Maybe It’s Because He’s A Londoner

Capital’s accent voted very stress soothing in lifeboats survey

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The Geordies may have topped the poll for the most attractive accents but in times of crisis it’s the Londoners that are most likely to soothe a person in distress, according to a recent poll organised by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

In a survey of 2,000 people in the United Kingdom, Cockney, London and assorted south east England accents were hailed among the most calming and reassuring in an emergency, coming second only to the warmth of a Scottish brogue.

The RNLI, asked people to name the accent they would find most calming in times of a personal distress call. The survey ties in with the charity’s preparations for its biggest annual fundraising event, the RNLI SOS Day.

The overarching theme for the 2009 SOS Day is ‘Sound Or Silence’, which links neatly to the sound of the spoken word throughout the UK and Ireland. Survey participants were particularly asked which accent they found ‘calming’ in an emergency – possibly the accents they would most like to hear when being rescued by a friendly RNLI lifeboat crew member.

The full results show that of the UK’s varied dialects, Scottish, Estuary English and Irish accents took the top three places, with 17 per cent, 15 per cent, and
14 per cent, respectively. These were followed by the oft-imitated Geordie accent, with 11 per cent, and the Welsh accent, with 9 per cent.

And of all the accents from the south east of England, it appears Cockneys inspire the most confidence in a crisis. This is entirely appropriate as Tower Lifeboat Station, one of our four local stations, was the busiest RNLI station in the country during 2007 and 2008 so far. Indeed, its crews have been called ‘out on a shout’ more than 180 times in just the first six months.

Steve King, a lifeboat crew member at Tower Lifeboat Station, said he was delighted that his southern lilt has been given the seal of approval by so many people. He said, “It’s good to know that people find the southern accent a source of comfort during an emergency – pretty good job really given that lifeboat crew members are there solely to save lives and help people out in emergency situations!”

RNLI supporters throughout the UK will be holding SOS themed events culminating on SOS Day on Friday 30th January 2009. The theme to inspire fundraisers this year is “Sound or Silence”, so from sponsored silences to sea shanty sing-a-longs, anyone can get involved. More information on how to show your support is available at

December 2, 2008