The North-South Divide

Duration: 4:34 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.558
This story has been viewed 9559 times

Gene talks about his experience of moving from the south to the north.

By Gene Loder

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Video transcript

In 2002 I met a lady from the Headlands, Hartlepool on msn. We seemed to hit it off straight away. After a few short months I moved her and her son to live with me in Carterton, Oxfordshire. She also had a daughter who did not want to come so she stayed with her dad. It was becoming a pain going backwards and forwards to Hartlepool all the time to visit her daughter and her mum and dad as it was a 500 mile round trip.

So in 2004 we decided to move closer to her family. I had to laugh, my  work mates said don't go, they all wear flat caps and lots of heavy industry up there and all the people have pigeons, but anyway we moved to Tow Law first in a huge 4 bed detached house. When I first saw it and the price my jaw nearly hit the floor. Oh my god I said, it was only £145.000, if that was in Oxfordshire it would be more like £400.000.

So as you can imagine I snapped it up quick but after a year there my girlfriend said she did not like it there so I sold it. I phoned a company to move us. God they did turn up in a little van I said, ‘you’re having a laugh ain't you?' It was way too small so they went away. Next day but a different company moved us to Seaton Carew. Wow I loved it. I always wanted to move by the seaside. The house I bought here is a 3 bed detached £165.000, in Oxfordshire more like £300.000. 

The town was a bit run down. The old bus station needed to be painted as of some of the buildings and a few boarded up, but really just cosmetic but after a while they repainted the bus station up but not the metal barriers. I don’t know why they never did them but who am I to complain, I'm an outsider. A few of the buildings soon followed suit to do up their houses on the sea front, looking better I thought still a few places boarded up, in my opinion was much better all they need to do is bring in a few more things and market Seaton as a seaside resort to rival any other and bring in the tourists as I've been told it once had a swimming pool, even a fair. Of course you've still got the amusement arcades, still a couple of gift shops and don’t forget the fish and chip shop, say no more about that. I go that often they know me by name and even know what I want.

In 2008 it all went wrong for me as my girlfriend left but on good terms. We're still friends so that’s good. I started to go down hill as I don't go out unless I really have to. I suppose you call me a bit of a recluse. Only people I know here are my next door neighbours, except the people from the chippy and the doctors by first name, but I suppose the point I'm trying to make is where I come from people won't speak to you unless they know you but here they will stop and talk to you even if they don't know you. They're much friendlier people here.

As for people with flat caps, well no, it's not like that. Heavy industry yes, I suppose there's some on the outskirts of Seaton. The price differences of house prices from the north to the south is huge so I suppose there is a sort of divide but other than that you could be anywhere, it's no different than anywhere else.

I must say a big thank you to Mark from Mind; he is getting me out and about. Thanks to him I'm meeting new people and Ian from It's Time to Chat. They're both doing lots for me. Without them I don’t know where I would be, certainly not doing this.  

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