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Studs Terkel discusses the changing role accents play on class distinctions in England with guests in the parlor of the Mayor in Stratford-upon-Avon ; part 2

BROADCAST: 1962 | DURATION: 00:33:02


Studs Terkel gathers a cross section of opinions on accents and their changing role on class distinctions in British Society. He asks the Mayor and Mayoress of Stratford-upon-Avon, the Huxleys, their opinions on the influence of education on accents and class. Also present to offer opinions are Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence, pub owners from Lower Quinton near Stratford-on-Avon, and Mr. Morris, a London stockbroker and his wife. Bookending the conversation at the mayor's home are two conversations with Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence.


Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.


Studs Terkel Mrs. Lawrence, you spoke about the pub as being the center of village life.

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, yes.

Studs Terkel Well, that still is, isn't it?

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, yes. Definitely. But, of course, we we were never publicans. We we took this five years ago simply and solely because our only child got married and we thought - I don't know - I I thought I wasn't the type to sit on committees very much and do things like that. I'd like to get my teeth into a business, and I asked my husband to go into a country pub, and he said, "No." And then one day he he came in feeling a bit disgruntled and banged his briefcase down and said, "Well that's it. We'll get a county pub." And we did.

Studs Terkel Oh, so this is, then, a new aspect of life for you.

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, yes.

Studs Terkel Being publicans. May I ask, Mr. Lawrence, what it was before you became a publican?

Mr. Lawrence What was I?

Studs Terkel Yes.

Mr. Lawrence Well, I was in what they call in England the rag trade - ladies fashions.

Studs Terkel Oh, I see.

Mrs. Lawrence Yes

Studs Terkel Uh-huh. What do they call the - you you were in ladies fashions and then the pub trade. You - I I was just - I'm debating in my mind. I'm trying - do you have children?

Mrs. Lawrence One. Yes.

Studs Terkel One. He? She?

Mrs. Lawrence She is married.

Studs Terkel Oh, she's married?

Mrs. Lawrence With children now, yes.

Studs Terkel And where would she fit, if I don't re- in the scheme of things? As we see--

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, what do you mean? As far as our taking a pub? Or something like that?

Studs Terkel No, in the in the structure as we call it.

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, the the the --

Studs Terkel The class structure. I was just curious.

Mrs. Lawrence I see. Oh, well. Well, she has married a tradesman who is very well off. And, well, she's very fortunate. She has a lovely home and everything that goes with it. But, of course, years ago the person she's married probably would have been an absolute nonentity. But today, because his father owns 7 businesses and he's the director of it, he's he's quite an important person.

Studs Terkel Well, don't you - I'm just - this is one last question - assume you have a grandchild--

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, yes. We have two.

Studs Terkel Well, wouldn't you like the idea of the grandchild breaking through the barriers?

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, well of course that's what we hope will happen. That is where money will help, because it will send them to good schools and they will possibly move on and be, well, better spoken and all the rest of it. Not my daughter because she's [convent?] educated and she's very [charming?]

Studs Terkel But this could not have happened, though, a couple of generations ago?

Mrs. Lawrence No. They would have wanted to know what your father was and your grandfather and your great-grandfather before you ever got into anywhere.

Studs Terkel But still, interesting part, this is the last - I know you have to eat. You still long for the past?

Mrs. Lawrence Oh yes. Oh, yes. Yes.

Mr. Lawrence I love it. I would love to see our place with people walking in in their crinolines and--

Mrs. Lawrence The way things used to be.

Mr. Lawrence Used to be 400 years ago. That's what I'd like.

Studs Terkel Well, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence, the best of luck to you with your pub. And, oh, by the way, where is it? I think we should mention it. [laughter]

Mrs. Lawrence Lower Quinton near Stratford-on-Avon.

Studs Terkel Near Stratford-on-Avon. Lower Quinton near Stratford-on-Avon in case there are visitors from Chicago passing. The Lawrences. It's called The College Arms. Your comments I find most interesting, indeed.

Mrs. Lawrence Thank you.

