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October 2018



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What Ho! A Wodehouse Poll

I enjoyed the Radio4 dramatisation of Something Fresh. Martin Jarvis was splendid as Lord Emsworth, although I’ll always think of Richard Vernon in the role. Now here’s a puzzle. For as long as I’ve known about P G Wodehouse, I’ve pronounced his name, ‘Woodhouse’. Last week on The Book Quiz Kirsty Wark said ‘Woadhouse’ and I heard the same pronunciation on the radio. Is this some secret I’ve never been let into? How do you pronounce the great man’s name?

Poll #1382574 P G Wodehouse

How do you pronounce 'Wodehouse' as in 'P G'?

I pronounce Wodehouse, Woodhouse
I pronounce Wodehouse, Woadhouse
I have never uttered the name of Wodehouse


A woadhouse is where Elmer Fudd heads when he wants a few beers and a fight...
But then I also say Brazil as in the country, and the Dawn Trader.
Well, Angela was rather a Hyacinth Bucket about her name, wasn't she?
This is a bit lidl suddenly becoming Liedel! When did that happen or did I just always say it incorrectly? I've heard Woadhouse in the States, but always thought it must be just an American thing :)

Kirsty is Scottish: any Scots wish to respond?
A colleague of mine is a board member of the Wodehouse Society. I believe she also says 'Woodhouse', but I will ask to make sure. :)
http://www.wodehouse.org/tws.html Says Woodhouse.... We could Tweet Stephen Fry? ~x~
*They* can't be wrong.
You could: I don't tweet.
Let's have it from the horse's mouth!
Forgot to tell you that the Wodehouse Society also says the pronunciation is 'Woodhouse'. My colleague looked positively disgusted when I asked if it might be 'Woadhouse'. :)



I pronounce it as Woodhouse (wood to rhyme with could and should, not wode to rhyme with the dye with which the ancients painted their bodies.)

And what about the Beswick pottery? I've heard this pronounced Bes-ICK but then I've heard the gurus on Antiques Roadshow and elsewhere call it Bes-WICK.
Margaret Powling

Re: Wodehouse

I say Bes-ick.
I always thought saying Woadhouse was one of those traps for heffalumps showing you are utterly beyond the pale and not fit to know.
That's Kirsty told, then!
But then the Scots of my acquaintance think my panloafy RP English accent is rubbish and that they alone talk proper. Murdo's Hebridean accent made paw, poor, pour and pore all sound different, which mine doesn't. Although I am not sure how he would have pronounced Wodehouse.


Wodehouse pronounced

I've always known it as 'wood.' His biographer, Robert McCrum says this:
Rooted in its English past, it pronunciation (WOOD-house) also puts it into that category of ancient surnames, like Cholmondeley (Chumley) and Featherstonehaugh (Fanshaw) which do not sound as they look.

Re: Wodehouse pronounced

More heffalump traps! Just like Cockburn, Towcester, Bicester...