Yorkshire (1)

The White Rose county. Or God’s Own County as locals proudly call it.

People from Yorkshire can be incredibly boring and obnoxious about their county. I know. I was born there. And for some reason, there is something instilled in you from birth that makes you continue with that amazing Yorkshire pride, however much you know it is irrational.

It is a bit like Texas, or so my father used to say. It is the largest county in the UK. The biggest and the best.

The first thing to mention is that it used to be divided into ridings (from thridings, or thriddings) ie North, East and West Ridings. There was no South Riding, apart from the novel by Winifred Holtby (very good I might add). The West Riding alone was bigger than any other English county.

But sadly, an appalling decision in Whitehall some 40 years ago, abolished the ridings and changed the boundaries.

This may not sound like much to anyone not from Yorkshire, but to anyone from Yorkshire, it was a disaster. Ridings were our heritage. Wiped away by the stroke of a pen.

Each riding had a capital, Northallerton was capital of the North Riding, Beverley capital of the East Riding, and Wakefield, where I went to school, capital of the West Riding. York, capital of the county, was not part of any riding.

Me, I still say, I come from the West Riding. In fact I come from the Heavy Woollen District. This is a small part of Yorkshire that used to be renowned for the endless mills. When I waited for the bus to school, I would watch the wool sheds opposite and the sorters picking the shoddy. My father worked for a mill. A journalist colleague had a grandfather who established an extremely exclusive mill (cashmere or something).

But if people weren’t working in t’ mills, they were working down t’ pit. There were mines all over the place where I lived. We regularly drove past some colliery winding gear, which for some strange reason I was very attached to, and even gave them their own name – bickers. I have no idea why I called them that.

It’s not all Emmerdale Farm (set in the Dales) and Heartbeat (set in the North Yks Moors), or Last of the Summer Wine (Pennines). But there is beauty in the industrial architecture and wonderful scenery wherever you look.

One of the reasons Yorkshire people are disgustingly arrogant is that we think we have it all.

We have a beautiful coastline, lakes, canals, rivers. We have historic buildings, cathedrals, castles falling out of our ears. We have two national parks – the Dales and the North Yks Moors, plus lots of other areas of silly names eg outstanding beauty or heritage or similar crap.

We have our own cuisine. Yorkshire pudding, an egg, flour, milk/water batter mix is best known for being cooked in small tins and served with roast beef. It is however, traditionally cooked in a large square tin, and served with onion gravy as a starter to fill people up so they didn’t need to eat a lot of meat afterwards, because money wasn’t that freely available.

I know, because we ate it every day. Either that or pancakes as a starter with gravy. My favourite was Yorkshire pudding with currants in. My mother thought it was sacrilege, but I thought it was yum. My father’s family ate it with blackcurrants in too, but my mother drew the line at that one. Oh, and I’ve never cooked Yorkshire pudding in my life. Far too difficult.

On Bonfire night we had parkin, which is like gingerbread with spice and moist and crumbly. We have curd tart, which is like a flat custard tart with um, currants I think. Curd tart is good. Probably like cheesecake really in retrospect. We used to buy it on our summer hols in Bridlington (on the east coast).

We have Wensleydale cheese which is nice and crumbly (maybe we like crumblies?). One of our peculiar habits is to eat Christmas cake and cheese together. Personally I thought it was a vile combination, but as my parents sold cheese (crumbly Cheshire) it was a good financial option.

Beer. We used to have lots of breweries. Back in the days, my favourite was hand pulled Tetleys, which was so thick and creamy. I doubt I could drink it now.

As for people? Where to start? The sculptor Barbara Hepworth went to my school. As did Helen Fielding (she was in the year above me). Sculptor Henry Moore didn’t go to my school as we were girls only. Artists David Hockney and Atkinson Grimshaw. Writers – the Brontes of course, but also, JB Priestley, Ted Hughes, WH Auden.

A few famous politicians – William Wilberforce, Asquith, and Harold Wilson. The odd terrorist – Guy Fawkes. And the only female speaker to date in the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd, born in Dewsbury. Yay Betty!

Oddly, we go really big on entertainment with a load of actors and musicians:
My faves are Sean Bean, James Mason and Michael Palin. As for women, – who can beat Judi Dench and Diana Rigg?

In music we have: Tony Christie of Is this the Way to Amarillo fame (I thought he was American!!), Joe Cocker, Kiki Dee, Robert Palmer, Chris Rea, to name a few. In classical music, we have the composer Delius and the opera singer Janet Baker.