Studs Terkel Enjoy your dinner. Thank you very much.

Mrs. Lawrence Thank you.

Mr. Lawrence Thank you very much indeed. [pause in recording]

Studs Terkel On this drizzly, it's still drizzling, this Friday night and I'm in Stratford-upon-Avon, and we'll talk about that preposition 'upon' in a moment. The significance of it. Came ostensibly - no, really - to see Paul Scofield, and perhaps I'll be able to see him tomorrow and Peter Brook, the director, perhaps I'll be able to see him tomorrow. But something else has happened, though. As in life things are - work out improvisationally, so you improvise. At the Falcon Hotel I met Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence and we had an interesting conversation and now I find myself in the parlor of his worship, the Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, Councilman Walter Huxley with Madame Mayoress and some friends including the Lawrences, and a rather convivial and sparkling Mr. Morris. And I thought, if if we could, if we could Mr. Mayor, the nature of the community itself. We think of Stratford-upon-Avon as the place where tourists come to see Shakespeare well-performed. Is this the prime source of the city's--

Walter Huxley Well, of course, tourism is very important in the town, but it is not the most important industry. The most important industry is undoubtedly agriculture. And that's why I'm here tonight as a principal guest at the Farmers Ball.

Studs Terkel What's the nature of the, of agriculture? You said the Farmers Ball. Are they large scale farmers?

Walter Huxley Generally speaking they're small farmers in in this area, averaging from 50 acres, I would say. Not many above 250 acres.

Studs Terkel What's happened to farming here in this area of Stratford-upon-Avon? What about, what is Stratford-on-Avon? The city is known as Stratford-upon-Avon, is that right?

Walter Huxley The town is known as Stratford-upon-Avon. The rural area, those surrounding area to the borough is Stratford-on-Avon and we're very jealous of the 'upon', because that is in our charter.

Studs Terkel That's in the charter. Now the farmers themselves come from the surrounding area.

Walter Huxley The surrounding area, yes. There are 1 or 2 farmers that come from Stratford-upon-Avon.

Studs Terkel What is the - what's happened to farmers, let's say in the past - well, since technology has come into the picture in the past generation or so?

Walter Huxley I would say that today the farmers are the wealthiest members of the community. [laughter]

Studs Terkel This is today, more than people of the trades?

Walter Huxley I would say so. Yes.

Studs Terkel Wasn't this so before?

Walter Huxley No. For quite a number of years the farmers had a fairly thin time. Especially in this Warwickshire area where there are such small holdings.

Studs Terkel Well, how would you explain - I was - how would you explain this change, this change of fortune?

Walter Huxley Well--

Studs Terkel Is it is it - I'm just wondering, is it the fact that administration has changed in England? Or we've become a more affluent society here or or what? I'm just--

Walter Huxley Well, we have become a more affluent society, of course. Mechanization has entered into it. And, of course, we have these subsidies which we must protect our agriculture. Because we're so dependent on foreign countries and our colonies for our produce.

Studs Terkel If we may, for the moment, leave the economic scene and perhaps include all members of our little congregation here and discuss something else. I noticed when I first came to England, first got off the plane at at Orly I was about to say - at London airport, I was taken with a fantastic variety of accents. The fantastic variety of accents. The young man who drove us from the airport to the hotel. The waiter was someone else. And I was told, and I've been speaking to different people since, that accent still is the determining factor in what makes up the class structure of British society. Others tell me is it is collapsing. Others say it is hardening. And some say the dollar as in America is becoming the dominant factor. I was curious because I know that Mr. Morris has a wholly different accent from others about. Mr. Morris? Would you mind expressing your feelings on this point?

Mr. Morris [unintelligible] do you want me to say? [laughter]

Studs Terkel I'll hold it. I'll hold it.

Mr. Morris Yeah? What do you want me to say?

Studs Terkel Well, this matter of the matter of - you, yourself sir. You yourself, sir. Your background?

