Dialect is important. It connects us to people and places and shapes who we are. The words we use, how we put them together, and how we say them matters – to us, to others, and to the rich and ever-changing history of language.

Avoncroft Museum is one of five partner museums working with the University of Leeds to explore the richness of dialect around England and how it may have changed over the last 70 years.

The Project is following in the footsteps of fieldworkers from the University of Leeds in the 1950s who visited people in 313 rural localities in England to compile The Survey of English Dialects (SED). Today, the National Lottery Heritage funded Dialect and Heritage Project has several aims:

  • Digitising and sharing Leeds University’s archive of recordings, photographs and dialect research from the original Survey through events, roadshows, exhibitions and online
  • Collecting the present-day dialect words and phrases we get from different people and places
  • Tracing and collecting oral histories where possible from the descendants of the people who took part in the original Survey with the help of volunteers
  • Using oral histories to enhance the stories of Avoncroft’s collections and those of the other partner museums

For further information and a chance to share your words and contribute to the survey visit: https://dialectandheritage.org.uk/


There are plenty of volunteering opportunities the help out with the project, find out more here!