Sunday, July 25, 2010

The North and South

No, this isn't a story by John Jakes.  Nor is it commentary about my Southern American angst a la "The South Shall Rise Again.."  This is a different North and South:  this is about North England and South England.  Though, for all intents and purposes of this post, 'South England' really means 'London.'

A few weeks ago, my group at work hired a new person, who is originally from Northern Engalnd-Sheffield to be specific. This now brings the count of North England people in the group up to 2, and has since become a source of commentary (and good-natured ribbing) in the group.  'Joe' is now living in London for the first time, and we've had a few conversations about the difference of where he comes from versus life in London.  Oddly, for the first time since I've been here, I think I've finally met someone who understands me when I talk about the aggression and rudness of London-as a a big city, not an English city.  Joe has commented that he's stunned at how frequently he'll get run into/hit while on the tube, and rarely does anyone offer a 'sorry'- muchless a sincere apology.  He said it would be very uncommon to walk around the North in much the same way as in London, and *not* apologise to someone if you ran into them.

Of course, the Southern American in me can't help but giggle a bit inside when I think about the inversion of the stereotypes of North and South in England-versus the Northern & Southern parts of US.  In England, it's Northerners who live a slower pace, are friendly and ougoing, and show a level of civility to their fellow man when out in public.  In the US, this is the stereotype of Southerners.  In the US, stereotypes of a Northerner are that you'll be rude, loud, & aggressive; that's also the stereotype of Southern England.

Kinda funny, I think.


  1. I totally agree, London is not an english city, it has his own personality that make it quite differente from the rest of UK. Another city you shouldn't miss which is similar in this aspect to London is Paris.

    I think the best way to discover these cities is being guided by their local experts. That's why I recommend you to visit to get the best of Paris in case you want to discover another unique city!


  2. As a southerner living in an affected version of London (well, Cape Town is hardly London I guess) I can certainly identify - Amen, sister!
    I'd also like to see if you'd be interested in contributing to the site I edit ( You can email me at if interested, I look forward to hearing from you.

  3. I have just checked photos in England. The photo are indeed lovely! Made me want to pack my things and book now! I am showing this to my husband then maybe he'd get the hint ;)Thanks for sharing and more power to you!


  4. Yes, it is a little strange to see the north/south culture and character being the reverse of what it is in the US. Generally speaking, the warmer the climate, the more relaxed and easy going the people are.

    Although almost anywhere the big cities have a rat-race culture while in the country folks are friendlier and more easy going, even if the climate is cold.

  5. That is funny, I'm one of those aggressive Northern Americans, and stereotypes do have at least a little truth to them. My sister lives in Wiltshire and told me the crime in the Northern cities is too bad and there won't be enough for me to do there (she's addressing my "boredom issues"), that I should "stay South in London" if I move to the UK. Any thoughts on that?
    London is a very cosmopolitan city, do you feel that you truly experience England there, or is it more like getting to experience people from all over the world equally?

  6. @Gennifer...good question. I don't feel like I experience 'England' in London. Shame, really, because 'England' is a pretty amazing place-where folks are quite nice, laid back, and friendly. London just feels crazy most days! :)

  7. Cute post. After living in the north, south and midwest. And in large cities and small towns. I realize it is more a City Mouse vs Country (or smaller town) Mouse mentality.

  8. Haha very interesting how the stereotypes of the typical people living in the North and South in America is turned the opposite way around in England. My fiance lives in Bristol, which I guess is Southwest England. I do hope the majority of people are nice there lol.