Clog Shop Chronicles

Read by Phil Benson

(4.6 stars; 28 reviews)

John Ackworth was the pen name of the Rev. Frederick R. Smith, a Methodist minister who was born in Snaith, Yorkshire, but spent much of his career as a circuit preacher in Lancashire. Clog Shop Chronicles was the first and most successful of his works. Set in the fictional 19th-century village of Beckside (said to be somewhere between Manchester and Bolton), the book consists of 12 tales of everyday life in a close-knit Methodist community, which continue into Beckside Lights (1897) and Doxy Dent (1899). Based on an entertaining group of characters who gather round the clog shop fire, the stories are sentimental at times, but Ackworth has a nice sense of irony and refrains from Methodist proselytizing. Ackworth was also a student of the Lancashire dialect and the spoken passages in his books are mostly written in a phonetic version of late 19th-century Bolton speech, which I have done my best to reproduce. (Summary by Phil Benson) (6 hr 51 min)


01 - An atonement 22:27 Read by Phil Benson
02 - Billy Botch 33:05 Read by Phil Benson
03 - Hanging his hat up 30:32 Read by Phil Benson
04 - Giving a man away 20:42 Read by Phil Benson
05 - Tatty Entwistle's return 25:28 Read by Phil Benson
06 - Coals of fire 21:35 Read by Phil Benson
07 - The knocker up 22:07 Read by Phil Benson
08 - For better or worse: The dilemma 20:40 Read by Phil Benson
09 - For better or worse: The denouement 18:46 Read by Phil Benson
10 - "Bullet" pie 24:49 Read by Phil Benson
11 - A diplomatic reverse 21:26 Read by Phil Benson
12 - Vaulting ambition: The o'erleaping 23:53 Read by Phil Benson
13 - Vaulting ambition: Alighting 22:43 Read by Phil Benson
14 - The zeal of thine house: "When Greek meets Greek" 21:08 Read by Phil Benson
15 - The zeal of thine house: "To be, or not to be" 18:27 Read by Phil Benson
16 - The zeal of thine house: "Of his necessity" 22:39 Read by Phil Benson
17 - The zeal of thine house: Raising the wind 23:02 Read by Phil Benson
18- The zeal of thine house: At last! 18:24 Read by Phil Benson


Delightfully authentic

(5 stars)

If Wagstaff means the Lancashire dialect of the spoken passages, that is exactly how the author wrote it. This is a delightful recording of high quality, both in sound and reading. Bravo, Mr. Benson! Keep up the good work!

one of the best books on librivox! Reader is a joy to hear.

(5 stars)

Solution to Difficult Accents

(5 stars)

As some reviewers point out it can be difficult to understand some of the very accurate accents used in this recording. The solution is to download the free ebook from and follow along. Eventually, you may not need the written version. The book is very well worth the time to listen. Phil Benson is a flawless narrator of this type of recording. Don’t miss out!

Wonderful to hear the accents too ...

(5 stars)

What a wonderful collection of stories and very believable. However I would opine that the accent is Yorkshire not Lancashire. Although which part of Yorkshire is a moot point. The regional dialects of the British Isles have all but been wiped out by radio (and now t.v.) and the influx of thousands of migrants from overseas.

Great Stories Read Well

(4 stars)

The only thing I have to say in a negative vein is the reader's use of an accent that is extremely hard to comprehend. At least to me is was. I would suggest that readers not use accents in the future, particularly ones that are hard to understand.


(5 stars)

I listened and thought it was a fun collection of stories - quite a few good characters here. And the accents are great. Yes, they may be a bit difficult to understand because they are rustic and unpolished, but that's part of the charm of the characters.

More John Ackworth stories & Phil Benson

(5 stars)

I love the John Ackworth stories and Phil Benson is the best reader! Any chance you could get Phil to read more? I could listen to him read the phone book!


(5 stars)

The best reader ever! The stories are wonderful too, but Phil Benson makes them come alive. I immediately searched for all books read by Mr Benson. More!