Channel 4's decision to move their headquarters to Leeds is encouraging. But the UK needs a bigger infrastructure overhaul—one which eradicates the notion that London is where real success happensby Grace Holliday / November 1, 2018 / Leave a comment
Channel 4 announced this week that Leeds has won the bid to become the forthcoming location of their new headquarters. The city fought off competition from well-connected Birmingham and the media explosion that is Manchester. The decision, which is said to have been unanimous by the board, came to the surprise of many.
Aside from, that is, those of us already situated up here in Leeds. We’ve known for a very long time how much potential our city has. We’ve just been waiting for someone to take notice.
“Success” and “London” were synonymic in my mind as a Yorkshire teenager. At 18, moving to London to begin my adult life seemed like an absolute necessity. While I’m Rotherham-born and Doncaster-bred, my mum is from Leeds; her Windrush generation Jamaican father settled here.
As such, I’ve always had a connection to the city, and always felt a strong affinity for it. Yet I didn’t even entertain the idea of applying to red bricks anywhere in my home county. I believed that a British writer and journalist’s career began in the capital or it didn’t begin at all.
In the end, Royal Holloway pleased both my own ambitions and my parents’ sensibilities, being part of the University of London yet in Surrey, some 40 minutes from Waterloo. I enjoyed the warm Septembers, the theatres and the access to internships. I hated the dirty tube, the cost of living and a tendency to become a harder version of myself within minutes of arriving into Kings Cross after weekend visits home.
By my early twenties, after a brief stint in the capital itself, I was totally disillusioned with what I had experienced. The city, for all of its wonders, was not affordable to me, and it wasn’t going to be in the forseeable future.
I accepted a job in Leeds, and I’ve been here since 2014. This is aside from a brief 12-month fling with Sheffield, where my husband and I moved temporarily while I did a Journalism Masters (fully funded, I didn’t get to choose where I studied.) The day I handed in my dissertation, we fled back to Leeds like anxious new parents returning…