Spending time in the city of Durham, UK has proved to be incredibly helpful in learning about the history and the cultural dynamics of the area. Many of the locals are familiar with the morning history since the coal mines mostly closed just 40 years ago, and often tell stories about how that has been the source of a lot of the county’s character today.
When chatting with a restaurant employee, someone asked about the relationship between the local people and the students of Durham University, who come from all over the country. He told us how a few years ago, a lot of arguments and fights broke out in the pubs between people living in the pit villages and students. Over time, it became an unspoken rule that students would go into pubs on the weekdays, while the weekends were reserved for the locals.
It’s remarkable to see that such a tense relationship exists between the locals and students, even though Durham would struggle greatly without the university, as it is the largest employer in town, and many of the local businesses thrive on student spending. This parallels tensions between Duke and the residents of our own Durham.