Mr. Morris My background? I come of simple stock from around here and we've lived around here for a long time. It's awfully nice to come meet you in the Falcon tonight and I've never been in 30 years in the Mayor's parlor before I don't think. And I've never had a free drink in here for a long, long time [laughter] which is splendid stuff. But I think that the accent, the question of the accent is important. I think there will always be an accent. You have the North Country and the South Country and you have got an accent where you think you've got an educated background or not. Yeah, [changes accent] I can talk Birmingham. I come from Birmingham you see, where I work, and that's how they talk down there, which isn't what I talk normally, you see?

Studs Terkel No.

Mr. Morris It's as simple as that.

Studs Terkel Well, I was wondering about your own background. You, yourself, sir.

Mr. Morris Mm?

Studs Terkel What specifically is your way of life? Are you a gentleman farmer? Are you - what is your--

Mr. Morris No. I I work on - now what do they call them in America, Walter? Stockbroker. I'm a stockbroker.

Studs Terkel You're a stockbroker.

Mr. Morris That's what you call somebody who goes around tearing around selling stocks and shares in America, I think. We do it rather quietly here. [laughter] Probably very much better; we don't make so much money, if you appreciate it. And that's what I do. I'm a stockbroker.

Studs Terkel Well, how do you feel about some of the comments that I've been hearing and talking about this moment? That there is a breakdown in in class structure, and that there will be less--

Studs Terkel I think there is, yes, there is there is from the 18 - from the the 1900s or 1910s and 1920s, you got a leveling out due to the national state. We're we're becoming a national state and I think we shall go on being a national state. But whether you're in Russia or whether you're in America or with McCarthy, you're going to have a - there's always a grade between the top and the bottom strata, I think.

Studs Terkel Well, I was just wondering - this which we call the welfare state, I suppose.

Mr. Morris That's right.

Studs Terkel Well, what's your feeling about it?

Mr. Morris Jolly good. First class.

Studs Terkel You like it?

Mr. Morris I'm all in favor of it.

Studs Terkel Well, that's rather interesting because you apparently, you yourself, your accent, indicates that you are from - how shall I describe it?

Mr. Morris Terribly rich.

Studs Terkel Upper middle class?

Mr. Morris Oh, terribly rich. [laughter] Terribly rich. Terribly rich. I had to sign a check to come out of the Falcon, but never mind now. [laughter] Terribly rich. But we're going downhill fast. [laughter] My dau- my daughter goes out to work now. She's on the streets at the moment. [background conversation and laughter]

Studs Terkel But Mr. Morris, aren't you, Mr. Morris, aren't you - how shall I say this? Aren't you betraying, aren't you betraying the the the feelings of your class? Upper middle class?

Mr. Morris No fair. No, I'm not. I'm I'm not at all. I am terribly pro the other side and I'm not upper middle class. I'm very very much the other way. No. No, no. No, we build up we build up a shell, you see? No, you're not--

Studs Terkel Tell me more about that.

Mr. Morris I don't think anybody is building up. You're not betraying any class. I think that it's going to be a leveling out system, but it may take 100, 150 years. And that's the strength of the welfare state in my opinion. It must it must level out. You've got the old Duke of Bedford who is today selling his old garter. Do you know the Duke of Bedford? Have you heard about the Duke of Bedford, haven't you? [laughter] He's selling his garter which is studded with diamonds, and he's selling it at Christie's next week. And he's doing that to get some money to try and go on fighting on, you see? And I'll tell you this before I go, because I must go.

Studs Terkel No, please don't.

Mr. Morris I sold my garter. No, I I [flogged?] my garter.

Studs Terkel No, I I should like to come back to you, Mr. Morris. There's some more-. No no, please don't go. Just stay for a moment, if you may. Madame, Madame. Madame Mayoress, you've been listening to Mr. Morris here. You know, he's filled with a good deal of humor and wit. At the same time a certain basic truths he feels he's saying.

Madame Mayoress Yes.

Studs Terkel Do you agree with Mr. Morris' comment?

Madame Mayoress I I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Morris. I don't think there should be any class distinction in this 1962 era. I think we're all gathering up to to - what can I say? Not to distinguish between the lower and the upper class. I think the education of today is rising people and England's one of the finest countries in the world and we're doing all we can. To rise people.