Janet Baker is well known for her performances in Handel’s Messiah where she has sung with the Huddersfield Choral Society. One of the must dos in life is attending a performance of the Society at Christmas singing the Messiah. Tickets are rarer than gold dust but luckily we knew someone whose partner was in the choir – and he was sick of going every year πŸ˜€

We also have Hail Smiling Morn. Apparently local to Sheffield and north Derbyshire. Um, excuse me, I sang this one at a Christmas carol concert in the West Riding, thank you very much. It is much wider than the Sheffield area – it’s a West Riding song as far as I know.

I could have chosen a perfectly sung version from a posh southern choir, but thought these were more authentic. Take your pick depending on which works.

The silver band version. Not only do we have brass bands in Yorkshire, we have silver bands. Tha ‘as to do summat when coming up from t’ pit. For many people that was playing in a band – famous bands include Black Dyke and Brighouse and Rastrick. [My dad’s dream was to hire Black Dyke to play in a marquee on the lawn for my wedding – thank goodness I got married in Sydney]. Note the distinctive Pennine architecture.

We have our own dialect too. Which can be heard on our unofficial national anthem. On Ikla Moor baht ‘at. [On Ilkley Moor without hat].

And in sport, which is where this post originated, via the Olympic Team Yorkshire, we have a few footballers – Kevin Keegan, Gordon Banks, and Brian Clough – but really we are known for cricket. Geoff Boycott, Len Hutton, Ray Illingworth, Brian Close, and Fred Trueman. We’ve also won more cricket championships than any other county.

Cricket bores the socks off me, but for 24 years, Yorkshire County Cricket Club imposed a rule that said you could only play for the club if you were born within the county. Quite right too I say. As did my university colleagues from our arch rivals Lancashire. It was seen as idiosyncratic, eccentric, but typically Yorkshire, and admired by many. But commercialism won over principles and for the last 20 years, anyone can now play for the club.

So, regarding the Olympics (remember those?) I am not happy that anyone who wanders through Yorkshire is described as a Yorkshire person. Team White Rose, is those who were born there.

If I lived in Scotland or Wales would I be called Scottish or Welsh? Of course not. Which brings me onto home rule for Yorkshire. Years back, before devolution, there was quite serious talk within Yorkshire of separate government, a bit like the Spanish autonomous communities. Nothing happened, and at the time we had the pits too. Still not a bad idea though. Yorkshire by birth, (and grudgingly) marriage or paternity – I think those are rather gracious concessions on my part I must say.

Yorkshire – the most beautiful county in the UK. Full of some of the most obnoxious arrogant people! Part 2 will look at some of those beautiful places.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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21 Responses to Yorkshire (1)

  1. Vicky says:

    OMG!!!!!!!!! Brilliant post!!!!
    So many memories πŸ™‚ I love it!!
    Where do I start with a reply? Hhmmm, it’d be as big as your post.
    I need to condense it before I do…………I’ll be back πŸ™‚

    Like

  2. Vicky says:

    Ahhh! my home county πŸ™‚
    You’re right, Yorkshire pride is something that never leaves, where ever we live.
    Born in the East, brought up in the West, but even after living over two thirds of my life in the Midlands…….
    β€˜You can tek lass outta yorkshire but ya can’t tek yorkshire outta lass’.
    I remember the boundary changes, when parts of the East Riding became North Humberside. I downright refused to to acknowledge it, still addressing any post to my relatives as East Yorkshire. Glad to say it’s East Yorkshire again. It’s about time the rest of the Ridings were restored………how can you have four thirds.
    Yorkshire pudding as starter with gravy, as pudding with golden syrup! Bonfire night and parkin! Wensleydale and Christmas cake! Mmmmmm you’re torturing me!!
    Cricket. I’m quite surprised with your dislike you know all those names and information, or were you drip fed, like I was πŸ˜†
    I could go on and on and on………..
    Can’t wait for Part 2

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  3. I used to write letters home with WEST RIDING written clearly on the envelope. It was a stupid political decision that just upset a lot of people and made no difference in terms of electoral gain anyway (because that was what it was about).

    We never had Yks pud as dessert. but my mum seriously cooked an extremely good one. She never got one wrong – they were always perfect. I’ve still got the tins kicking around somewhere for the day I dare try and make one πŸ˜€

    And my grandmother made the parkin. If my mother was a good cook, the whole family was in awe of my grandma’s cooking. Even when I went to visit a cousin a few years ago, he started drooling at the thought of Lizzie’s cooking.

    Yup, drip fed. Got a photo of my dad shaking hands with Geoff at the local pub, he was so proud of that!

    part 2 will be a week or so, please wait patiently.

