Crap Towns

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Luton, Bedfordshire was the 2004 'winner'.

Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK,[1] Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides[2] and Crap Towns Returns: Back by Unpopular Demand[3] are a series of books edited by Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran, in association with UK quarterly The Idler;[4] in which towns in the United Kingdom were nominated by visitors to The Idler website for their "crapness", with the results being published in The Idler and in the books. A sister publication, Crap Jobs, was created by similar means, and Crap Holidays was published in October 2006.[5]

The books brought controversy,[6] with many notable figures being quick to defend their respective towns. These included a number of MPs such as Michael Howard, MP for Hythe in Kent, which appeared at Number Four in the 2003 edition. He claimed that Hythe was "the jewel of Kent."

In June 2012, the editors announced[7] that they were gathering nominations for a new book of Crap Towns.


Publication of Crap Towns brought widespread criticism from residents, politicians and other notable figures from the towns listed. Some thought its contributors' portrayals to be inherently biased, "random", subjective, unscientific and lacking in good methods.[8] The editors of the book wrote to "local worthies"[9] in each of the nominated towns to gain their responses and views. Local newspapers, such as the Stockport Express[10] were also quick to defend "their" towns, whilst some national commentators, such as Sarfraz Manzoor in The Guardian[11] tended to agree with the result as a person who used to live in the town. However the article was summed up with the quotation "There is, of course, an unmistakable air of snobbery around the people behind such a book; the stench of rich kids having fun at the expense of those less able to afford to be professionally idle. But rather than sneering at towns such as Luton, we should be applauding the contribution that crap towns have made to all our lives."

Survey results[edit]

Readers voted for the top 50 crap towns in the UK. The top ten by reader votes in descending order of "crapness" (with 1 being the worst) were:

Rank 2003[1][12] 2004[2][13] 2013[3][14] 2019[15][16]
1 Hull Luton London Peterborough
2 Cumbernauld Windsor Bradford Huddersfield
3 Morecambe Sunderland Chipping Norton Rochdale
4 Hythe Edinburgh and Glasgow (tied) Southampton Doncaster
5 Winchester
York Hull
6 Liverpool Clapham, London Gibraltar Rotherham
7 St Andrews Bath Coventry Blackpool
8 Bexhill-on-Sea Nottingham Nuneaton Castleford
9 Basingstoke Corby High Wycombe Oldham
10 Hackney, London Middlesbrough Stoke-on-Trent Blackburn


  1. ^ a b Jordison, Sam; Kieran, Dan (October 2003). Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK. Boxtree. ISBN 0-7522-1582-5.
  2. ^ a b Jordison, Sam; Kieran, Dan (October 2004). Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides. Boxtree. ISBN 0-7522-2545-6.
  3. ^ a b Jordison, Sam; Kieran, Dan (October 2013). Crap Towns Returns: Back by Unpopular Demand. Hachette UK. ISBN 978-1848662223.
  4. ^ Idler Website
  5. ^ Jordison, Sam; Kieran, Dan (October 2003). Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK. Boxtree. ISBN 0-7522-1582-5.
  6. ^ Jordison, Sam. "The co-editor of 'Crap Towns' takes on the local papers". Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2006.
  7. ^ Jones, Sam (15 June 2012). "Crap Towns Returns To Rain More Scorn On Worst Places In Britain". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  8. ^ News, Manchester Evening (9 April 2005). "Residents defend town against 'hell-hole' tag". men.
  9. ^ Jordison, Sam (5 October 2003). "To Hull and back". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 September 2006.
  10. ^ "Residents defend town against 'hell-hole' tag". Stockport Express. Retrieved 28 September 2006.
  11. ^ Manzoor, Sarfraz (29 September 2004). "Don't knock crap towns. We need them". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 September 2006.
  12. ^ "UK's 'worst 50' towns revealed". BBC News. 2 October 2003.
  13. ^ "Luton voted Britain's worst town". BBC News. 27 September 2004.
  14. ^ "Crap Towns title goes to "hated" London". The Guardian. 5 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Is your hometown on the latest 'crap towns' list?". Metro. 21 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Britain's top 10 'crap towns' revealed - does your area make the list?". The Mirror. 21 February 2019.

External links[edit]