Northern town names, a pronunciation guide

pronunciation guide

Jump to our pronunciation guide to Northern towns with counterintuitive pronunciations (below).

As a child my parents often took me on camping trips around the north of England. Getting lost is one of my abiding memories. With no sat nav to hand in those days, we would often resort to pulling over and asking someone for directions. As is often the case this didn’t always go smoothly…

Travelling up the East coast, we were heading for a coastal town called Staithes. We had been in the car for quite some time when we started to wonder if we’d missed the town altogether. My Dad pulled the car over and asked a passing gentleman “excuse me, do you know where Staithes is?”, “never heard of it” was his response.

After much confusion and more than a hint of pedantism from the passer by, my Dad resorted to writing the town name on a piece of paper. “Oh, you mean Steers” he said, in a sudden light bulb moment. It turns out we were 10 minutes away.

Now, I don’t for a second think that this man really couldn’t understand what my Dad meant. What is more likely, is he had been asked the same question by many tourists and simply enjoyed the opportunity to be awkward. There is no way that – without some local knowledge – you could possibly deduce that Staithes is pronounced Steers.

My point is, there are a lot of places out there, a lot of which have odd pronunciations and in these towns live pedants who love to “not understand” what you’re saying.

Below is our pronunciation guide to Northern towns with counterintuitive pronunciations. Please feel free to comment with your suggestions or corrections.

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Commonly mispronounced Northern Towns
Place NameAreaPronunciation
Aigburth LiverpoolEgberth
PeoverCheshirePeever
SoughLancashireSuff
RooseCumbriaRooz
Barrow-in-FurnessCumbriaBarra-in-furnace
HarrogateNorth YorkshireHarragut
HuytonLiverpoolHi-ton
BuryGreater ManchesterBeri
BarnoldswickLancashireBarlick
AspatriaCumbriaSpatry
WorkingtonCumbriaWukinton or W'kton locally
Alnwick NorthumberlandAnnick
Euxton LancashireEkston
Oswaldtwistle LancashireOzzletwizzle
Staithes North YorkshireSteers (Local Pronunciation)
AltrinchamGreater ManchesterAultringam
BarughSouth YorkshireBark
BeauchiefSheffieldBeechiff
BellinghamNorthumberlandBellinjam
BroughamCumbriaBroom
SandwithCumbriaSannuth
Burgh By SandsCumbriaBruff By Sands
KirkbyMerseysideKerby
CamboisNorthumberlandKamas
PontelandNorthumberlandPon-tee-land
CholmondeleyCheshireChumly
CholmondestonCheshireChumston
Chop GateNorth YorkshireChop Yat
ClaughtonLancashireKlafton
Claughton On BrockLancashireKlighton
CowpenNorthumberlandKoopen
KeswickCumbriaKezzick
CudworthSouth YorkshireKuderth
DodworthSouth YorkshireDoderth
ElsecarSouth YorkshireElsikar
GateacreLiverpoolGattaka
GreysouthenCumbriaGraysun
KeighleyWest YorkshireKeithlee
MashamNorthern YorkshireMasam
MeolsMerseysideMelz
Meols CopSouthportMilz
OvinghamNorthumberlandOvinjum
PrudhoeNorthumberlandPruda
QuernmoreLancashireKwormer
RievaulxNorth YorkshireReevo
SlaithwaiteWest YorkshireSlawit Or Slathwit
SowerbyWest YorkshireSaubi
TorpenhowCumbriaTrapena
UlghamNorthumberlandUffam
WavertreeLancashireWartree
Market WeightonEast Riding Of YorkshireWeeton
WeshamLancashireWessem
WombwellSouth YorkshireWumwel
WybunburyCheshireWinbry
TodmordenWest YorkshireTodmuden
SimonstoneLancashireSimmunsten
WhalleyLancashireWarley
BarrowfordLancashireBarrah-ford
BlackoLancashireBlackah
FoulridgeLancashireFolridge
WiswellLancashireWizzle
Place NameAreaPronunciation

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