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Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 17:58 GMT
The ugliest place in the world
What's the ugliest place in the world?
An art critic, writing in an American magazine, has likened Walsall in the British Midlands to "Ceaucescu's Romania with fast food outlets."

The critic, Theodore Dalrymple, writes that there is nowhere in the world where it is possible to travel such long distances without seeing anything grateful to the eye.

Councillors reacted with fury, saying his criticisms were totally unwarranted. Walsall hit the headlines last year when a local resident launched an "Ugly Walsall" website.

Mr Dalrymple said that it was possible that there were uglier towns in the world, but he didn't know them. Do you? Which place do you think deserves the title?

If you have a picture of your least favourite place, please e-mail it to us at This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I can sympathise with the English ex-pats who dislike the USA

Allan Reid, USA
I have lived in Montreal and Surrey, England and now on the outer fringe of LA county. I can sympathise with the English ex-pats who dislike the USA. In fact, I sympathise with them so much that I would be willing to contribute to any fund that would allow them to resettle in a location which they find more amenable.
Allan Reid, USA

I've just come back from Daugavpils, Latvia's 2nd city, today. It seems like the communists forgot to pull out when the USSR broke up. All the shop signs are less than 10 years old (all the old Cyrillic ones have gone) but the place still looks like it did when Lenin rolled in!
Paul, in a cybercafe in Riga

I live in Australia and we do any city like Grimsville. The closest to it here is Queenstown in Tasmania, which used to have a mine that did huge environmental damage. Ironically because of this, the area is tourist attraction.
Denis O'Dea, Australia

Athens was by far one of the ugliest and dirtiest cities I have ever visited. As a financial consultant, I found myself in this sprawling and disorganised city at all seasons with the same effect on my senses - ugh!
Johannes, Czekia

Hey, Quit knocking Detroit!
Peter, USA

It has to be Riyadh, Saudi Arabia! And the worst thing is, you can't even drink to forget about its ugliness.
Simon, England

Birmingham's Bull Ring Centre would have challenged anywhere in the world for urban ugliness

Owen Gibbons, UK
Birmingham's Bull Ring Centre would have challenged anywhere in the world for urban ugliness but they're now tearing the whole place down as part of Europe's biggest urban regeneration development. Let's hope the architects of the new millennium have a better appreciation of aesthetics and style than those of the 1960s. As for Walsall, I went there the other day but it was closed.
Owen Gibbons, UK

It has to be Croydon, particularly that hideous area around Lunar House.
Hugo Grotius, UK

No doubt in my mind, the ugliest place has to be Niagara Falls, New York - an industrial wasteland of abandoned factories beside a place of charm and wonder, the Niagara Falls.
Kyle Smith, Canada

Norilsk in Siberia

Duncan, UK
I have been to Norilsk in Siberia - designated as the world's most polluted city. Its history is equally grim having been a Russian gulag only 50 years ago.
Duncan, UK

Most people are fortunate enough not to have been in Malmo, the third biggest city in Sweden. I can, however, guarantee that Malmo is, by far, the ugliest place on earth.
Roger Pontare, Sweden

Don't suffer in ugliness. Do something about it. Start with your own street. Get together with neighbours and check your street: What is good about it? What is bad? How could it be improved? How will it look like in 10 years time? If it is an ugly street it will be affecting the value of your property. Get together with your neighbours and the local council and see what you can do together to improve things.
Imogen, UK

There are some absolute hellholes on this earth but nothing on my travels has compared to Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. It's a foetid swamp of a town that only exists so that Brazilians can cross the border and buy cheap televisions and cheap women. The whole place stinks. Just to defend Paraguay Asuncion the capital is one of the loveliest and most tranquil capital cities in the world.
Robin, Mexico

For my money, it's a dead heat between Coventry and Reading with Wareham and Guildford pretty close behind.
Daniel, UK

Its not only the architecture - it is the people that make a town or city, New York is impressive; are its people?
Gerry, Scotland

I am originally from Middlesborough and I am afraid Billingham beats Middlesborough hands down. It is the most desperate looking town I have ever been anywhere near.
Robin, Dubai

I think Skelmersdale in Lancashire takes some beating! Run down council estates, thousands of roundabouts that lead nowhere, and a town centre completely shut up at night - and this is a new town!
David Hyde, UK

Even Walsall will have its parks with beautiful fine trees

Graham Follett, UK
What is wrong with everyone? Why the search for ugliness when there is such beauty around. Even Walsall will have its parks with beautiful fine trees. Why do we always degrade and play down everything? The media talked the Dome into a failure. Now they report a useless comment by an American's purely subjective opinion.
Graham Follett, UK

Ugly? Edinburgh! The place just oozes pompous self-importance and bogus antiquity, while to anyone who looks closely, the hypocrisy of the place shows through like a mould-stain on crumbling plasterwork. Give me Sydney, New York, or Tokyo any day - at least they are cities that are alive!
Roger Moran, Australia/Scotland.

