A TRAVEL writer has described Hartlepool as “looking evacuated” in his latest book about the worst places in Britain.
Easington, Blackhall Colliery and Billingham also get a mention in the controversial tales of Tim Moore.
The author headed around England, Scotland and Wales in an Austin Maestro listening to the 358 least loved tracks in history as he recorded visits to the most notorious or forgotten about cities and towns.
The result, titled You Are Awful (But I Like You): Travels Through Unloved Britain, features Hartlepool as a town of back-to-back streets of boarded up houses “with the whole town earmarked for destruction”.
London-based Tim told the Mail he knows the book will rile some people, but that he genuinely liked many of the places he stopped at.
He said: “This was about finding the worst places off the beaten track, so that’s what I did.
“I didn’t have chance to go and look at the regenerated dockland or the ships in Hartlepool, it was about seeing the other side of things.
“I saw street after boarded up street, it looked evacuated.
“I’m sure I didn’t catch it at its best, and the fact that they are boarded up and being knocked down is probably a good thing, but it did have an eerie feel to it.”
Tim says the highlight of his trip to the town was seeing a fight in Jutland Road between two men using “home-made medieval maces”.
The 47-year-old dad said: “There was no aggression. They were simply in the street taking turns to swing these things at each other. I didn’t know what to do.
“I guess you could feel there was a bit of character to the place.”
Tim said he found Easington “very sad” as it had been built solely for the coal industry so there are no jobs “but a massive school with no children to fill it”.
Tim, who admits that he told people he was a travelling salesman during his journey as he’s “a bit of a coward”, added: “Despite being critical of these places, they all have a sense of home.
“Most of the people in the places I have been to know they have seen better days but they live there without taking themselves too seriously.
“I enjoyed going because it was the last chance to see many of these places before they are turned into Tesco towns where all the high streets are the same.
“I hope to go back to some of the places and spend a bit more time seeing what they have to offer, and Hartlepool is definitely on that list.”
Seaton councillor Cath Hill, Hartlepool Borough Council’s portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism, said Mr Moore must have visited with the aim to “fulfil a Northern stereotype”.
Coun Hill added: “There’s not a town in the country that won’t have areas where streets are boarded up.
“I think it’s appalling that he should visit just a couple of streets and write this book without going to places like Seaton Carew.
“I’m sure the book will be damaging to the town if people down south read it, but anyone who has been here or know the area will refute what is said.
The book is priced at £11.95 and is printed by Jonathan Cape.