We all know that David Cameron appears to have a problem with the North of England but yesterday at Prime Minister’s Questions he was struggling to get to grips with the pronunciation of Stalybridge.
Twice indeed, when answering a question from the area’s MP Jonathan Reynolds who asked him if he considered it a success that many people in work are still claiming housing benefit.
In answering, the Prime Minister referred to the town on the edge of the Pennines as “Stallybridge” thus losing the emphasised “eeee”.
For the record, the word Stalybridge according to the website Stalybridge.org.uk
derives from ‘Staef’ – a stave – and ‘leah’ – a clearing in the wood, the full meaning of ‘Staley’ being ‘a wood where staves are collected’. The ‘bridge’ was added a century later.
Indeed had the Prime Minister been around at the end of the 18th century, he would have seen written proof of its pronunciation “staley-bridge”
This from the 1st December 1791 reporting how a man was tempted to run over two miles completely naked in the pouring rain by the prospect of just five shillings