Whilst I would agree with most of Rebecca Griffiths' suggestions concerning London, I would propose that she has never visited Basingstoke. It has concrete everywhere, ghastly council housing and the people are worse than Londoners. A few of its inhabitants show signs of normality, but most are rejects from London (60s overspill). Sullen, anti-social and downright rude are the best adjectives to describe the general malaise.The only other towns that come close to Basingstoke are Reading and Bracknell.

On a positive note, the antithesis would likely be either Concarneau in France, or Soest (near Dortmund) in Germany. Both pleasant places with ample older buildings, inhabited by friendly people who keep the places clean. Of course, Perth too is a great place, but, in fairness, my domiciliary bias should discount my opinion.
John Cox, Australia (Perth)

Reading the various comments it seems clear that many people don't like the cities and towns they live in. BUT it was they who stood by and watched the town planners and so-called architects ruining our urban environment over the last 25 years
A Cameron, Scotland

I don't think the author travelled much in Britain. There are hundreds of urban and semi-urban areas in Britain contending for the title "Ugliest Place On Earth" Third world countries don't count as they don't have the resources for beautification. The only excuses, I can think of, for Britain, are either perversity, or to break the spirit of those who live in such places.
Tom, Australia

Franchises and malls have ruined the old charm of American towns

Mark Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia
Wow, I have lived in two of the listed ugliest cities on earth. Harlow in Essex and Riyadh. Everything must look up from here. I also lived in the Central Valley of California which is also ugly because of the total bland uniformity of towns. Franchises and malls have ruined the old charm of American towns when they were centred around a downtown. Maybe I will move to Australia, haven't seen one ugly town from there yet.
Mark Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia

Everyone can stop sticking up for the West Midlands people. Admittedly the people are great put the point of this conversation is the place and anyone who has ever driven by Wolverhampton will know what the definition of dump stands for.
Will Hulme, UK

The Ibiza of England

Steve Peterson, UK
Romford, Essex is rapidly degenerating into a no-man's land full of pubs, clubs, drugs and violence - it's becoming the Ibiza of England.
Steve Peterson, UK

Southern New Jersey. It's nothing but strip malls and divided highways for as far as the eye can see.
Jen, USA

Middlesbrough and Gateshead take some beating!
MER, England (I think)

Dr Dalrymple's views should not be taken too seriously, being typical of the ill-informed, elitist and reactionary output of the writers on that weekly comic, The Spectator.
Tom Ruppel, UK

I think that Wuhan in China can take the title pretty comfortably, perhaps only rivalled by its neighbour up the Yangtze River, Chongqing. I come from Stoke and it is a long way from winning the title.
Ian Wolvers, Sri Lanka

Admittedly there are some industrial towns in Britain which don't make the most attractive of vacation spots, but try a journey through post-communist Russia. There are mammoth eyesores there, which truly defy belief.
Chris Booth, UK

Friday nights are like a scene from Fight Club

Andrew Reid, London, UK
Goole must rank as the most depressing town in the UK. A port town of around 15,000 located just on the tip of the Humber estuary, it has the highest rate of deaths by heroin per head of population anywhere in England. And Friday nights are like a scene from Fight Club. But how appropriately named!
Andrew Reid, London, UK

Chelmsford is pretty nasty and Birmingham has a certain bleakness, but for long-term, soul-shattering ugliness descending into pure grot I must submit Milton Keynes; a collection of endless roundabouts, cardboard houses, old Doctor Who sets and concrete cows.
David, USA (British)

On the coast of the Med. Sea, is a town called "Hadera". This town was build in the 50's, with bad architecture, overcrowded roads and loudmouth Israelis. By 9pm every shop is locked and all the people are at home, the streets are empty! I would say this is the worst place in Israel.
Navit Tenne, Israel

