The Forest of Dean’s dialect poets are the subject of BBC Radio 4’s series Tongue and Talk: The DialectPoets, on Sunday 30th August. The series travels the country highlighting the rich diversity of local dialects and the poets who write and perform in them. Turning its attention to the Forest of Dean this edition of the programme features Keith Morgan and Maggie Clutterbuck reading their work and talking about the importance of Forest dialect in their poetry. Dick Brice reads from one of the earliest published works to include Forest dialect, and former Forest Bookshop owner Doug McLean remembers the Forest poets and performers he got to know during his 40 years in local publishing.
The programme came about when producer Catherine Harvey got in touch with the Reading the Forest project. The programme is presented by Reading the Forest's Dr Jason Griffiths. Project co-director Dr Roger Deeks explains the importance and influence of F. W. Harvey’s dialect poems that he wrote after moving to Yorkley, and his broadcasts about the Forest in the early years of the BBC.
The programme also features archive recordings of F. W. Harvey, Harry Beddington, Dennis Potter and Winifred Foley. Finding out more about the history of Forest dialect Jason talks to linguist Dr Michelle Straw at the University of Gloucestershire, whilst a visit to Monument Freemine shows that Forest dialect is alive and well there. We also hear from local schools who today, thanks to enthusiastic local teachers, teach their pupils to take pride in their local identity by learning of Forest dialect poems.
The programme is being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 4.30pm on Sunday 30th August and will be available online afterwards through BBC Sounds.
One of the great Forest assets is the Bathurst Pool in Lydney. Created in the era when outdoor swimming pools became popular in the 1920s, the pool was a terrific boost to local morale after the devastation of the First World War. Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe, who founded the pool, had been an important figure in agriculture during the War and extolled the virtues of allotments and saw the benefits of a municipal pool. It was only in the 1930s that the term 'Lido' was first used to describe such pools. It is to the credit of a wonderful team of volunteers that the pool is in fabulous condition and used by so many people. The pool has been in existence for 100 years in October and to celebrate the volunteers enjoyed a visit from HRH Princess Royal. In conjunction with the anniversary, Ali Humphries has edited a brief history and magnificent collection of swimmers and visitors stories. There are some lovely stories from past decades including one man who lost his teeth. Be assured that was a long time ago and they don't present a risk to current users!