..Wigan Dialect

A Collection of Lancashire Dialect Poems, Photographs, Phrases & Sayings from around the Wigan area. By Jeff Unsworth

Memry's ( Translation )


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Youthful Memories

Picking Coal

Things come flooding back into your head every now and again, things you can remember from years ago.
Things like going to pick coal off the railway bankings at Platt Bridge, near to the Canal Bridge.
My nana with a bike, a pair of sacks, and me.
Sometimes it would be big lumps of coal that had fallen off the wagons. Or a load of nutty slack or sometimes a pile of coke.
Whatever it was, we always got two bags full.
My nana, even though she was only about four foot ten tall, would sling one sack over the peddles and the other over the cross bar.
Then I would climb on the top of the sack and she would push it all the way home.


Sat on the Pro steps

I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 year old.
The Procial hall was a wooden building that stood at top of our backs in Tram St Platt Bridge.
They used to have dancing there at Saturday nights.
Just to the side of the Procial Hall in Tram St was the Catholic Club, where my grandfather used go for a pint.
Now, they used to pile all the empty beer bottles outside of the door. We used sit on the Pro steps until coast was clear, then nip across and steal some of the ale bottles and drink all the bits that was left,


Collecting Peelings

We would aquire a couple of sacks and then we would go round to the houses collecting peelings.
Have you got any potato peelings missus.
The best time was Sunday afternoon, after they had all had the Sunday dinner.
We would have one sack full of peelings and the other filled we old stale bread.
We would sling them into a home made wooden truck, which had two wheels off some old pram. It would have two long wooden handles.
We would then push it all the way up to Barons farm just past slag tip at Higher Ince.
The farmer used to let us tip all the peelings in to the tub ourselves.
This tub was either an old tin bath or an old oil drum.
This tub was always on the boil.
I can still smell it now when I think about it.
He'd pay us for what we had taken and then he'd let us go and look at Sally, which was a great big fat pig.


Slag Tip and Bullet Rock

Slag up Henfield Rd.

What a haven for kids to play. ( It was a lot safer in those days ) I would take a brown paper bag with a couple of jam sandwiches, a bottle of water and my catapult and I could stop out all day.
It was like an adventure.
You could do a bit of mountain climbing. That would be climbing one of the steeper faces of the slag tip. To me, that was like climbing the north face of the Eiger.
I can remember you would climb up and just as you got to the top a wild pigeon would fly off and you would be lucky if you didn't fall off.
I can remember especially around about bonfire time.
I only bought bangers. I thought all the other fireworks were for soft lads.
One of my favorite tricks was to collect a pile of rocks and set them on the edge, on top of the Slag tip.
Then I would empty all the powder out of the bangers and pile it under this pile of rocks.
Just like they did on the cowboy pictures. ( I thought I was a cow boy until I was 17 )
Then I would make a trail of gunpowder and then light it.
Made very good avalanche.

Next port of call….Bullet Rock.

Bullet Rock as it was known was a dumping ground for ammunitions.
All the children used to go and collect bullets or bullet shells.
The idea was to make arrows.
A piece of 5/16 round wood was just right for putting a bullet shell on the end.
And then you would throw it with a length of string, or flirt it using an elastic garter.
Or else, another way was to make yourself a bow out of a branch from a tree and string it with banding.
We were right ingenious in them days.
We were allways making something.

Trolleys, Pea guns.Trundles ( an old bike wheel we all the spokes took out) Whips, made out of banding ( string ) from one of the factories. Catapults, either a proper two leg cut from a tree, or a couple of pegs and some strips of bike inner tube, The pouch was the tongue cut out of your shoe.

Everything seemed to have its day.

One time it would be tops and whips. Then it would be dykes ( marbles ), then pea guns and so on.

The Delph

Another haunt for children.
At a certain time of the year, all the ferns were grown.
You could spend all day crawling about in the ferns.
You would go home at the end of the day with midge bites all over your arms and legs.
I can remember one of my favorite pastimes was lying on an over hanging branch waiting for water rats and shooting at them with my catapult or my air rifle.
Some of the things we did were very dangerous when you thinks about them now.
I would be frightened to death if I thought my child was up to the same sort of things today.
One of the most dangerous things I can remember doing was at a place in Higher Ince we called "Brickhill".
This was an old abandoned mine shaft with a brick tower around it.
We used to climb up on top of the these brick walls and balance all the way round. If we'd have fallen off we would have been dead.


Deep Pit

The Deep pit was a square lodge that was a place for fishing and swimming.
During the summer months, it used to be like going to the seaside.
All the mothers would take all the kids swimming. They'd lay all the towels down on to the floor and take sandwiches and pop.
Hindley golf course was just over the fence and often the golfers would knock the golf balls into the water.
We lads used to feel for the golf balls with our feet in the mud and then dive under the water to get them.
We used to love taking the outer cover off the balls and unraveling all the elastic to get the little pouch in the centre.


Picking Ackrits

This term " Ackrit " is as I remember it.
An Ackrit was a wild type of mushroom (grew about 3" to 6" tall and about 1" to 11/2" Diameter)
I can remember going to pick these wild mushrooms on the muck tip in between Belle Green Lane and the council estate at Higher Ince.
My father used to cook them in milk.

If any body knows anything about these. I would appreciate you letting me know.

Wigan Dialect Copyright © 1998 Jeff Unsworth

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