Only one place comes to mind, the town of Olongapo, Republic of the Phillipine Islands circa: 1960-1970.
George N. Wells, USA

Mock Tudor isn't British, it's fake

Darron Jamal, USA
I have been travelling your country and wish I hadn't. The architecture indicates that you have no cultural heart anymore - mock Tudor isn't British, it's fake. Just like other buildings resembling the past. I know of you guys dislike the French, but they embrace the future man!
Darron Jamal, USA

Walsall is pretty grim. But it's no worse than Wolverhampton or inner-city Birmingham where I grew up. However, of all the places I've lived in England the absolute worst, the biggest dump of all, in my opinion, is Crewe in Cheshire. But the Americans can't criticise us - they have some pretty bad hovels too. I lived in Connecticut on the North Eastern Seaboard of the US for about a year and I can say that many areas I saw within that state and especially around the town of Hartford were very grim indeed.
B. Maguire, UK

I agree totally that Walsall is the pits. It is the ugliest place in the world.
Tariq Butt, UK

Obviously the critic never ventured through Basingstoke.
Mark, UK

Their unplanned post-industrial diversity has a certain charm

Julian, Leeds, UK
Whilst Walsall may not be pretty as with most industrial towns (Manchester/ Bradford etc) their unplanned post-industrial diversity has a certain charm. However, Bracknell and other new towns have all the charm, warmth and character of a uniform concrete block. I have yet to find anywhere more depressing.
Julian, Leeds, UK

Mr Dalrymple has obviously never visited Lakeside via the delightful hamlet of South Ockendon in Essex. It may sound like an idyllic English village, but believe me it truly is a spectacular dive.
Stuart Howse, UK

I think Newport, Gwent is worthy of mention. Although there is attractive countryside nearby, the town itself has little merit. Luckily it has good communications and as a local it is easy to leave.
Jeff Evans, UK

A list: Milton Keynes, Middlesborough, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Daventry, Portsmouth, Croydon, Coventry, Luton, Doncaster, Derby. Anyone disagree?
Tim, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

How can such a run down, ugly unkempt downtown area exist in the USA?

Robert Smith, USA
From Chichester, West Sussex, England to Detroit Michigan, USA was for me not only a change in culture but a visual shock. How can such a run down, ugly unkempt downtown area exist in the USA after all these good economical years. I agree with John, Canada, it is the true Gotham City.
Robert Smith, USA

I suggest that Theodore Dalrymple wasn't looking very closely when he visited the West Midlands. Or perhaps his monocle was steamed up that day. There aren't many things much uglier than metropolitan arrogance. As for the least attractive place, however....Greater Manchester has the fewest redeeming features per capita of anywhere in the northern hemisphere.
John, England

The area around and surrounding Newark Airport, New Jersey. It is a shame because this is what most people think of New Jersey, when there are really some quite pretty spots in the state. As for England, the most un-picturesque place would be Grimbsby: all those acres and acres of cars sitting there and no trees or grass.
Susan schechter, usa

I've lived and worked in the Black Country since 1996 and have found the people to be genuine, warm and funny - there is a good scattering of beauty spots within a stone's throw: ask anyone about Himley, Kinver or Bridgnorth.
Carlo Di Terlizzi, UK

it is the first sight that greets all those illegal immigrants and they still want to stay!!

Ramana, UK
Dover in Kent is a hideous place. To think that it is the first sight that greets all those illegal immigrants and they still want to stay!!
Ramana, UK

Cambridge, no doubt about that. People don't even punt properly over there.
George, Scotland

I would have to agree with John from Canada, Detroit takes a lot of beating. It's absolutely dreadful! The only other place in the UK which comes close is Harlow in Essex. A new town nightmare!

