b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Rubbish Towns » Post 555353 | Search
This is a question Rubbish Towns

I once went to Basildon. It was closed, I got chased by a bunch of knuckle-dragged yobs until I was lost in a maze of concrete alleyways and got food poisoning off pie. Tell us about the awful places you've visited or have your home.

Thanks to SpankyHanky for the suggestion

(, Thu 29 Oct 2009, 11:07)
Pages: Latest, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, ... 1

« Go Back

Between the ages of nought and 30, I managed to live in three cities. I was an undergraduate in Hull, a place that I grew to love after walking from the city centre to Cottingham on one of those quiet, foggy October mornings. I was a postgrad for 4 years in Birmingham, a place that I grew to despise on account of its being Birmingham.

But I was born in Stoke, and it was to North Staffordshire that I returned after student life ended. So it is that I've spent the vast majority of my life either in Stoke or in the vicinity thereof. I can claim with some confidence that, if a city could ever serve as a refutation of the hypothesis that there exists a benevolent and powerful deity, Stoke would be it. The City Council - meaninglessly - declared itself a Nuclear-Free Zone in the 1980s; the irony of this move is that there can be few places on Earth that would benefit more from the judicious application of a small atomic bomb.

The tragedy of Stoke is not that it fails; it is that it fails so badly, when it need not. It was once a thriving industrial city; it was never wealthy, but it was wealthy enough, and it had an industrial pride, confidence, and swagger. But the decline of the pottery industry, the decline of the coal industry, and the closing of the Shelton Bar Steel Works tore the heart from the place. Into that void spilled poverty both economic and aspirational. Stoke has become a city in which the disappointment of the past has mutated into a sneering réssentiment of the present: in a place where, once, a person did not need an education to be able to provide a decent income for himself, education came to be seen as disposable; once seen as disposable, it came to be seen as pointless; once seen as pointless, is came to be seen as worthy of suspicion and all-but-actively discouraged. The same applies to any other form of aspiration. The people take a perverse pride in their poverty, to the extent that they resent and resist any attempt to end it.

There is one growth industry in the area: warehousing. The economic hopes of the region have been pinned on the provision of large, pre-fabricated empty buildings into which things can be put. As you head into the city by train from the north, you can see a large green warehouse on the left. It is in the middle of nowhere, and was completed a couple of years ago. It is still empty.

It was in Stoke in the 1990s that I heard a shopkeeper complaining about decimal currency.

I have several doctor friends, several of whom have commented that working at the North Staffs hospital is fascinating because they see illnesses there that have been eradicated everywhere else in the country for two generations: diseases of pollution and poverty. The hospital itself is built on a plague-pit; I had an aunt who would refuse to be admitted there because she could remember it from her childhood, when it had been a workhouse.

Stoke-on-Trent is a city built on coal and clay with a spirit of asbestos.
(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 11:00, 9 replies)
Is there a Gorton post to follow or have you done that already?
(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 11:03, closed)
Gorton is yet to come.
I live in Gorton by choice, though.
(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 12:54, closed)
I assume that by choice
you mean someone else's choice?
(, Mon 2 Nov 2009, 20:06, closed)
What you have said here is exactly what others have told me about Stoke, I only passed throught it..
a few times and I know exactly what you mean.

It also seems to sound a lot like Ballymena in N.Ireland
(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 11:52, closed)
Bang on
Lived there in the 1990's. Got stuck making Wade wimsy's in a pot bank (Pottery factory to normal people) to qualify for a mortgage and was always amazed by the way that people would react positively and with great enthusiasm list every single alcoholic drink they drunk saturday night when you asked if they had a good weekend at work on monday morning, then after further questioning about where they went it turned out they were sat on there arse in front of Blind date.
I mentioned this behaviour to a guy I worked with from Brum and he was equally bemused by it as his Stokey step dad used to do it to.
Does this happen anywhere else in England?
I just couldnt find The royal family amusing when it came out after 5 yrs there, its reality TV not comedy.
(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 14:02, closed)
I like this
This has to be one of the bleakest pieces of writing I've read in a long time, beautifully phrased observation at it's finest.

(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 16:03, closed)
The second paragraph alone ...
... merits a click or eight.
(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 16:28, closed)
stoke is truly terrible
i used to let flats there. they were £30 a week for a 3 bed flat, and we still couldn't shift them.
(, Fri 30 Oct 2009, 19:35, closed)
Wonderfully written...

Never been to Stoke.

Never going to now.

*Clicks aplenty*
(, Mon 2 Nov 2009, 15:20, closed)

« Go Back

Pages: Latest, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, ... 1