Manchester, Leeds and London

Last week I visited Manchester, which is located southwest of Leeds, to see some very important areas of sport such as the National Cycling Center and the English Institute of Sport, which are both used for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

Velodrome, The National Cycling Center

In comparison to Leeds’ rugby league and cricket popularity, football seemed to be more heavily influenced as the dominant sport in the area.  I also went on a tour to Old Trafford, the home stadium to the popular worldwide known team Manchester United.

Old Trafford, Manchester United

When we went on our tour to Old Trafford, it was evident that football would bring in huge amounts of money to Manchester United, yet the area surrounding the stadium seemed very urban and working class.  According to Griffiths, “it is deeply odd that a city with serious problems of unemployment and social disadvantage, and facing a continuing deterioration of its core public services, should be embarking on the expense, razzmatazz, and sheer civic effort of bidding for the most prestigious sporting event [the Olympics] of the decade” (Griffiths 1993: 3).

Highly specialized elite athletic training facilities, such as the National Cycling Center and the English Institute of Sport, are located within Manchester yet industrialization and unemployment seems to exist in the area as well.  Manchester and Leeds seem to share “a history of association with the culture and history of the working-class north: what was identified as northerness” (Spracklen 2009: 156).  To surpass this notion of industrialism, Manchester has used the Olympic and Commonwealth games as a strategy for urban regeneration leaving parts of Manchester with major improvements that include “redefining the city’s image and raising its profile on the international stage” (Griffiths 1993: 3).   Leeds has tried to rebuild its city as well post-World War II with its use of shopping, which can bring in service sector jobs and money as well as renewing the city as an attraction to visitors (Douglas 2009: 43).

This past Friday, we also visited London, which is an extremely different and altered society in comparison to Leeds and Manchester; however, the cities seem to favor on post-industrialism, which is heavily reliant on this consumer service economy. I noticed the fast paced streets surrounding London were covered with nice cars, shopping areas, as well as historical architecture in the middle of an urban society.

Cranes over London as well as Leeds. Shows post-industrialism

Big Ben

Lord’s is associated on the elite part of town involving businesses and government offices in addition to some urban upscale apartments.  This says something about its identity in English society.  On the other hand, Leeds seems to have a very different environment that is slower paced with a strong sense of the working and middle class attitude.

Back to back housing as well as rugby league are popular in the areas surrounding Headingley Stadium, instilling ideas about lower class within Leeds.  The sport of cricket played by the two cities, is reflected upon the classes within them.  According to Polley “different social groups use their sporting and leisure practices as a forum for public display of their status and identity” (Polley 1998: 127).  Throughout the tour of Lord’s, it was made clear that this was a realm for the upper class elites carrying a context of history throughout.  Lord’s cricket ground, considered “the home of cricket,” (MCC Webpage 2011) stresses the importance of a game to be played “not only according to written laws but in harmony with an unwritten code of chivalry and good temper” (MCC 1976: 1).

Lord's Cricket Ground, opened in 1814

According to McDonald and Ugra, growth of organized cricket clubs within black and Asian communities has been seen in communities such as Leeds; moreover, creating a “sense of alienation and exclusion from the official cricket establishment” (McDonald and Ugra 1998: 2).   This can create questions about English identity that “has developed historically in the culture of cricket” and how Black and Asian communities are placed within this society (McDonald and Ugra 1998: 2).

During the Tour of Lord’s, it was interesting how Rodney (our tour guide) failed to mention any remarkable black cricket players within the Lord’s cricket ground or the MCC. According to Cricket and National Identity in the Postcolonial Age, “cricket is still struggling to reach beyond its confines… still the game is mainly Anglo-Saxon” (Wagg 2005: 20).  Some Black people were presented on the walls inside during the first half of the tour, implying that they are represented within this space just not mentioned during our tour of Lord’s.  The tour focused a majority of it time in the Long Room, the historic room at Lord’s cricket ground, expressing more of the history of cricket within it’s past and not so much of its present history.

Now I will end with some English vocabulary:

Same cup of tea- same thing

Expression-“I had a good paper round”: think of children who are paper boys when they were younger. If they had a good route then they didn’t have a difficult time with their job. Therefore, they look young and stay young when they become older. So someone who might be 38 but looks younger could say, “I had a good paper round” meaning that they think they still look young and younger than what they really are.

Give us a butchers: this is an cockney expression used mainly by people who live in South England (London). Think of Butchers-then meat-then hooks-looks. Give us a look….give us a butchers.

Apples and Pears:
“Don’t fall down the apples and pears.” Another cockney expression. Meaning stairs..pears-stairs. Apples and pears.

Take away:  to go box.



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