Friday, 26 August 2016
Britain is a country with a county called Kent and a district called Shepway which is no place for old men
Shepway is a local government district in Kent, with its council based in the seaside town of Folkestone. It has a population of 109,452 and although it has a proportion of old men and women past the age of 70, it is not a large share. It is not surprising to find that, in economic terms, Shepway is the third most deprived area in Kent, after Thanet and Swale. Like them, it has a high rate of unemployment, poor educational attainment figures and with the majority of businesses being small operations.
In addition to the towns of Folkestone, Hythe, Dymchurch and New Romney the men and women of Shepway who are destined not to live long lives live in villages with ancient names : Brenzett, Paddlesworth, Postling, Snargate, Stelling Minnis and Stowting. If there was wealth here once, it has long since gone, since Romney Marsh once had a number of communities extensively built in the medieval period and 17th century as centres of the Romney Marsh wool trade.
The fact that the old men and women of Shepway will not live long lives is doubtless connected to the fact that many of them began life in poverty as indeed 23% of Shepway children do today, against a national figure of 20.2%.
Britain, a country where longevity is not only linked to the accident of birth but also the accident of location.