanks to all those who participated:  Andrew Bridge, Janette Jones, Kathleen Barlow, Chris Reid, Peter Taylor, Liz Wright, Jim Nuttall, Sandra Hayhurst Trainer, Derek Fitton, Gordon Fox, Ellen Dewhurst, Andrew Metcalfe, Mary Gallagher, Deborah Armstrong, Rachel Bannister, Maureen Nash Peter Fisher, Allan Halshaw, Maria Meadowcroft, Peter Sansom, Raymond Halstead, Peter Fielding, Ian Kendall, Ann Taylor, Neil Dunn, Stew Smith, Mike Ryan, Tim Kirby, Ralph Clark, Joe Harrison, Eddie Wilkinson. 

Email received from MICHAEL MULLANEY on 4th March 2016 reads:

"A Shrove Tuesday tradition no longer witnessed possibly due to the passing of traditional apprenticeships, was seeing the apprentices who were in their final year being chased around the town by the tradesmen from S.S. Stotts and also the cotton mills, who if caught would be defrocked so to speak and subjected to a similar fate to tar and feathering.  If they stayed at liberty until 12 noon they were allowed to return to work as victorious over the tradesmen

8th March 2016 (Apprenticeship Initiations)Derek Whittaker remembers:  - I remember the Shrove Tuesday "shenanigans" mentioned by Michael Mullaney.  At Porritts and Spencer's, Sunnybank Mill, it was also thought that no matter what you did before noon as an apprentice you couldn't be sacked.  I tested this theory one year by putting senapods in the tea of the other electricians - Teddy Wilkinson, Stan Griffiths, Billy Metcalfe and Jimmy McQuade   -  Derek

And yes! there was such a thing as a "Glass Hammer"

On 15th March 2016 Joe Royle wrote: 

I've just been mooching through your excellent blog, and I came across the reference to glass hammers in the "The Apprentice Initiation" section. 
After leaving Haslingden, in the early 80s, I had a job making training and educational videos. One that I made was for Pilkington Glass in St. Helens, the theme being the strength and versatility of glass.
The film showed the making of a glass hammer, about the size of a 2lb lump hammer, and glass 6 inch nails, the highpoint was at the end when the hammer was used to drive the nails through a 3 inch thick block of wood!
I filmed the event from behind ballistic screens, but there was not a single splinter or accident!
Cheers, Joe