Studs Terkel I was wondering about - Mr. Mayor, and Madame Mayoress - you said be- be- before Councillor Walter Huxley became Mayor. The nature of - well, Councillor Huxley. It's Councilman Huxley, isn't it? Am I right? Or what--

Male Speaker 1 It's Councillor

Studs Terkel Huxley. It is Councillor Huxley, the Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon. The nature of yo- of your livelihood before you became--

Walter Huxley This is not my livelihood.

Studs Terkel Oh! Tell me about that. Oh, this is not?

Walter Huxley No. No, no. I am a chartered accountant, a chartered secretary, and an hotelier.

Studs Terkel Oh, you're a hotelier. Then the job of mayor, then, does not - the job of mayor, then, does not pay enough, say, to support you? [laughter]

Walter Huxley Not by a long way. Not by a long way.

Studs Terkel I see then. Then it's--

Walter Huxley It's such an honor!

Studs Terkel It's it's an honorary job.

Walter Huxley It's an honor, that will only cost you a few thousand pounds. You're very lucky if you've got it.

Studs Terkel It's an honorary job. Then I hear this talk and this is rather interesting. I hear the talk that barriers are breaking down and yet - I don't want to turn my back on the ladies here - say that I hear talk, too, that it is hardening. How can you explain this difference? Anybody? Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence?

Mrs. Lawrence The system of education is changing--

Studs Terkel Mrs. Lawrence?

Mrs. Lawrence The system of education is altering completely and Madame Mayoress doesn't hold the same views as I do. I'm not - I'm sorry about it. I'm sorry that - I don't know. Speech has gone to the wall, and everything else and we don't get the voices we used to get. And I think they're all en bloc from one school to another and that's the way it goes. But I've already said that before, so I'm not going to say any more now.

Madame Mayoress Now I, I disagree. I think there will always be, and I hope there always will be in England, the Scots accent, the Welsh accent, the Northern accent, the Southern accent. And I don't think - it doesn't matter how you are educated. I do think that that will always be and I hope it always will be.

Mrs. Lawrence I should hate to see accents go: North Country, Scottish, Irish. Anything like that. But England had at one time a certain accent of a class which is rapidly disappearing. Am I right?

Madame Mayoress Oh, I don't think so.

Mrs. Lawrence Well, [unintelligible].

Madame Mayoress I think our public schools - I don't agree. I think our public schools, do you not, Mrs. Morris think that our public schools still--

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, public schools, yes. [background conversation and response] Of course, it comes from-. But, where you used to get - no, where you used to get a scholarship child going to a secondary school, it was taught by those girls in the secondary school the better manners, the better way of speech, and everything else. Now you move them en bloc from an elementary school to a grammar school and I think it's all wrong. I don't agree with it.

Madame Mayoress Oh, I do. I most certainly do. I think every child should have as much education as it can get and uplifted. Even the poorest child today in England, if it has the brains can get into the upper set and it's up to its own personality, its own drive.

Mrs. Lawrence But they always used to get in. If they had the brains to take a scholarship, they they did. They got in.

Mr. Morris We want all little girls to be uplifted, if I may say so.

Mrs. Lawrence No, but my--

Walter Huxley Years ago you had to have an awful lot of money to get in the university.

Mrs. Lawrence I'm not talking about universities. I'm talking about the old secondary school, which is now secondary modern, which has nothing to do with it. My father sent me to a secondary school, which was one of the best in London. And we had about 20 scholarship girls and what those scholarship girls lacked in manners and speech they were taught by the other girls and and and they they measured up. They came up to it, and they were clever. They were always the ones in the A-Form. I never was.

Mr. Lawrence What's missing today, quite honestly, is not so much the education of the child, it's the teacher today. They're crying out for teachers. They're just not getting--

Mrs. Lawrence They're not [educated?] [continues in background, unintelligible]

Mr. Lawrence They're not getting the right teachers in the schools today. That's that is - I think that's the whole crux of the matter. They're just not getting the right teachers.

