The Daily Sketch newspaper was launched in 1909 and ran until 11th May 1971. I have a selected copy of Monday 6th Februry 1928 – well it’s actually a photocopy of a few tatty pages and has some interesting stories and attitudes of the time. I’ve used one piece from page 7 regarding ‘Mr Churchill and Rating Reform’
Beneath the Churchill piece, under a head-line “Tow-cester”, we have:
When a constable saw a man wheeling a bicycle near Towcester, Northamptonshire, and asked him where he lived, the reply was “Tow-cester.” This might have satisfied a number of people who do not enjoy the felicity of living in Towcester, but it was not good enough for a resident of the place, whose inhabitants invariably refer to it as “Toaster”. So the gentleman whose pronunciation was in accord with the worst B.B.C. traditions in relation to place names, was brought before the Northampton Divisional Court, where he pleaded guilty to stealing a bicycle.
People who insist upon stealing bicycles should at least exercise discrimination in selecting a bogus address. Manchester, for example, offeres the maximum of safety. No local pedant has ever pretended that it should be pronounced “Mainster”.