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  4. free penny press says:

    What an amazing post.. To be quite honest I never knew Yorkshire was so big or that the residents took their pride so serious. Sort of like southerners (in the southern regions of the USA) do the same. This was really informative and if I lived closer, I’d pop over for a spot of tea and beg you to make me some Yorkshire pudding πŸ™‚

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    • I am the first to admit that we are quite obnoxious with our pride. We compete with countries like Wales and Scotland with our sense of identity. Coming from Yorkshire is big business.

      I think you are right about the southern US ID which is why I mentioned Texas.

      Incidentally, we also have a Yorkshire tea company… Tetley tea bags. Second biggest manufacturer in the world. Awful stuff.

      No way with the Yorkshire pud! I would need years of practice and it would have currants in too. But I can do onion gravy well.

      Like

  5. EllaDee says:

    I think I got as wrapped up in reading this post as you did writing it – your sense of Yorkshire came across so strongly. Food always gets my attention… Wensleydale cheese & Christmas cake, yes please. Such an old, interesting region and its history & effects are far reaching. I think we’ve all heard of many of the people, places and doings of Yorkshire πŸ™‚ I love your personal perspective. http://smackedpentax.wordpress.com/ does great photography of the area so I did have some visuals to go by as well.

    Like

    • Wow! Where did you find that blog? OK, I know the answer, the internet πŸ˜‰ I was going to put a slideshow on the next blog post but I might not bother having just seen that one.

      It’s interesting I have no idea what other people know of our home county or their view of it. Apart from it looks nice on All Creatures Great and Small or Heartbeat or whatever. Or that it is full of cloth caps and whippets (and ferrets).

      Funnily I got a mail from a friend of ours last night who lives here in Gib, but comes about nine miles from my home town and he calls me his Yorkshire Sis. In fact, he addressed the email Hi Sis rather than my name!

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      • EllaDee says:

        Glad you like it. I never put the connection together before, but as is the way WordPress worked a little magic… πŸ˜‰

        Like

      • Vicky says:

        WOW, were my exact words too after following the link.

        As you have said, we have it all.
        Yorkshire is so diverse, with the moors, dales, coast, cities etc. if all folk see are the images from TV shows, they have only experienced a fraction of what the county has to offer.
        Sight is only one of our senses, a visit is a must to experience the others.

        Like

        • Are you applying for a job with the White Rose Tourist board Vic? πŸ˜€

          I’m now snowed under with all my Yorkshire pix that I’ve given up and moved onto the Isle of Man πŸ˜€ Where do you start with Yks? And I’m still only looking at the West Riding 😦 I’ve found pix I’d totally forgotten I’d taken, Piece Hall in Halifax, Todmorden on the border – I must have been snap happy in my youth. I can’t do the West Riding (or any of them) justice in one post 😦

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          • Vicky says:

            LOL. I could sing its praises forever, something I inherited from my dad πŸ™‚
            Multiple post then πŸ˜‰

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          • Brainwashing, another county characteristic. Hard to come from Yks and not be aware of all its glories. I’m aiming for one for each Riding and one for York. Tough though.The White Rose Wander may still make its debut later on….

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    • Vicky says:

      Ella Dee, that really is a stunning blog you’ve linked to above πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. What an interesting post! And if I’ve gotten British geography clear in my head, Yorkshire was also home to 4th Officer Joseph Groves Boxhall and 6th Officer James Paul Moody of the RMS Titanic. And what of the Yorkshire Terrier? Breeders are making a bundle off of those dogs here locally.

    “Part 2 will look at some of those beautiful places” Looking forward to it!

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    • Thanks JG. I’ll assume you are correct with your Titanic officers as I know nothing about them! Interesting addition to the list mind. I’ll mention the dogs in a future post, because they aren’t the only local ones, they just happen to bear the name. They are expensive, we know someone who breeds them, well, inasmuch as they have a few and sometimes there are puppies…. And we know someone else who paid around Β£500 for one. Not my thing when there are so many dogs crying out for homes in rescue shelters. I guess small dogs command a premium as they are more convenient for people.

      Part 2 will be a few days/a week away as part of my summer hours blogging schedule πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Jenny Woolf says:

    Saw your comment on Helen’s blog. I like all the versions of Hail Smiling Morn but probably slightly prefer the men singing and the brass band. Happy Christmas!

    Like

    • Thanks for the visit Jenny, I didn’t want to crowd helen’s blog out with Hail Smiling Morn videos! It’s not that easy to sing, I don’t think, getting the tempo and the right sound (ie soft or loud) right can be difficult. Not so bad if you are a practising choir, but if it is a carol in church it can go a bit awry with a non-musical congregation attempting it πŸ˜€

      But still, it always sounds so cheerful and the words are lovely, I think ‘that tips the hill with gold’ is just perfect.

      Happy Christmas to you too.

      Like

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