Walter Huxley On the other hand I think we are very very proud of our various dialects and I should hate to see them go.

Mrs. Lawrence I agree with you.

Studs Terkel I think, pardon me, I think there may be one bit of confusion. I was not talking about dialects such as the Scottish, the Welsh, the North, the South - I'm talking now about something else. There are dialects that are regional. I'm talking now about accent--

Mrs. Lawrence English [unintelligible]--

Studs Terkel Which is something different, you see.

Walter Huxley Yes, but my point--

Studs Terkel Now - yes, Mr. Mayor.

Walter Huxley My point with dialects, owing to our BBC so-called 'Oxford accent', we are tending to lose a lot of those dialects. People now try to speak 'Oxford', [don't they?]

Madame Mayoress Well, I heard a very interesting thing on the BBC the other afternoon in a school's broadcast. And the boy said because he hadn't got the Oxford accent, when he went up for a job if there was a boy there that had the Oxford accent, he would get the job in preference--

Mrs. Lawrence And he's right.

Madame Mayoress To the boy with the accent.

Mrs. Lawrence He's quite right. That that does happen. Although they've got the system of education and and everybody is equal and all the rest of it, you get the boy with an Oxford accent or a public school accent and he is going to get the job.

Studs Terkel But Madame Mayoress is indicating this is wrong.

Madame Mayoress I am indicating it's quite wrong because there are brains in the the - brains in the poorest of children, with--

Mrs. Lawrence Yes, but, Madame Mayoress, that boy from a public school gets the opportunity. But if he hasn't got the brain to carry on, he will be put out, but he gets the first opportunity because he's got a public school accent.

Madame Mayoress Well, can I tell you something? I have a young son, Roger. And he was a grammar school boy and my eldest son was a public school boy. And this young son went to London for the three-days examination competing with university boys for a for a very good job in the Foreign Office. And Roger has brains and it made no difference, my dear. He he climbed over the university boys and got the job.

Mrs. Lawrence But you can't compare your Roger. You can't compare your Roger with the average--

Madame Mayoress Roger speaks very nicely.

Mrs. Lawrence Of course, he does.

Madame Mayoress But he didn't have a public school education. He only had a grammar school--

Mrs. Lawrence He's had home environmenting.

Studs Terkel If I may, this is a very - I don't want to interrupt. I want to come back, return to the ladies. I want to make it now a triumvirate, rather, and Mrs. Morris has been seated here quietly. You've been listening to this.

Mrs. Morris Yes, I have. Well, I think as regards the accent of these days I think it's all due to the television, the children listening to well-spoken people on the television, which has improved what we would call the common accent of the different parts of the different counties in the country. And I think that is a very good thing. You rarely hear children speaking in a real broad, common accent. Which I think it is all due to the television and wireless that has taught them unconsciously, perhaps.

Studs Terkel Well, Mr. Morris seems to disagree. Mr. Morris, what's your feeling about that?

Mr. Morris I'm afraid that my wife does nothing, but listen to the television, I'm afraid. And that she must be swayed by this television aspect.

Studs Terkel What is your, what is your feeling of what you've been hearing the ladies discussing thus far?

Mr. Morris I didn't listen for some [time? of it?]. [laughter] No, I think it's probably good, actually. And I I am-

Mrs. Lawrence [quietly, away from the microphone] You're making a fool of yourself.

Mr. Morris No, I'm not. No, I'm not making a fool of myself. [laughter]

Studs Terkel No--

Mr. Morris No. I I think on the thing is that I think I think that the level is narrowing and eventually you will have much more of a standard accent than you would have had in the past.

Studs Terkel Well, there is a point I'd like to raise now, if I may, hearing this. There may be eventually a standard accent. Something that Madame Mayoress said earlier that interests me. She says, "if everyone speaks exactly the same way", you know, "won't some color be lost?"

Walter Huxley Yes, of course.

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, of course!

Mr. Morris It will never come to that. It will never come to that.

Mrs. Lawrence Only with your with your different accents. You must have a North Country. You must have an Irish. You must have a Scottish accent. That is different entirely.

