A map of every town in It’s Grim Up North

Where does the North begin? This debate has been raging on the Wikipedia talk page for Northern England for over a decade. Well, luckily the answer has already been given to us by… the KLF. In 1991, the band – then going under the name “The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu” – recorded a ten minute techno song “It’s Grim Up North”. The majority of the song consists of town names being delivered in a Scottish monotone over a pulsing techno beat, ending with the phrase “are all in the North”.

I’ve taken the song lyrics – using Wikipedia’s interpretation of ambiguous lines (so “Cheadle Hulme” not “Cheadle” and “Hulme”, but “Accrington” and “Stanley” not “Accrington Stanley”) and ignoring the fact that Leigh appears twice – and mapped them all.

So, what is in the North?

(If you’re browsing on a phone, you may need to turn it sideways to see the map. If it still doesn’t work, click here.)

Well, the first thing you’ll notice is that a lot of the North is missing. Barrow-in-Furness is the only Cumbrian town to appear (and until relatively recently, it was actually an exclave of Lancashire anyway). Not a single settlement in the North East appears either – no Newcastle, no Middlesbrough, no Hartlepool, no Berwick. By and large, the KLF’s North is the M62 corridor. Rugby league land. Roses territory. Lancashire and Yorkshire, basically.

To be fair, there’s also quite a lot of Cheshire, even though many beyond the Tees sniff at its claims to Northernness. Cheadle Hulme and Sale were historically Cheshire but have been consumed by Greater Manchester, while Warrington was once Lancashire but is now Cheshire. Lincolnshire gets a look in too, with three towns (all part of former Humberside), as does Derbyshire with two. Here’s the full historic county breakdown:

Cheshire 10
Derbyshire 2
Lancashire 30
Lincolnshire 3
Yorkshire 24

As some of you may know though, Lancashire is now just a shadow of what it used to be. Barrow’s gone to Cumbria, Liverpool’s gone to Merseyside, Manchester’s gone to, well, Greater Manchester. In modern ceremonial county terms, it’s:

Cheshire 9
Cumbria 1
Derbyshire 2
East Riding of Yorks. 1
Greater Manchester 13
Lancashire 12
Lincolnshire 3
Merseyside 5
North Yorkshire 4
South Yorkshire 4
West Yorkshire 15

Finally, how northern is it? The government divides England into nine regions, of which three – North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber – are usually considered Northern. Here’s the regional breakdown:

East Midlands 2
North East 0
North West 40
Yorkshire & Humber 27

There are more East Midlands towns than there are North Eastern ones! Disgraceful!

Random stats: The northernmost town is Scarborough, the southernmost is Nantwich, the westernmost is Barrow-in-Furness, and the easternmost is Cleethorpes. The largest city not included is Liverpool, the smallest town that is included (not including desolate Ilkley Moor) is Pendlebury.

Here’s the full dataset, in case you’re interested or want to quickly program your satnav for an impromptu KLF pilgrimage.

Lat Long Name Historic Ceremonial Region
53.578 -2.429 Bolton Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.554 -1.479 Barnsley Yorkshire South Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.835 -2.218 Nelson Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.855 -2.176 Colne Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.789 -2.248 Burnley Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.8 -1.752 Bradford Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.259 -1.911 Buxton Derbyshire Derbyshire East Midlands
53.099 -2.44 Crewe Cheshire Cheshire North West
53.392 -2.597 Warrington Lancashire Cheshire North West
53.363 -2.728 Widnes Lancashire Cheshire North West
53.545 -2.632 Wigan Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.8 -1.55 Leeds Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.259 -2.518 Northwich Cheshire Cheshire North West
53.067 -2.522 Nantwich Cheshire Cheshire North West
53.3 -2.371 Knutsford Cheshire Cheshire North West
53.744 -0.333 Hull Yorkshire East Riding Yorkshire & Humber
53.424 -2.322 Sale Cheshire Greater Manchester North West
53.483 -2.293 Salford Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.645 -3.008 Southport Lancashire Merseyside North West
53.498 -2.515 Leigh Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.483 -2.892 Kirkby Lancashire Merseyside North West
53.53 -2.37 Kearsley Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.867 -1.911 Keighley Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.517 -2.945 Maghull Lancashire Merseyside North West
53.991 -1.539 Harrogate Yorkshire North Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.645 -1.8 Huddersfield Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.544 -2.117 Oldham Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
54.047 -2.801 Lancs Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.56 -0.068 Grimsby Lincolnshire Lincolnshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.443 -1.949 Glossop Derbyshire Derbyshire East Midlands
53.742 -2.009 Hebden Bridge Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.707 -1.794 Brighouse Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.446 -2.989 Bootle Lancashire Merseyside North West
53.7 -1.37 Featherstone Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.341 -2.841 Speke Lancashire Merseyside North West
53.328 -2.712 Runcorn Cheshire Cheshire North West
53.43 -1.357 Rotherham Yorkshire South Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.614 -2.161 Rochdale Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
54.111 -3.226 Barrow Lancashire Cumbria North West
54.064 -2.879 Morecambe Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.258 -2.127 Macclesfield Cheshire Cheshire North West
53.743 -2.997 Lytham St. Annes Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.871 -2.392 Clitheroe Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.553 -0.022 Cleethorpes Lincolnshire Lincolnshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.508 -2.315 Pendlebury Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.533 -2.283 Prestwich Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.759 -2.699 Preston Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.958 -1.08 York Yorkshire North Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.962 -2.017 Skipton Yorkshire North Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.581 -0.65 Scunthorpe Lincolnshire Lincolnshire Yorkshire & Humber
54.277 -0.401 Scarborough-on-Sea Yorkshire North Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.19 -2.892 Chester Cheshire Cheshire North West
53.653 -2.632 Chorley Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.376 -2.19 Cheadle Hulme Cheshire Greater Manchester North West
53.567 -2.887 Ormskirk Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.753 -2.364 Accrington Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.715 -1.476 Stanley Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.68 -1.58 Ossett Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.905 -1.687 Otley Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.915 -1.815 Ilkley Moor Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.384 -1.467 Sheffield Yorkshire South Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.479 -2.245 Manchester Lancashire Greater Manchester North West
53.716 -1.356 Castleford Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.55 -2.771 Skem Lancashire Lancashire North West
53.515 -1.133 Doncaster Yorkshire South Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.691 -1.633 Dewsbury Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.725 -1.863 Halifax Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.846 -1.836 Bingley Yorkshire West Yorkshire Yorkshire & Humber
53.357 -2.164 Bramhall Cheshire Greater Manchester North West

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