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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 October 2007, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
North-South divide puzzles nation
The angel of the north
Few can agree on just where the North begins
Britain's so-called north-south divide should actually be redrawn as a diagonal line, new research suggests.

A new map defining north and south by socio-economic data suggests the dividing line runs diagonally from Gloucester, ending just below Grimsby.

The divide puts Hereford in the north while Lincoln - actually 155 miles to the north east - is in the south.

The research comes after an exhibition asked visitors to plot the divide and found no-one had the same answer.

North? South?

The Lowry art gallery in Salford, Greater Manchester, asked visitors to mark the North-South boundary on an interactive map at its Myth of the North exhibition.

After they found virtually no-one agreed, they raised the idea of research into people's perceptions of North and South to an expert in human mapping at the University of Sheffield.

Professor Danny Dorling and his team threw a series of statistical, social, cultural and economic factors at the problem.

They included variants in house prices, visual changes in the built environment, physical and historic boundaries, cultural and political differences and different life expectancy rates.

I'm not sure I agree that culturally people in parts of Gloucester, Coventry or Birmingham are really northerners
Bill Longshaw

They discovered the North and South were often as socially and economically defined as they were by geography.

Cheshire in particular had many "southern" characteristics, they found.

Professor Dorling also found the dividing line between North and South shifted depending on social and economic factors.

His team also claimed there was very little middle ground - or social Midlands, if you were - between the South and the North.

Bill Longshaw, curator of Myth of The North, said: "I'm not sure I agree that culturally people in parts of Gloucester, Coventry or Birmingham are really northerners but Danny's analysis really does make you think about where The North begins.

"But no one who has visited the exhibition seems to be able to agree where the boundary is either, so at least this exercise has brought some academic and scientific reason to the debate."

How England is divided between North and South

UK's North-South divide 'closing'
13 Nov 06 |  Business
North-South divide 'blown away'
08 Dec 05 |  Business
Blair: North-South divide 'a myth'
05 Dec 99 |  UK Politics

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