This post can also be found on the otherwise excellent Crap Towns Returns blog, run by the very funny gentleman responsible for blazing a crap-trail throughout the UK in the Crap Towns I & II books.
Before it appeared on the front cover of Crap Towns II, the nation’s awareness of Huntingdon was entirely based on it being home to two of the greyest, most conservative leaders in British history: Oliver Cromwell, who famously outlawed Christmas, and John Major, a Prime Minister with all the charisma of a washing powder tablet.
With heroes like that, it’s no wonder that Huntingdon finds itself wrapped up in a blanket of tedium, shaking an angry fist at the winds of change. The town has been represented by a Conservative MP for over 80 unbroken years. Even in 2001, when Tory candidates elsewhere were losing to decorative fruit baskets and waxworks of the late Peter Cook, silly-named Jonathan Djanogly still bagged 50% of the vote. Whatever your personal politics may be, that sustained level of commitment to avoiding change belies a certain lack of imagination.
Huntingdon’s main shopping distraction is its incredible plethora of card shops, where locals can buy folded cardboard symbols to remind themselves that time is, despite all evidence to the contrary, passing.
Although the town boasts occasional high points – Britain’s largest meadow lies on it’s outskirts, for example – these only manage to briefly punctuate the monotony, like the commas in a passage of European fishing quota legislation.
Even the Huntingdon Life Sciences protesters got bored and left some years ago, presumably reasoning that releasing the animals from the lab into the town would in fact be less humane than keeping them caged.