Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cluture: Setting the Mood; Tony Henderson on a Dialect Memorial to a Multi-Talented Pitman's Son

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cluture: Setting the Mood; Tony Henderson on a Dialect Memorial to a Multi-Talented Pitman's Son

Article excerpt

TODAY will be a proud occasion for the five daughters of Thomas Moody. For 16 years, Thomas compiled a 700-page, hand-written dictionary of dialect used in Northumberland in the first half of the 20th Century.

But it was much more than a compilation of words. It is a social and historical document.

Written in two colours, the manuscript includes maps, musical scores and drawings to illustrate the function of objects which Thomas describes. He also includes information on children's games and songs.

The work preserves an industrial, agricultural, domestic and social way of life in Northumberland at the time.

For more than 30 years, daughters Patricia, Shirley, Edna, Carol and Mary pursued the goal of seeing what they describe as their "inspirational" father's grand work appear in print.

Last year, their dream came true when Northumbriana, the publishing arm of the Northumbrian Language Society, in collaboration with Newcastle University, printed the book The Mid-Northumbrian Dialect, by Thomas Moody.

It soon sold out, but it has been reprinted and the new copies will be available at pounds 35 today at the Northumbrian Language Society's annual free lecture at 2pm in Morpeth Town Hall.

The cover is a watercolour by Thomas of the Cheviot Hills, where he would go for hikes, carrying his tent.

For the five daughters, the reprint is justification of their valuation of their father's work.

The lecture by Dr Bill Lancaster, former director of the Centre for Northern Studies at Northumbria University, is in tribute to Morpeth dialect scholar Roland Bibby.

It will look at the work of another dialect expert, Bill Griffiths, from Seaham, who was the author of a trilogy of North East dialect books and who died last year.

Alongside both men stands the multi-talented Thomas Moody, who was born in Amble, Northumberland, in 1901. He died in 1970.

At the age of 50, the schoolteacher began work on his dictionary.

He was born the son of a coal hewer at Broomhill Colliery, won a scholarship to the Duke's School at Alnwick in 1913 and went on to graduate from Bede College, Durham. …

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