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Northern England

Northern part of England

Top 10 Northern England related articles

Northern England

North of England, the North
Nickname(s): 
The North
The three Northern England government regions shown within England, without regional boundaries. Other cultural definitions of the North vary.
Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Constituent country  England
Major cities
Area
 • Total37,331 km2 (14,414 sq mi)
Population
 (2011 census)[1]
 • Total14,933,000
 • Density400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
 • Urban
12,782,940
 • Rural
2,150,060
Demonym(s)Northerner
Time zoneGMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)

Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the second most northern area of Great Britain, considered separate due to cultural differences from the other areas – Scotland, Wales, the Midlands of England and the South of England. The area includes the major cities and metropolitan boroughs of Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland, Sheffield, Leeds, York and Bradford.

There are varying interpretations of where the region's borders lie, but they are commonly defined as the border with Scotland in the north, to the Midlands, or near the River Trent, in the south. This is roughly the three statistical regions: the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. These have a combined population of around 14.9 million as of the 2011 Census and an area of 37,331 km2 (14,414 sq mi).

The region has been controlled by many groups: the Brigantes as Brigantia, the largest Brythonic kingdom seen in Great Britain; the Romans as Britannia Inferior; the Angles as Northumbria and by Nordic tribes (Danes in the east and Norsemen in the west) as part of the Danelaw. After the Norman conquest in 1066, the Harrying of the North brought destruction. The area experienced Anglo-Scottish border fighting until the union of England and Scotland under the Stuarts, with some parts changing hands between England and Scotland many times. Many of the innovations of the Industrial Revolution began in Northern England, and its cities were the crucibles of many of the political changes that accompanied this social upheaval, from trade unionism to Manchester Capitalism. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the economy of the North was dominated by heavy industry such as weaving, shipbuilding, steel-making and mining. The deindustrialisation that followed in the second half of the 20th century hit Northern England hard, and many towns remain deprived compared with those in Southern England.

Urban renewal projects and the transition to a service economy have resulted in strong economic growth in some parts of Northern England, but a definite North–South divide remains both in the economy and the culture of England. Centuries of migration, invasion and labour have shaped Northern culture, and the region retains distinctive dialects, music and cuisine.

Northern England Intro articles: 36

Definitions

Watford Gap
Stoke-on-Trent
Crewe
Sheffield
Richmond
Various "gateways" to the North

For government and statistical purposes, Northern England is defined as the area covered by the three statistical regions of England – North East England, North West England and Yorkshire and the Humber.[2] This area consists of the ceremonial counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, County Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and West Yorkshire, plus the unitary authority areas of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.

Northern England as defined along historic county boundaries

Other definitions use historic county boundaries, in which case the North is generally taken to comprise Cumberland, Northumberland, Westmorland, County Durham, Lancashire and Yorkshire, often supplemented by Cheshire.[3] The boundary is sometimes drawn without reference to human borders, using geographic features such as the River Mersey and River Trent.[4] The Isle of Man is occasionally included in definitions of "the North" (for example, by the Survey of English Dialects, VisitBritain and BBC North West), although it is politically and culturally distinct from England.[3]

Some areas of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire have Northern characteristics and include satellites of Northern cities.[4] Towns in the High Peak borough of Derbyshire are included in the Greater Manchester Built-Up Area, as villages and hamlets there such as Tintwistle, Crowden and Woodhead were formerly in Cheshire before local government boundary changes in 1974,[5] due to their close proximity to the city of Manchester, and before this the borough was considered to be part of the Greater Manchester Statutory City Region. More recently, the Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire, Bolsover, and Derbyshire Dales districts have joined with districts of South Yorkshire to form the Sheffield City Region, along with the Bassetlaw District of Nottinghamshire, although for all other purposes these districts still remain in their respective East Midlands counties. The geographer Danny Dorling includes most of the West Midlands and part of the East Midlands in his definition of the North, claiming that "ideas of a midlands region add more confusion than light".[6] Conversely, more restrictive definitions also exist, typically based on the extent of the historical Northumbria, which exclude Cheshire and Lincolnshire.[7] [a]

