An obvious distinguishing feature between written and spoken language is that conversation typically takes place face-to-face such that interlocutors share a context which is often multi-faceted. This chapter discusses the desirability and feasibility of studying spoken language from an historical perspective. It examines the genesis of the Mayhew Corpus (MC) and the Bolton/Worktown Corpus (BWC) and discusses the fitness for purpose of the corpus data. The chapter considers four devices which are important in the expression of evaluation, intensity and affect: tails, swearing, end weight apposition and interjections. It also considers aspects of Bolton dialect and how dialect relates to identity. The chapter reflects on the spirit of enquiry which originally generated the data used in the MC and the BWC, and on how this spirit of enquiry relates to contemporary spoken corpus linguistics. It also reflects on the sociolinguistic, affective and psycholinguistic factors which interact to determine continuity and change in vernacular language.