Without a doubt the most ugly place in the world is Dungeness. It really ought to be towed out into the Atlantic and sunk. And while you're doing it, could you take the rest of Romney Marsh as well?
Oliver Knowles, UK

My vote would have to be for Hanworth in Middlesex, UK. Not a city but one of the most depressing towns in Europe. I had to go and live on the other side of the world just to get over living 'near' it!!
Colin Stark, Chile

Barisal, Bangladesh, could easily out-ugly any part of UK any day

R. McTaggart, USA
I think Tampico, Mexico and Barisal, Bangladesh, could easily out-ugly any part of UK any day.
R. McTaggart, USA

Most cities in the USA are uglier than anywhere else in the world. Why? Because there is a total lack of variety. Everywhere is the same as everywhere else. It's as if someone took a mould of one block of businesses and stamped it up and down the country over and over. Drive down any main route and you see a constant parade of identical franchise outlets; Foot Licker, McAwful, What a Booger, Mal Wart, Taco Hell . . . on and on and on. True hell on earth.
Clive Warner, Mexico

I left Orpington 2 years ago and I'm never going back. Where did I go? Amsterdam - What a swap!
Mark, UK / Netherlands

Having lived in the US for 20 years (never again), I can say without doubt that Erie, Pennsylvania is exactly what a popular rhyme says, 'Dreary Erie, the mistake on the lake'. A close second is much the much larger Gary, Indiana, just south of Chicago. The only reason to stop there is if your car breaks down.
Julian, Brazil

Croydon, South London's very own Gotham

Stuart Egan, UK
I have to semi-agree with Nova Dudley's comment. Croydon, South London's very own Gotham, is the most repugnant, grey, vapidly hideous place on God's Earth. And I should know. I'm from Birkenhead.
Stuart Egan, UK

My vote would have to go to Manila. The pollution is awful, the traffic intolerable and just about every place of historic interest was levelled in WWII meaning there is nothing but a pile of rubble. It truly is a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. In close second would have to be El Alto Plano, the overspill of La Paz, Bolivia. If ever I have felt like I was in hell on earth, it was there.
Duncan, England

Perhaps the writer of this article has never visited the industrial city of Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada

Mary Macdonald, Canada
Perhaps the writer of this article has never visited the industrial city of Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada. What an eyesore. While I was travelling north on the rail in Britain, we passed through Newcastle on a grey dreary day. At the time I thought this was one of the bleakest places I had ever seen.
Mary Macdonald, Canada

I have to say that most of south Georgia is worthy of the title. There are some nice little towns, but a six-hour drive on the interstate through the region convinced me that it is at best boring.
Stephanie, USA

May I second Matt Brett's suggestion of Slough, even though John Betjeman beat us to it by a good forty years.
David K, England

I'd nominate Cirencester. Like Lucretia Borgia, it's ugly on the inside.
Mark Carter, United Kingdom

I must agree with John, Canada. I love driving to Niagara Falls, but I have to drive through Detroit. There is no eye-sore in the world like Detroit. The roads have huge craters in them that when I drive in I am afraid that I might not come back out!
Paula Josiah, USA

What about those places that have an undeserved reputation for character and beauty but are actually ugly and spoiled without the excuse of an industrial heritage

Guy Matthews, UK
What about those places that have an undeserved reputation for character and beauty but are actually ugly and spoiled without the excuse of an industrial heritage: Bath - nice abbey, bridge and crescent but great chunks of it are concrete rubbish. Or Aylesbury - don't think ducks, think satanic town planning and vile architecture.
Guy Matthews, UK

I'm inclined to believe Mr Dalrymple. He's from New Jersey, which is widely recognized as the ugliest state in the USA. I've never been to Walsall, but if someone from NJ says it's ugly, it must be incredibly ugly.
Scott Lewis, Philadelphia, USA

Coventry City Centre is dire. Parts of Wolverhampton are grotesque. Birmingham's OK, it's just too big.
Trevor Gibson, England

London is looking pretty ugly at the moment but I'm not talking about its appearance. Its attitude and the way its sucking the life out of the rest of the country with its own self importance and indifference are what make it the ugliest place in the world!
Rebecca Griffiths, Uk

As a Englishman living in the United States, I can truly say that the US is the winner

Charles Carrington, USA
As a Englishman living in the United States, I can truly say that the US is the winner. Outside of the big cities, the suburbs are littered with anonymous malls and retail outlets that use a shoe box as the design blue print. There are some lovely towns, however many of the towns have little to set themselves apart from each other, resulting in uniform dullness. I now appreciate the benefit of UK planning laws.
Charles Carrington, USA

You want to see what they have done to Harrow in Middlesex. What was once a suburb with many small thriving shops and clean streets has been turned into a dull, lifeless, soulless place with high rise buildings, a warren of pedestrian walkways, filthy streets, empty offices. Does the council have no shame?
Geoff Gwillym, UK

