The Corner

The one and only.



Several readers expressed bafflement at my including the following in a
Corner post yesterday:

“My, we are sharp this morning! Been to Sheffield, have we?”

This is a specimen of an extinct microdialect, the one spoken by tradtional
British nannies in the great days of the nanny, about which Jonathan
Gathorne-Hardy wrote the definitive book (This book includes an imposing photograph
of Nanny Everest, Winston Churchill’s nanny, whom he adored far more than he
did his mostly absent mother. Nanny Everest’s picture was at Churchill’s
bedside when he died. When she herself died in 1895 — Churchill then in
his 20s — he was devastated.)

I often use nannyisms with my own children. Sample, when asked to get up
and do something: “Daddy can’t get up right now. Daddy’s got a bone in his

Oh, Sheffield? Great center of cutlery manufacure.


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