Personal definitions of the North vary greatly and are sometimes passionately debated. When asked to draw a dividing line between North and South, Southerners tend to draw this line further south than Northerners do.[7] From the Southern perspective, Northern England is sometimes defined jokingly as the area north of the Watford Gap between Northampton and Leicester[b] – a definition which would include much of the Midlands.[7][9] Various cities and towns have been described as or promoted themselves as the "gateway to the North", including Crewe,[10] Stoke-on-Trent,[11] and Sheffield.[12] For some in the northernmost reaches of England, the North starts somewhere in North Yorkshire around the River Tees – the Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage suggests Thirsk, Northallerton or Richmond – and does not include cities like Manchester and Leeds, nor the majority of Yorkshire.[13][14] Northern England is not a homogeneous unit,[15] and some have entirely rejected the idea that the North exists as a coherent entity, claiming that considerable cultural differences across the area overwhelm any similarities.[16][17]

Northern England Definitions articles: 53

Geography

Relief map of Northern England, showing the Pennines and river valleys.

Through the North of England run the Pennines, an upland chain sometimes referred to as "the backbone of England", which stretches from the Tyne Gap to the Peak District. Other uplands in the North include the Lake District with England's highest mountains, the Cheviot Hills adjoining the border with Scotland, and the North York Moors near the North Sea coastline.[18] The geography of the North has been heavily shaped by the ice sheets of the Pleistocene era, which often reached as far south as the Midlands. Glaciers carved deep, craggy valleys in the central uplands, and, when they melted, deposited large quantities of fluvio-glacial material in lowland areas like the Cheshire and Solway Plains.[19] On the eastern side of the Pennines, a former glacial lake forms the Humberhead Levels: a large area of fenland which drains into the Humber and which is very fertile and productive farmland.[19]

Scafell Pike, England's highest peak, alongside Wastwater, its deepest lake

Much of the mountainous upland remains undeveloped, and of the ten national parks in England, five – the Peak District, the Lake District, the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales, and Northumberland National Park – are located partly or entirely in the North.[c] [20][21] The Lake District includes England's highest peak, Scafell Pike, which rises to 978 m (3,209 ft), its largest lake, Windermere, and its deepest lake, Wastwater.[22] Northern England is one of the most treeless areas in Europe, and to combat this the government plans to plant over 50 million trees in a new Northern Forest across the region.[23]

Urban sprawl in the southern Pennines and north east coast is clearly visible in night-time imagery.

Vast urban areas have emerged along the coasts and rivers, and they run almost contiguously into each other in places. The needs of trade and industry have produced an almost continuous thread of urbanisation from the Wirral Peninsula to Doncaster, taking in the cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield, with a population of at least 7.6 million.[24] Uniquely for such a large urban belt in Europe, these cities are all recent; most of them started as scattered villages with no shared identity before the Industrial Revolution.[25] On the east coast, trade fuelled the growth of major ports such as Kingston upon Hull and Newcastle upon Tyne,[d] [25] and the riverside conurbations of Teesside, Tyneside and Wearside became the largest towns in the North East.[26] Northern England is now heavily urbanised: analysis by The Northern Way in 2006 found that 90% of the population of the North lived in one of its city regions: Liverpool, Central Lancashire, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and Humber Ports, Tees Valley and Tyne and Wear.[27] As of the 2011 census, 86% of the Northern population lived in urban areas as defined by the Office for National Statistics, compared to 82% for England as a whole.[28]

Natural resources

Peat is found in thick, plentiful layers across the Pennines and Scottish Borders, and there are many large coalfields, including the Great Northern, Lancashire and South Yorkshire Coalfields.[19] Millstone grit, a distinctive coarse-grained rock used to make millstones, is widespread in the Pennines,[19] and the variety of other rock types is reflected in the architecture of the region, such as the bright red sandstone seen in buildings in Chester, the cream-buff Yorkstone and the distinctive purple Doddington sandstone.[29] These sandstones also mean that apart from the east coast, most of Northern England has very soft water, and this has influenced not just industry, but even the blends of tea enjoyed in the region.[30][31]