Madame Mayoress May I say something?

Studs Terkel Please.

Madame Mayoress I meet hundreds and hundreds of Americans during a season in my little hotel and I can tell whether you're northern or southern or western. You have the accents the same as we do. You see what I mean?

Studs Terkel Indeed. The point, the reason I raised this point to begin with, is that in America the dollar, apparently - not apparently - quite obviously, the dollar is the line of demarcation between say upper/lower class.

Mrs. Lawrence It's [gradually?] coming, it is.

Studs Terkel Now is that becoming it here?

Mrs. Lawrence Yes.

Studs Terkel I was told - you see now, what Mrs. Lawrence says is rather interesting.

Madame Mayoress Oh, I don't agree.

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, yes it is. Now listen to me, Madame Mayoress.

Studs Terkel In a moment, Madame Mayoress.

Mrs. Lawrence At one time you would have been, if you'd have been sort of, what shall I say? A clerk in an office or something, you would not have walked into the Ritz Hotel. But now that wages are higher and you're enabled to do this thing, you walk in and Jack is as good as his master. I'm as good as anybody else.

Madame Mayoress Oh, why, yes. I quite agree with that, but that doesn't alter the fact or the argument about different dialects. Mu-- I quite agree.

Mrs. Lawrence [unintelligible] talking about dialects.

Madame Mayoress We are getting Americanized to this extent: that the money money talks, and if money talks I'm speechless, dear. [laughter]

Studs Terkel How do you feel about, how do you feel about this this--

Mrs. Lawrence It's true [unintelligible]--

Studs Terkel About the comment. You you think this is happening? Mr. Lawrence? Mr. Mayor?.

Walter Huxley I I do think we are still, in certain sections, retaining this obvious difference between it because even if you've got all the money in the world you still can't get in Eton or Harrow.

Mrs. Lawrence Ah, now that's it.

Mr. Lawrence Well, I say this class distinction will go on for years and years and years. Hundreds of years. It will never alter. [background conversation and response]

Walter Huxley Slowly--

Mrs. Lawrence That is why little public schools are coming up now charging exorbitant fees just for somebody to say my son went to a public school. Because still in this day and age you cannot get into Eton and Harrow and places like that, unless you're real people.

Madame Mayoress Unless [unintelligible]

Mrs. Lawrence But you can get into these minor public schools and pay the earth to do it simply and solely so that you can go and say, "Well, my son's at a public school."

Studs Terkel Well, I'm listening right now, [I notice?] if I may make a personal comment. Mr. Morris' accent is slightly different than that of others here.

Mrs. Lawrence His is a public school accent.

Mr. Morris Yes. Well, now I think one of the great - we'd rather gone off the track of the argument of this of this thing that we're now talking about in dialects rather than accents and the social class distinction. And I think one of the great levelers was that there's a wonderful pub in London called the Berkeley [pronounced "Barkley"] Hotel. You may know it or you may not. It's known as the Berkeley or also the Buckley [pronounced "Barkley"]. And during, or before the war, unless you had money and a certain amount of standing you would never go into the Berkeley. But during the war, thanks to the leveling-out process when the very best of chaps who hadn't got commissions in the ordinary way got commissions, became officers and gentlemen and the best [will?] in the world, were able then to go into the Berkeley Hotel. And as a result over 5 years you had a complete change of atmosphere in hotels and everything else. I think, Walter, you would agree with that. The social structure was broken down a little bit during the war years, and as a result you have got places which normally you would have thought were preserves of the old, if you like, the old regime, which are no no longer there, and the atmosphere has changed and accents have changed and the whole things have changed, I think. The whole thing has changed.

Studs Terkel And you indicate that you were in favor of that?

Mr. Morris I'm entirely in favor of it. I think it it's it's what must happen. It must go on. It should go on.

Studs Terkel That is the change?

Mr. Morris Yes. I think it must go on.

Studs Terkel If we may have, perhaps, a last round about session. Because there are these differences of opinion and I'm very delighted to know that there are these differences of opinion.

