It’s enough to make you rush out and buy a dozen flat caps and three hundredweight of whippets.
One academic has suggested that York isn’t in the north at all. Instead it is as southern as that there softie London.
The idea, suggested by Mark Tewdwr-Jones from Newcastle University, might make you choke on your York ham sandwich.
But actually it’s a pretty interesting idea.
Broadcasting from the Great Exhibition of the North in Gateshead on Saturday (June 23), the BBC Radio 4 programme Today had asked a number of people where the North began.
For his suggestion Prof Tewdwr-Jones drew a line which put York, Manchester and Sheffield in the south, while Lincoln and Grantham were in the North.
This is his explanation:
My map is a northern area defined as being ‘not London’, outside London’s sphere of influence.
There are several ways you could define a northern region, including “the post-industrial north” or the “north eastern peripheral region” – but perhaps the most pertinent question is where does London end?
My map is a northern area defined as being ‘not London’, where London’s sphere of influence extends over most of the country – determined by two hour commuting patterns to London which is becoming the norm.
Sparked a debate
The idea started quite the debate. Here are some of the comments on Facebook and Twitter:
A more or less straight line from just south of Grimsby to just south of Chester passing just south of Sheffield will do. Anyone seriously suggesting that Leeds and York aren’t “north” will have a bit of a struggle on their hands.
Sam Nelson on Facebook
I agree: Manchester, Leeds and York not being in the North doesn’t seem credible. Note that the Prof who came up with this is from Newcastle University. Maybe some bias, perhaps?
Andy James on Facebook
Yep. York was the Northern most city in England for hundreds of years in the past. Has always been in the North.
John Brannon on Facebook
The urban planner Sir Peter Hall said as much about 40 years ago. If it’s commutable, it’s a suburb of London.
David Johnson on Facebook
You need to be talking about a very specific, high earning professional class to define “London’s sphere” as area in which people are commuting to London regularly. I grew up in Doncaster, London was a holiday destination, no more “influential” in my daily life than Paris.
Paul Lowman/Inkwell Records on Twitter
York-London can theoretically be done in 2 hrs by train – but what about travelling to York station? The map should have “corridors” into the North around the motorways & Southern “enclaves” centred on train stations.
I-Po74 on Twitter