TREASURE OF THE WEEK. No. 8 – A FEAST OF FOOD AND DIALECT

In the basement of Bradford’s Local Studies Library are collections of nineteenth century pamphlets (and some of earlier date). Ranging from sermons and programmes of royal visits, to reports, articles, obituaries and regulations, they are a treasure-trove of local history. What follows is an account of one of these treasures. To consult any of these items please ask the staff. Card catalogues of these collections are located in the Local Studies Library.

JND 193/14 (Please quote this number if requesting this item)

 T’Yorksher Hogs’ Grand Dooment at T’Alexandra Hotel, Bradford, Yorkshire, 21st May, 1879. 4 pages. Text by Frederick F. BAKER.  Bradford: Wm Byles and Son, 1879.

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This unusual item is a glossy printed menu (T’stuff to go at) in dialect verse by the Manager of the Alexandra Hotel. There were five courses (tuck ahts) plus ‘finishin’-up Oddments’. Quite what the dooment (feast, merry making) was in aid of, or whose souvenir menu we have here, are both unknown, but I’m glad the stylish menu has been preserved. Forgive me for not quoting the menu in full, but my computer spell-check would drive me mad, and the script is in a Gothic typeface, which would drive any scanner mad! In any case, the menu is in the Library for anyone to see. It is worth a view. Here are a couple of ‘tasters’!

O’ t’famed Alexandra i’Bradford’s big tahn,
Whear they turn fleecy whool into fine frock an’gahn,
I’ Bradford i’Yorksher, that cahnty so big
Whear thear’s plenty o’ rahm ta eyt an’ to swig.

4th Tuck Aht

Then, withaht onny flam,
Thear’s a Baron o’ Lamb,
An’, by t’way a’ nice baits
Some brand New Pottates;
An’ some Beans three France,
As streyt as a lance;
An’ withaht onny chucklin’s,
Some Aylesbury Ducklin’s;
An’, sweet to be seen,
Some Peys ‘at are Green;
An’ for summat to drink,
‘At’ll mak ye all wink,
Some Burgundy grand
O’t’Chambertin brand,
Ta sip an’ ta smack,
Whol yer jokes ye crack.

The Alexandra Hotel was demolished a few years ago, but I’m glad its Manager, Frederick F. Baker, a dialect poet of merit, lives on in the Library’s basement!

Stackmole

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