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Actor and writer Catherine Harvey returns to her roots in north west England to see if the dialect poetry of the cotton mills of 19th-century Lancashire is still alive today.

A three part series exploring dialect poetry in different parts of England.

In this first programme, actor and writer Catherine Harvey returns to her roots in north west England to see if the dialect poetry of the cotton mills of 19th Century Lancashire is still alive today.

The Lancashire dialect poets were once household names and their writings articulated the voices of cotton weavers and mill workers in Victorian industrial Lancashire with a mixture of humour and pathos. Catherine Harvey says, "The vivid dialect remains with me, not as something quaintly archaic but present now in the way I speak and write, their voices resonating in the language heard around the north west today."

Later in the series, writer James Walker unearths the dialect poetry of the Nottinghamshire miners who penned their verse underground and children's writer Kirsty McKay offers a snapshot of dialect poetry in Northumberland today.

A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

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An ear for an aye – listening to England's dialect poetry

An ear for an aye – listening to England's dialect poetry

Read the words and hear the sounds of England's regional poetry.