“Dicky Sams” and “Yellow Bellies”

Saturday, December 5 – 1903
Why the inhabitants of Liverpool should be called “Dicky Sams is not very clear, says “T.A.F.” Some say that the sobriquet originated from their familiar style of addressing one another as Bill, Tom, Jack, Dick, and Sam, which to southern ears sounded somewhat uncouth.

Another explanation is that “Dicky Sams” is derived from a certain unpronounceable Greek word, which means “divided into two parts or set at variance,” and bears relation to the fierce political and religious feuds which have at different times agitated the city.

A Cornishman is “Cousin Jack” to the natives of the adjacent counties; the Glaswegians are “Keelies”; the Lancashire men are “Tim Bobbins,” a nickname which explains itself; while the Lincolnshire folk have long been called “Yellow Bellies,” after the frogs which once abounded there.

Yorkshiremen, again, are everywhere “Tykes”. A nickname the etymology of which is not easy to trace; nor is it less difficult to say why the inhabitants of Suffolk should be designated “Dumplings,” those of Kent “Hogs,” or the Isle of Wight people “Calves.”
(Manchester Courier, 05-12-1903)



  1. Dickie Sams were sailors, from Liverpool, the name was derived from a tavern in the dock area (location is unknown) and it was well known to arriving sailors. The term was faced out by rthe introduction of the term Wackers.

    1. Hi Terry,

      Thanks for the update. I have seen two alternative meanings from old newspapers. One London paper claiming the name came from the works and characters of the books of William Shakespare.

      Another newspaper report from 1892 about Lancashire nicknames say that “a dickie is the driver`s seat on a hearse.”


  2. The inn was run by Richard Samuels and stood on Mann Island between a ship’s chandler (Newtons) and Jane O’Riley’s Dining Rooms. The area was known as Nova Scotia and was alongside the George’s Passage between Canning Dock and George’s Dock.

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