Rich deposits of iron ore are found in Cumbria and the North East, and fluorspar and baryte are also plentiful in northern parts of the Pennines.[32] Salt mining in Cheshire has a long history, and both remaining rock salt mines in Great Britain are in the North: Winsford Mine in Cheshire and Boulby Mine in North Yorkshire, which also produces half of the UK's potash.[33][34]

Climate

Although Manchester has a reputation as a rainy city, it is far from the wettest in the North.[35]

Northern England has a cool, wet oceanic climate with small areas of subpolar oceanic climate in the uplands.[36] Averaged across the entire region,[e] Northern England is cooler, wetter and cloudier than England as a whole, and contains both England's coldest point (Cross Fell) and its rainiest point (Seathwaite Fell). Its temperature range and sunshine duration is similar to the UK average and it sees substantially less rainfall than Scotland or Wales. These averages disguise considerable variation across the region, due chiefly to the upland regions and adjacent seas.[35][38]

The prevailing winds across the British Isles are westerlies bringing moisture from the Atlantic Ocean; this means that the west coast frequently receives strong winds and heavy rainfall while the east coast lies in a rain shadow behind the Pennines. As a result, Teesside and the Northumbrian coast are the driest regions in the North, with around 600 mm (24 in) of rain per year, while parts of the Lake District receive over 3,200 mm (130 in). Lowland regions in the more southern parts of Northern England such as Cheshire and South Yorkshire are the warmest, with average maximum July temperatures of over 21 °C (70 °F), while the highest points in the Pennines and Lake District reach only 17 °C (63 °F). The area has a reputation for cloud and fog – especially along its east coast, which experiences a distinctive sea fog known as fret – although the Clean Air Act 1956 and decline of heavy industry have seen sunshine duration increase in urban areas in recent years.[35]

Climate data for the England N climate region, 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.4
(43.5)
6.6
(43.9)
8.8
(47.8)
11.4
(52.5)
14.7
(58.5)
17.3
(63.1)
19.4
(66.9)
19.1
(66.4)
16.5
(61.7)
12.8
(55.0)
9.1
(48.4)
6.7
(44.1)
12.4
(54.3)
Average low °C (°F) 0.7
(33.3)
0.6
(33.1)
2.1
(35.8)
3.4
(38.1)
6.0
(42.8)
8.9
(48.0)
11.0
(51.8)
10.9
(51.6)
8.9
(48.0)
6.2
(43.2)
3.2
(37.8)
0.9
(33.6)
5.3
(41.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 94.1
(3.70)
69.2
(2.72)
75.2
(2.96)
64.9
(2.56)
61.0
(2.40)
71.9
(2.83)
72.3
(2.85)
82.4
(3.24)
80.8
(3.18)
100.6
(3.96)
98.1
(3.86)
99.2
(3.91)
969.8
(38.18)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 14.2 11.1 12.5 10.9 10.5 10.7 10.7 11.5 10.9 13.6 14.3 13.7 144.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 49.4 70.5 101.9 142.4 182.8 166.7 175.6 164.0 126.7 94.0 58.7 43.5 1,376.2
Source: Met Office[38]

Northern England Geography articles: 69

Language and dialect

English

Dialect

The vowel sound in sun across England. All of Northern England, as well as part of the Midlands, is included inside the /ʊ/ isogloss.[39]

The English spoken today in the North has been shaped by the area's history, and some dialects retain features inherited from Old Norse and the local Celtic languages.[40] Dialects spoken in the North include Cumbrian (Cumbria), Geordie (Tyneside), Lancashire (Lancashire), Mancunian (Manchester), Northumbrian (Northumberland and Durham), Pitmatic (former mining communities of Northumberland/County Durham), Scouse (Liverpool) and Tyke (Yorkshire). Linguists have attempted to define a Northern dialect area, corresponding to the area north of a line that begins at the Humber estuary and runs up the River Wharfe and across to the River Lune in north Lancashire.[41] This area corresponds roughly to the sprachraum of the Old English Northumbrian dialect, although the linguistic elements that defined this area in the past, such as the use of doon instead of down and substitution of an ang sound in words that end -ong (lang instead of long), are now prevalent only in the more northern parts of the region. As speech has changed, there is little consensus on what defines a "Northern" accent or dialect.[42]

