North of England


North of England
   The North of England exists by virtue of a North-South Divide. This is often regarded as a variable construct, but the division does have deep historical roots. It was taken by the Romans to be along a line from the Humber on the east to the Mersey on the west, a division that still stands for most purposes. The area to the north was referred to as Britannia Inferior and that to the south as Britannia Superior. Lifestyle, life chances and culture vary remarkably between North and South. The economic base of the distinction is built primarily on heavy versus light industry. The post-Fordist decline of heavy industry has left high unemployment levels in the North. Diet differences, a higher rate of smoking, and a lower degree of general attention to preventive medicine have led to inferior life expectancy and markedly poorer life chances. That said, the North has produced a distinctive popular culture, ranging from the Beatles to Jimmy Connolly. A droll and dry humour, combined with a more communitarian life style, distinguishes the North. These factors, among others, differentiate North and South. In itself, difference and diversity in liberal societies is laudable, but when such difference affects life chances it is a source of some concern. There have been several centralized initiatives to attempt to even out these differences in life chances.
   See also: class system
   PAUL BARRY CLARKE

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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