Mrs. Lawrence I'm amazed that you think that--

Studs Terkel No. You, Mr. Mayor. What's your feeling about the changes that have occurred? Mr. Morris indicated--

Walter Huxley I I think they're all for the best. And I think they will go on possibly in the next hundred years and we shall be reasonably level. There will never be an obvious equality.

Studs Terkel Madame Mayoress, you've indicated, please recapitulate, if you will.

Madame Mayoress Well, I, I say this: There's always got to be the master. And there's always got to be the worker. And they can't merge to be equal, but they can share. They can share in the prosperity of the country. That's my little final--

Studs Terkel Mrs. Lawrence.

Mrs. Lawrence I don't agree with the 3 people who have spoken at all. I don't. I think that if you were the child of a professional man, if you had no money at all, you had a little bit of standing. Now it doesn't even mean a thing. Schoolmasters are even, to me, illiterate. They don't even speak properly and I hate it all. I would like to get back to the old days when people were people and they they had a certain standing in life. And now it seems to me that as long as you've got money, that counts and nothing else matters. And that's the way I feel about it.

Studs Terkel And Mrs. Morris.

Mrs. Morris Well, I think the only people who are really feeling it are the titled people, the real backbone of England. I think they are noticing that and feeling the change that's going on more than anyone else. They're the people disliking it. The other people who are coming up in the social scale, they're enjoying it. But I don't think the real gentry, the backbone of England--

Studs Terkel How do you feel about it, Mrs. Morris?

Mrs. Morris Well, I don't feel anything, really, about it. I think it's a very good thing. It's all due to this free education and all the education that the children are getting now. I mean they are being educated as well as some of the so-called public schools. So that it's bound to happen.

Studs Terkel Mr. Lawrence?

Mr. Lawrence Well, I would you go back four or five hundred years ago and find out what the people thought then because I'm pretty certain they think the same as I do now.

Studs Terkel Well then, this has given us, I think - this is a surprising, I'm delighted.

Mrs. Lawrence [Unintelligible]

Studs Terkel I'm delighted to hear what is obviously a cross-section of opinion. Not everyone thinking the same and being polite and agreeing, but on the contrary, expressing their points of view, and I think I find this very exhilarating, and I like Stratford-upon-Avon very much, indeed [response from group]. Mr. Mayor, Madame Mayoress, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. [pause in recording]

Mr. Lawrence Where're you going from there?

Studs Terkel Back to London. You know, while driving down the country road here with Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence. Mrs. Lawrence, you said something about--

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, I was saying--

Studs Terkel about Mr. Morris' accent.

Studs Terkel Oh, John Morris.

Studs Terkel You said he'd look very well in hunting pink.

Mrs. Lawrence I thought - I have always thought that John Morris would look wonderful in hunting pink. And every time I see him he conjures up in my mind a picture of a gentleman in hunting pink. But he can be terribly vulgar. But he's so he's so educated that he can get away with it. The ordinary, average person, the ordinary kind of man, would never get away with it but he does and people accept it because he's the person he is.

Studs Terkel Well, here's a case, then, of accent enabling one to do something one with accent could not do.

Mrs. Lawrence It certainly does. It certainly does.

Studs Terkel Mr. Lawrence.

Mr. Lawrence You've got to go back a few years ago when you spoke of a [common?] farmer who's now dead, poor soul, and you said he could walk into the Grosvenor in a dirty old jacket and still be accepted in the Grosvenor.

Mrs. Lawrence Exactly. You see, that is that is what breeding does for you. You could go into the best hotel in London, if you've got breeding and a beautiful voice, and you would get away with a dirty old jacket and dungarees. And they would accept you, but you go in there and say, "Oh, my God, isn't this a dump" [speaking in a cockney accent], you would never get anywhere. You'd be put out.

Studs Terkel But suppose you flash a roll of bills, you spoke of the dollar, and still have that lower-class accent. Would they throw you out?

Mrs. Lawrence We were talking, if you remember, about years ago. I think now perhaps you would get away with it and that's what disappoints me.

