We all like to be proud of our hometowns. We are allowed to rag on the shoddy nightlife and grimly boarded up high street, but woe betide the smug Londoner who takes a jab.
So I can genuinely feel for the ‘winners’ of iLiveHere’s list of ‘England’s 10 Worst Towns’ – which has rather a snobby whiff about it I don’t quite like.
The good people of these towns have had the place they were born, raised and faced life’s many hardships, joys and challenges reduced to a punchline.
However, I will at least try to keep an open mind…
The white cliffs of Dover have long been a poignant symbol of British resilience during wartime, but in this list they take on a much drearier meaning altogether.
Yes, the iconic ferry port town/birthplace of Joss Stone has been voted as the worst town in England, and people have been pretty harsh.
One person commented:
Let us for a moment imagine that the British Isles are the silhouette of an old man.
Scotland is his cap, Cornwall his toes, Anglia his curved spine, making Dover his herpes infested sh*t-hole.
Ouch. One local warned of an ‘infestation’ of ‘chavish pests’ and ‘scally-types’ due to ‘mass unemployment and a lack of finances’.
Coming in at second place is Hull, which – despite being crowned UK City of Culture 2017 – often finds itself to be the butt of many a location-banter joke.
One person noted how the historic city was ‘stuck in a cultural time warp at the end of nowhere’, plagued with ‘crime, teenage pregnancies, obesity and unemployment’.
Third place went to Luton, a place of archaeological importance and historic hat-making.
One resident spoke in terror of the ‘chavs, urchins and bums’ who reportedly frequent the Luton branch of Yates:
The hair on the back of your neck stands rigidly on end and you are in a state of utmost fear, this is indicative of the experience one might incur whilst negotiating Luton high street after hours.
‘Lucky’ runners up are as follows: Scunthorpe, Rochdale, Bradford, Gravesend, Sunderland, Oldham and Blackpool.
I admit I was particularly surprised at Blackpool being listed, which I fondly recall as having a shabby, spangly charm about it.
I’m sure I’m not the only person from Lancashire who enjoyed being driven through the lights as as kid – a night made complete by an oversized bundle of candy floss.
However, one resident has urged: ‘Don’t come here, don’t bring your family here, don’t save your hard earned cash to holiday here cos all you gonna get is, robbed, hassled, spat at’.
To be honest, I think it is difficult to quantify what iLiveHere charmingly refers to as ‘the worst god-awful hell holes in England’.
After all, one person’s tranquil paradise is another’s tedious, muddy purgatory.
According to iLiveHere:
Offending local councillors, dignitaries and meddlesome ratbags plus ruining the trade of slime ball lying estate agents, makes our day as they do their level best to polish a turd of a town.
There were some upsets this year and a new entry rocketing into the charts at number 1, that is sure to cause some outrage in their respective local rags.
The list was reportedly compiled from votes from ‘thousands of readers’ which isn’t exactly scientific so please feel free to maintain affection for the quirks and hidden gems of any of the bad-mouthed towns.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.