Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK,Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides and Crap Towns Returns are a series of books edited by Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran. 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.
The books brought controversy, 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 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. The editors of the book wrote to "local worthies" in each of the nominated towns to gain their responses and views. Local newspapers, such as the Stockport Express were also quick to defend 'their' towns, whilst some national commentators, such as Sarfraz Manzoor in The Guardian 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 unmistakeable 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"
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:
|1. Hull||1. Luton||1. London|
|2. Cumbernauld||2. Windsor||2. Bradford|
|3. Morecambe||3. Sunderland||3. Chipping Norton|
|4. Hythe||4. Edinburgh (equal place with Glasgow)||4. Southampton|
|5. Winchester||4. Glasgow (equal place with Edinburgh)||5. York|
|6. Liverpool||6. Clapham (London)||6. Gibraltar|
|7. St Andrews||7. Bath||7. Coventry|
|8. Bexhill-on-Sea||8. Nottingham||8. Nuneaton|
|9. Basingstoke||9. Corby||9. High Wycombe|
|10. Hackney (London)||10. Middlesbrough||10. Stoke-on-Trent|
- Jordison, Sam; Dan Kieran (October 2003). Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK. Boxtree. ISBN 0-7522-1582-5.
- Jordison, Sam; Dan Kieran (October 2004). Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides. Boxtree. ISBN 0-7522-2545-6.
- Jordison, Sam. "The co-editor of 'Crap Towns' takes on the local papers". Retrieved 2006-09-21.
- Jones, Sam (2012-06-15). "Crap Towns Returns To Rain More Scorn On Worst Places In Britain". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- Daily Telegraph (2003-10-05). "To Hull and back". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2006-09-28.
- Stockport Express. "Residents defend town against ‘hell-hole’ tag". Retrieved 2006-09-28.
- Manzoor, Sarfraz (2004-09-29). "Don't knock crap towns. We need them.". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2006-09-28.
- Craptownscouk (6 October 2013). "The top ten: Crap Towns Returns". Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- Kennedy, Maev (5 October 2013). "Crap Towns title goes to "hated" London". The Guardian.