Mr. Lawrence There would be a few people who would look upon you with scorn and that's--

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, they would. But, see, you wouldn't care. I mean we went to the races at Plumpton near Brighton, didn't we? And the man at at the little place around the corner where we used to go to eat he asked us to take him to the races. And his conversation was overheard by these toffy-nosed sort of upper-class people, and they were sneering at him. And I saw it. And I hated it. But it still happens. Must do.

Studs Terkel Well, this is amazing. I mean, I'm just listening, it's interesting, listening to this. The little sidelights. I'll keep this on and off when anything else occurs to you. If I hear you say something I like, well, I'm just going to switch this thing right on again, if you don't mind!

Mrs. Lawrence Ahh, you switch in on. I'll tell you about--[pause in recording]

Mr. Lawrence --London accent.

Studs Terkel Now let's hear about this. We're talking now about accents of Stratford, we're just about two and a half hours by train from London. Mr. Lawrence, you were saying what about the accent?

Mr. Lawrence The accent here is totally different from the Londoner. The London is classed as a cockney, if you like. Everybody calls me a cockney. I'm not a cockney or I haven't got a cockney accent.

Mrs. Lawrence You must be born within the sound of Bow Bells to be a cockney.

Mr. Lawrence Nobody here, the speech of a person in Warwickshire, the average farmer who speaks in Warwickshire, is totally different from a Londoner.

Mrs. Lawrence Oh, yes.

Mr. Lawrence You can tell from--

Mrs. Lawrence It's a South Country accent.

Studs Terkel This is a South Country accent?

Mrs. Lawrence We have a South Country accent.

Studs Terkel And South, about two and a half hours south of London.

Mrs. Lawrence Yes. You could hear my voice as opposed to Joan Morris. Mine is a London South Country voice.

Studs Terkel Oh, yours is a South Country voice?

Mrs. Lawrence Mine is a South county--

Studs Terkel What is this? Are we north of London? What are we?

Mr. Lawrence West.

Studs Terkel This is the Mid- would this be called the Midlands?

Mr. Lawrence Oh, yes.

Mrs. Lawrence Yes. We're right in the heart of the Midlands, here.

Studs Terkel This is the Midlands, then.

Mrs. Lawrence Yes.

Mrs. Lawrence And now only two and a half hours from London this is what, see, we're accustomed to wider distances in America. I can't get accustomed to--

Mrs. Lawrence That's a lovely little back lane, this look - now look you're going around. And at one time they had a thing across here to stop the cattle across there.

Studs Terkel So we'll be hearing what is known as a Midlands dialect in this--

Mrs. Lawrence You will hear a Quinton dialect because in the Midlands, each each place in the Midlands has a different accent. Now these you couldn't hardly understand, if they're really, you know, cross and getting annoyed with each other. They really go to town.

Studs Terkel Well, we're coming close to the pub. [pause in recording]

Mrs. Lawrence Are you coming in for a cup of tea?

Studs Terkel You said something, Mrs. Lawrence. You said you hate the North England accent, the Yorkshire?

Mrs. Lawrence I cannot bear the North of England accent. And furthermore the people have no finesse at all. They're rude and gross and horrible and, oh, I don't know. I just don't like them.

Studs Terkel Why is this? Why do you think this?

Mrs. Lawrence They're just different. They're not, as I said before they have no finesse at all. They just wade in and say what they think and then consider themselves forthright and think that that covers a multitude of sins, which in my opinion doesn't.

Studs Terkel Well, Mrs. Lawrence, you said they say what they think.

Mrs. Lawrence Yes, I did.

Studs Terkel Didn't you say what you thought?

Mrs. Lawrence Yes, but not in quite the same way. I was asked to debate on a subject, and to be honest I had to express my opinion. But if I thought I was going to hurt somebody's feelings--

Studs Terkel Ah!

Mrs. Lawrence By saying something then I wouldn't say it. I know the Mayoress understands me well enough to know that if I don't agree with her, well, it doesn't matter. But if I thought I was hurting somebody I would be very careful not to do it. But they don't care.