Presentation on theme: "The King’s England (1941) vs. Crap Towns (2003). Introduction to ‘Suffolk’, from The King’s England (1941) by Arthur Mee If the traveller feels in Suffolk."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction to ‘Suffolk’, from The King’s England (1941) by Arthur Mee If the traveller feels in Suffolk that it is a country a little apart, not meeting many other travellers there, he has the consolation that it is a country little spoiled – and with a people of whom that also might be said, for they are a naturally friendly folk, full of helpfulness, good neighbourliness, and courtesy. The great Motor Age that has shattered so much loveliness in England’s countryside has not destroyed the simple beauty of these eastern villages. They remain as they have been for generation after generation, with the glory of their open fields, their wide landscapes enriched by trees, lovely commons golden with gorse, hedgerows filled with loosestrife, and wild flowers in profusion everywhere. The churchyards are often like a garden; we have seen them full of flowers. We have seen fields massed purple with wild orchids, and others massed with cowslips. We have sat in church after church in Suffolk listening to the nightingale singing in the churchyard, and a hundred times we have seen the sight that grows rarer and rarer year after year as we move about England, the ploughman on the skyline, with the noble Suffolk Punches drawing the plough. It cannot be said that Suffolk has her cattle on a thousand hills, but her cattle and her sheep fill the plain.
Introduction to ‘Hull’, from Crap Towns (2003) THE city of Hull, isolated from the rest of the country by the Humber estuary, has had more than its fair share of social deprivation and tragedy. It suffered terribly during World War II and a large proportion of its industries have since collapsed. Unemployment rates are high, as are crime and heroin addiction levels. It is, however, increasingly successful, with a busy shopping and cultural centre and it contains a large, thriving student population.
How can I describe Hull? Take a prosperous and thriving town, a gem of the North East, with a rich maritime industry. Sprinkle it generously with Luftwaffe bombs for a few years until it's heart is a gutted shell. Then kill off its seagoing heritage and plunge its young men and women into generations of soul- destroying unemployment. Then let a bunch of lunatic architects loose in the 1960s and 1970s and apply gallons of concrete. Hull. What a hole...The streets act as wind tunnels and litter and dogs' messes lie upon the pavements as numerous as grains of sand on a beach. I'd seen teenage mums before, but I seriously thought for the first day or two that older sisters in Hull were really nice and helpful for taking their little brothers and sisters out in prams like that. There are loads of fish and chip shops, but no fish. Any fish that are brought in by the pathetic fleet of stubborn fishermen are immediately shipped off, they are too valuable for the good people of Hull. The silent threat of violence hangs in the air, along with the smell from the chocolate factory. Chocolate factories, by the way, don't smell of chocolate, they smell of death. If the wind comes from the South East it brings the smell of Grimsby docks - enough said. If it comes from the other direction it brings the smell of the tanning factory... rotting carcasses and rancid flesh. Hull did teach me one lesson. No matter what happens to me in life, no matter where I live, or how bad things are, I will know that it can never, ever be as bad as living in Hull. Finlay Coutts-Britton.
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