After years of debate about North/South divides, the dividing line has finally been plotted, and it’s come as a surprise to many – and a relief to me.
The Lowry Gallery in Salford is currently running an exhibition, The Myth of the North, debunking stereotypes about Northern life and assessing the unique cultural identity of the region. But this threw up the question – where is ‘the north’?
Surveying visitors to the exhibition established a complete lack of consensus as to where the north begins and ends. So a team of researchers decided to try and map the actuality of the north/south boundary. Using statistical, social, cultural and economic factors, the north has been mapped by establishing variants in house prices, visual changes in the built environment, physical and historic boundaries, cultural and political differences and different life expectancy rates.
Now, I’ve always thought of myself as northern, despite having lived the last decade or more in the south. I guess it’s a case of worldview, culture, type of humour, etc. As I say to my ‘southern’ wife, ‘you can take the man out of the north, but you can’t take north out of the man.’
But, according to this new map (here), I’m only a northern by a whisker, and I only live in the south by a few miles, for the boffins have decided that the north is anything above a dividing line which should be drawn just a few miles north of Bristol (my current place of residence) to just south of Grimsby – my place of birth, and where I spent my formative years. Too close for comfort! Still, it does mean I’m not so far away from my northern roots as I thought I was a couple of days ago!
Have you become a southerner or a northerner overnight?