Woman causes controversy for claiming what ‘the North’ is – and Manchester’s not included

This one's really got people talking.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 7th March 2023

The North / South divide is already a pretty contentious subject at the best of times, but a tweet’s gone viral this week that really seems to have got people riled up.

It’s a debate that’s been going on for decades – where does the North and South of England begin?

With no literal line drawn to distinguish between the two, this does mean there’s no official ruling of which cities, towns, and villages are northern, and which are southern – and then there’s the added concept of the Midlands chucked in there too, so it’s no wonder it’s a topic of conversation that causes so much confusion.

Of course, geography would tell you that cities like Newcastle, Middlesbrough, and Carlisle are indisputably northern, while it would be quite tricky to class London, Brighton, and Oxford as anything other than southern – but for other places, it’s not so easy.

Us Mancs pride ourselves on being northern and proud of it, but according to woman responsible for a map that’s gone viral Twitter this week, Manchester is actually part of the Midlands.


Now you can see why it’s got people talking.

Taking to Twitter to share her thoughts on where the North and South begins, Michelle Bayly – who says she is from Northumberland – wrote: “Can we all agree that North is Leeds and above? It’s really annoying seeing the North such and such company, or something artsy North and for it to be in Birmingham etc.


“There’s also a middle…the midlands. Be the midlands. North of London doesn’t mean North.”

She also shared a map of the UK with two red lines drawn showing what she thinks the North, the Midlands, and the South are to further drive home her point – with major cities like Liverpool, Sheffield, Salford, and Hull joining Birmingham, Northampton, Norwich, and Nottingham in the Midlands.

“Is this a joke? How do you not think Sheffield and Manchester are in the north?,” one angry person wrote on Twitter


“Lol imagine complaining that Londoners don’t know where the north is and then putting out a map that puts Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield in the midlands – incredible stuff,” another confused person said in response.

A third added: “I think the idea that Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Hull aren’t in the North is slightly mad.”

Woman causes controversy for claiming what ‘the North’ is – and Manchester’s not included / Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Another person added definitively: “Chester, Liverpool, Salford, Manchester, Sheffield, Doncaster, Bradford, Leeds, and Hull are all in the north of England.”

Someone else gave their opinion on the matter: “You can’t cut Yorkshire in half! And Manchester/Liverpool are definitely northern too. Move the ‘north’ line down to go through Sheffield and it’s about right.”

One person seemed to sum up the thoughts of most in response to Michelle’s question of “Can we all agree that…” best though, simply commenting: “No, I’m afraid we can’t.”


After presumably having lots of angry people in her mentions, Michelle decided to take a different approach on the North / South divide – writing as a follow-up to her initial tweet: “After deep thought and consultation I have decided to scrap my map of North, Middle and South and instead go with the popular opinion that if you have gravy on chips or scraps and mushy peas with fish and chips then you are Northern and if not then not (no matter the geography).”

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We don’t know if this makes things better or worse? We’ll let you be the judge of that.

Featured Image – Michelle Bayly (via Twitter)