Stevenage is one of the most depressing and ugly towns I have ever known.
Helen, UK

Give me the gas tanks of Birmingham, the bottle kilns of Stoke, or, even, the boarded-up shops in Walsall over L.A. any day

Jon Bailey, USA
Mr. Dalrymple should visit Los Angeles County for a truer picture of an urban environment practically devoid of culture, variety and humanity. At least Walsall and the Midlands have history, a story, and a pleasant human element. In L.A. the story is sprawling suburban 'blocks', choked in smog, and interspersed with massive busy roadways; its history is one of gross commercialism, ostentatiousness, bad taste, and huge socio-economic divides. Its cloned malls reduce human interaction to a vivid burst of advertisements, dollar signs and temporary gratification; an experience iced with freeway induced adrenaline rushes. The nice sunny weather does make a difference, however: It makes life without a manmade environment impossible. Give me the gas tanks of Birmingham, the bottle kilns of Stoke, or, even, the boarded-up shops in Walsall over L.A. any day. Of course, I live in Santa Cruz, California, near the beach, and it's a cool seventy today...but you know, if I had to choose ...
Jon Bailey, USA

I live in Walsall and although it has some areas which are grotty, there are some really attractive places too - the Arboretum, the new Wharf area with the award-winning New Art Gallery. Walsall is also receiving huge amounts of funding in order to improve those areas which are run-down. Who does Mr Dalrymple think he is?
Dawn Hendon, UK

Elizabeth, New Jersey, is certainly the ugliest spot on Earth. All the messy industries New York City relies on, but will not house, end up there. Driving through Elizabeth on the famous New Jersey Turnpike, one sees miles and miles of refinery smokestacks, those sources of the local imprecation, "It smells like Elizabeth." If an appearance that could have inspired Tolkien's descriptions of Mordor, and a smell that evokes universal gagging were not enough, Elizabeth also has one of the highest cancer rates in the Unites States. This one city, on the most-used roadway leading south from NYC, is by itself the source of New Jersey's reputation as an ugly state.
Sarah Avery, US

Running on from Nova Dudley's comments I too went to Keele but found Stoke-on-Trent to be a great place. To visit somewhere truly grim I only have to wind up the windows and drive through Leyton. The only shops there are Take-away chicken shops, Cash Converter stores and everything-for-a-pound shops, the true hallmarks of a town that's lost it.
Rob Young, Chingford

Milton Keynes gets my vote. I didn't hate it immediately, but after 10 minutes of wandering around the pavementless streets I developed a deep dislike for the place.
Chris Klein, UK

Houston in Texas has less character or charm than any griefhole I've had the misfortune to visit.
David Jenkins, UK

The major culprits are the local councils

Derrick Stansfield, UK
Many of England's towns and cities bear no relation to the image we have in our minds of "this green and pleasant land". And the major culprits are the local councils, who allow such horrendous buildings to be constructed, have no idea about town planning, and do nothing to improve the local environment - indeed they usually make it worse.
Derrick Stansfield, UK

Bracknell. I used to work there. I pity anyone who has to live there.
Mike Burton, UK (London)

I must agree with the post-apocalyptic nature of Detroit. When one crosses the border from Windsor one is immediately routed through some pretty scary neighbourhoods, but one time a detour sent me through block after block of abandoned buildings before I could get back on the highway. It reminded me quite acutely of the ruins of Leipzig that I visited in 1992. In Leipzig's case the communists had simply built a new city after the war and left the ruined city where it stood. I don't know what has happened in Detroit.
Travis, Canada

I suggest "Perm-2" in Russia. A place so ugly that it has been given a number

Mark, UK
I suggest "Perm-2" in Russia. A place so ugly that it has been given a number. I took the Trans-Siberian railway, which passes it by (luckily). All that seems to exist there are tanks and high rise concrete obscenities allegedly called flats. The pollution was awful, which certainly doesn't help its image.
Mark, UK

My vote goes to Bayonne, NJ. There are some very pretty places in the US and over seas but Bayonne is not one of them.
Claudia, USA

I am surprised that no-one has mentioned London, most big cities could be criticised for their ugliness, but at least the West Midlands has some friendly people, unlike most of London and the South east.
Paul, UK

