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Literary Lancashire

07 February 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Students exhibit local dialect project findings at Harris Museum

The literary talents of Lancastrians throughout history have been brought to life by a community history research group from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Four UCLan history students; Jess Isherwood, Josh Jenkinson, James Moss and Leigh Stewart, have discovered through a course project how Lancashire has inspired many authors and poets over the years.

The second year students became focused on Lancashire’s dialect poetry after finding the vast amount of work written by local poets about the county throughout the ages, from the industrial revolution to the modern day.

“We want to show how Lancashire has a deep historical relationship with literature.”

The group hopes the project will communicate the history and importance of literature from Lancashire, providing a talking point for both older and younger generations well as passionate dialect poets. 

Student Josh Jenkinson commented: “We want to show how Lancashire has a deep historical relationship with literature.”

We looked at authors from Elizabeth Gaskell to contemporaries such as Josephine Cox and hope by dedicating our project to Lancashire’s dialect poetry it will help the community to rediscover the unique language of the county.”

Fellow student Jess Isherwood commented: “Dialect poetry from the industrial revolution gives a great insight to life in Lancashire at that time.

“The impact of the American Civil War also inspired local poets such as Edwin Waugh to write about the hardships the people of Lancashire suffered during the cotton famine which happened 150 years ago this year.  We hope that through this project we can bring these experiences to life for modern Lancashire residents.”

The findings have been brought together for a display at Preston’s Harris Museum and Art Gallery that was launched today with special guest, Lancashire dialect historian, Sid Calderbank. 

The performer, who tours the county promoting and celebrating the works of Victorian dialect authors, joined the students at the exhibition to give a short poetry recitation.

"The Lancashire dialect is the remains of an ancient language that is in danger of being lost so projects such as this are essential to show younger generations where our language comes from and how it relates to Lancashire’s heritage.”

Sid commented: “It’s very encouraging that these young people are interested in our local dialect and want to share it with the public. 

"The Lancashire dialect is the remains of an ancient language that is in danger of being lost so projects such as this are essential to show younger generations where our language comes from and how it relates to Lancashire’s heritage.”

This latest community history project will be on display for three weeks and is another successful example of student work having a wider relevance for the local community.

Previous years have seen projects covering the history of Preston’s cinema while concurrent projects are covering areas of local history such as the Co-Operative Movement and the history of the Lancashire Evening Post.