I last wrote in this blog on the subject of Wikipedia’s presentation of “Conservative RP” way back in 2016, when I was objecting to a poorly-written article dedicated to the subject. You can read what I wrote here. Some of the errors and unsubstantiated claims in that article were modified by an editor, and at some point a slightly reduced version was shoe-horned into the Wikipedia article on Received Pronunciation, and the offending article itself was deleted. You can read the current piece here.
Looking at it again I still feel that this is an unacceptable piece of work, so although I find the subject of RP rather boring, I am reluctantly starting to revise the material. The first objection I have is that the whole idea of “Conservative RP” is muddled. Its description implies that this is a present-day accent used or adopted by some British speakers (principally older and higher-class speakers), alongside other present-day accents of English; much of what is presented, however, is simply an account of the phonetics of RP of fifty to a hundred years ago. If speakers on the BBC used "Conservative RP" up to 1960, that is because they were speaking with the RP accent of sixty years ago, not because they had a distinctively conservative accent at the time. The material mixes up diachronic (historical) with synchronic (present-day) analysis; this article has a section on Historical variation, and it is there that “Conservative RP” belongs.
Section 5 of the Wikipedia piece is almost entirely based on a much-cited but superficial web article on the British Library’s “British Accents and Dialects” site. The examples given in the BL article are based on a single speaker who was born in 1909. The lead in the WP material contrasts Conservative RP with “Contemporary RP”, and claims that the Oxford English Dictionary’s pronunciations were based on Conservative RP for its first two editions, but on Contemporary RP for its third edition. No reference is given for this. We are given two alternative names for Conservative RP: Traditional RP and Upper RP. Section 1.1 of the same WP article goes through half a dozen other names for RP, and Section 1.2 lists sub-varieties. If the terms “Traditional” and “Upper” belong anywhere, it is there (but references for their use are not given).
We are then given an unordered list of “phonological features” of Conservative RP that distinguish it from Contemporary. I have pointed out before that most of the “features” are phonetic, not phonological. The most important point to make here is that there is a great deal of overlap between this list and the list given in Section 4.3 (Historical variation), and this overlap must be confusing to readers.
Finally, Sections 1.1 and 1.2 could be better organized. What I propose to do is to move anything useful from Section 5 into Section 4.3 and then remove Section 5.