I have lived in or visited over 30 countries and for me the ugliest city in England is Luton. The ugliest in the world is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Both Luton and Riyadh are equally depressing.
P.Shepherd, Calgary,Canada

Bracknell, Berkshire: Concrete, roundabouts and err... that's all.
Adrian, UK

We got lost in Brooklyn trying to cut across to JFK airport last year, and it was pretty grim. I won't be naming any of my kids after the place!
Geoff Taylor, UK

Evidently Mr T Dalrymple has not had the pleasure of visiting East Kilbride, truly one of the UK's worst cities - I should know, I grew up in the Black Country! In East Kilbride's defence, it is near Glasgow - a fabulous place!
Matt Rogers, UK

I don't know about being ugly but Farnborough is probably the most miserable place on Earth. And I've lived in Crawley and Basildon.
Tony, UK

Irkutsk appears to have been constructed for the sole purpose of belching every kind of industrial pollution into the otherwise beautiful lake Baikal

John, UK
Some parts of Los Angeles are unbelievably unpleasant (Graffiti everywhere, litter heaped in piles and blowing along the streets, air so polluted you can taste it). Irkutsk in Eastern Russia is also unspeakably vile. It appears to have been constructed for the sole purpose of belching every kind of industrial pollution into the otherwise beautiful lake Baikal. Nothing in the UK comes even remotely close to these hellholes.
John, UK

Have you seen Basildon?

Fraser, Essex
I know Essex gets some unjustified bad press, but have you seen Basildon? Talk about Dante's Inferno!
Fraser, Essex

Without wanting to sound like a typical moaner who claims that a maligned area is really the centre of all excellence on Earth, I will say that Wolverhampton and the rest of the south of Staffordshire form a wonderful, vibrant area, with some of the friendliest people I've met, beautiful countryside and little sign of stereotypes associated with the Black Country. I don't know Walsall but each time I visit Wolverhampton is a joy.
Matthew Revell, UK

No contest: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I travelled on four different continents and nothing else comes remotely close!
Malcolm Cupis, England

Theodore Dalrymple is not incorrect when highlighting the ugliness of parts of urban Britain. In defence of towns like Walsall - their lack of beauty is principally attributable to Britain being the world's first industrial country. The ad hoc development of towns like Walsall to meet the unprecedented and unplanned for growth in demand for urban space created by the industrial revolution is an unfortunate legacy. On the bright side however: Britain is also home to some of the most charming (Bath), impressive (Edinburgh) and exciting (London) cities in the world.
Mike, UK

Has no one seen the 70's town hall extension in Sheffield?

Melanie, UK
Has no one seen the 70's town hall extension in Sheffield? It looks like a cross between an egg box and a beehive, but then it does draw your attention away from the rundown heart of one of Yorkshire's biggest cities.
Melanie, UK

I must admit that I really can't see the point of Birmingham! Just seems to be a giant blot on the motorway that stops me getting from London to the North West quickly.
Marcus, England

I think I have to agree about the Midlands - it's something I've always thought. Bradford comes close though and Stockport (and I'm from there). Strangely though, the ugliest place in Europe I've visited, save for the reconstructed "old town" is Walsall-sound alike Warsaw. What a coincidence!!!!
Dave Goodman, UK

Anyone who thinks that Walsall is grim has obviously never been to Coventry All the joys of 60s pre-fab concrete construction, coupled with a grim grey city.
Alex, UK

The best place is the airport

Dave, UK
Mr Dalrymple should try visiting Luton! The best place is the airport; at least it is an opportunity to escape.
Dave, UK

It takes an awful lot to beat Wakefield, West Yorks, although I will second the motion that Detroit is an armpit of a place.
Gareth Talbot, UK

Where I grew up in Swansea, we took pride in Dylan Thomas' description of an "ugly, lovely town crawling, sprawling around a curved bay". Not an unfair portrait of the place.

Mr Dalrymple has clearly never visited Detroit. The city has a post-apocalyptic appearance.
John, Canada

I know it is not an original thought, but I have yet to see a serious rival to Slough's long-held title of ugliest town in Britain.
Matt Brett, UK

I was at university at Keele for three years - a fantastic place, but Stoke-on-Trent is terrible. It has a nightmarish one-way system and such grim buildings, most of which are boarded up and pollution blackened. I am obviously drawn to this though; I now work in Croydon...
Nova Dudley, UK

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