Northern English accents have not undergone the TRAPBATH split, and a common shibboleth to distinguish them from Southern ones is the Northern use of the short a (the near-open front unrounded vowel) in words such as bath and castle.[43] On the opposite border, most Northern English accents can be distinguished from Scottish accents because they are non-rhotic, although a few rhotic Lancashire accents remain.[44] Other features common to many Northern English accents are the absence of the FOOTSTRUT split (so put and putt are homophones), the reduction of the definite article the to a glottal stop (usually represented in writing as t' or occasionally th', although it is often not pronounced as a /t/ sound) or its total elision, and the T-to-R rule that leads to the pronunciation of t as a rhotic consonant in phrases like get up ([ɡɛɹ ʊp]).[45]

The pronouns thou and thee survive in some Northern English dialects, although these are dying out outside very rural areas, and many dialects have an informal second-person plural pronoun: either ye (common in the North East) or yous (common in areas with historical Irish communities).[46] Many dialects use me as a possessive ("me car") and some treat us likewise ("us cars") or use the alternative wor ("wor cars"). Possessive pronouns are also used to mark the names of relatives in speech (for example, a relative called Joan would be referred to as "our Joan" in conversation).[47]

With urbanisation, distinctive urban accents have arisen which often differ greatly from the historical accents of the surrounding rural areas and sometimes share features with Southern English accents.[42] Northern English dialects remain an important part of the culture of the region, and the desire of speakers to assert their local identity has led to accents such as Scouse and Geordie becoming more distinctive and spreading into surrounding areas.[48]

Literature

The daffodils of the Lake District are immortalised in Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud".

The contrasting geography of Northern England is reflected in its literature. On the one hand, the wild moors and lakes have inspired generations of Romantic authors: the poetry of William Wordsworth and the novels of the Brontë sisters are perhaps the most famous examples of writing inspired by these elemental forces. Classics of children's literature such as The Railway Children (1906), The Secret Garden (1911) and Swallows and Amazons (1930) portray these largely untouched landscapes as worlds of adventure and transformation where their protagonists can break free of the restrictions of society.[49] Modern poets such as the Poets Laureate Ted Hughes and Simon Armitage have found inspiration in the Northern countryside, producing works that take advantage of the sounds and rhythms of Northern English dialects.[50][51]

Meanwhile, the industrialising and urbanising cities of the North gave rise to many masterpieces of social realism. Elizabeth Gaskell was the first in a lineage of female realist writers from the North that later included Winifred Holtby, Catherine Cookson, Beryl Bainbridge and Jeanette Winterson.[52] Many of the angry young men of post-war literature were Northern, and working-class life in the face of deindustrialisation is depicted in novels such as Room at the Top (1959), Billy Liar (1959), This Sporting Life (1960) and A Kestrel for a Knave (1968).[50][53]

Other languages

There are no recognised minority languages in Northern England, although the Northumbrian Language Society campaigns to have the Northumbrian dialect recognised as a separate language.[54] It is possible that traces of now-extinct Brythonic Celtic languages from the region survive in some rural areas in the Yan Tan Tethera counting systems traditionally used by shepherds.[55]

Contact between English and immigrant languages has given rise to new accents and dialects. For instance, the variety of English spoken by Poles in Manchester is distinct both from typical Polish-accented English and from Mancunian.[56] At a local level, the diversity of immigrant communities means that some languages that are extremely rare in the country as a whole have strongholds in Northern towns: Bradford for instance has the largest proportion of Pashto speakers, while Manchester has most Cantonese speakers.[57]

Northern England Language and dialect articles: 57