What’s it about?
Sir Robert Peel’s legacy consists not only of founding the much-loved Metropolitan Police, but also the continuing excellence of his hometown, Bury. What other town has both a market and a limited range of high street shops? None, you’ll find.
Bury’s unique charm and pizzazz was highlighted by none other than Rishi Sunak. Despite Bury Market’s ‘world famous’ status being verified by absolutely nobody, Rishi gushed over ‘world-famous Burnley Market’, confusing it with Burnley. Actual shoppers in Bury have been less enthusiastic, complaining about too much black pudding and ‘OAP clothes’.
Any good points?
Black pudding. Bury is very proud of its black pudding-making, and may even have invented the British version. Going on and on about one basic foodstuff never looks desperate.
Settle down in Bury and you’ll discover it’s the town everyone’s talking about, at least for three days a year when some f**k-up makes it half a story on Facebook. There was, for example, the new RSPCA charity shop that opened to the joy of millions. Their slogan? ‘Helping Bury Animals.’
Or when Bury South MP Christian Wakeford hit the headlines briefly when he decided to leave the Tories to join Labour, purely to avoid being dragged down by ‘partygate’. Quickly forgotten, but Keir Starmer looked pleased to have another bland careerist MP onboard, so that was nice.
Bury has everything you could ever want, a 20 to 30-minute drive away. It really is a great selling point: it’s pretty close but not that close to places that you’d actually want to go to. Whether a trip to the city of Manchester or a pretty northern village, any option that isn’t Bury is just a medium-length car journey away.
Even the town’s prettiest feature, a stop on a heritage railway line, is designed to take you in style to a place that isn’t Bury.
However, this equidistance from the city of Manchester and the countryside makes Bury a ticking time bomb for gentrification. Experts have spotted worrying early signs, such as actual investment from the council and residents smiling.
Hang out at…
Swinging by Gigg Lane is a great way to bond with locals. The stadium has stood empty for three years after some financial pissing about by the owners got Bury FC expelled from the league, so feel part of the community by standing outside those locked doors and tutting and sighing together.
Or take your life in your hands with a trip to the big Wetherspoons that turns into a club on weekends. With a dancefloor rammed with pissed underage teenagers, and a selection of perverts sat around said dancefloor suspiciously eyeing said teenagers, it’s got that perfect blend of unpleasantness and illegality for anyone who hates being relaxed.
And we cannot state often enough, there’s always a trip to the world-famous Burnley Market.
Where to buy?
As with great cities like Edinburgh or Prague, you will have to make a choice between Old or New Town. Or rather, Old or New shopping centre.
Align yourself with The Rock and you’re at the cutting edge of 2010. You really do live in a time where a cinema, bowling alley and all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet sit under one roof. Pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming.
Or if you fancy yourself a more cultured flaneur of the past, live in the shadow of the Mill Gate shopping centre, which dates back in history to 1992. Step into the days of yore by marvelling at where the BHS sign used to hang, or where the Shoezone inexplicably somehow still operates.
From the streets
Lauren Hewitt, aged 22, said: “I only really visit Bury when I’m going to my Nan’s house. It’s warm and friendly, just puts me in a good mood, you know? There’s tons of good food to eat, and I’m always sad when I have to leave. My Nan’s house that is, not Bury. Bury’s a shithole.”