On Brummyland

In Aberystwyth last week, someone left a note on a house, telling the occupants to ‘go back to ‘brummyland’. In case you’re not from the UK, they mean Birmingham. The note rants about vehicles, calls them lowlife and yaw-yaws – showing they don’t actually know what they’re talking about cause it’s yam-yams not yaw-yaws. Quite a few of us were confused about that in the office, English and Welsh people.

I was born in Coventry, right next door to Brummyland, so I knew what they meant, but it took me a little while too.

I also know that once you’re calling someone lowlife and saying they should be fenced in somewhere and telling people to go back to where they came from, you’re definitely a problem, regardless of the behaviour of your neighbours and their apparently offensive accent.


Brummies have been part of Aberystwyth for decades.

When I was a kid, every summer, the village near where we lived, and Aberystwyth was full of Brummies on holiday. There were a lot of Aston Villa fans in particular, weirdly more than there were Birmingham City fans, but I’m not sure if that’s important in this context. It was common to come across a couple of Brummies a day when in town.

And it’s obvious why, the one train line in and out of Aberystwyth goes to Birmingham, goes straight through (or it did back then, now it’s hit and miss, thanks Traws Cymru!). It was an easy trip to make for a family looking for a quick and cheap holiday without going abroad. It’s easier to get to then Skegness – a popular destination from Leicester (which some of my old workmates at the Co-Op called SkegVegas).

As travel changed, become easier and cheaper, tourism from the Midlands dipped, it was easy and cheap to jump on a flight from Birmingham airport and hit Malaga, or Benidorm or somewhere that had actual sun.

Instead, over the years, the Brummies in Aberystwyth, were made up more of people who moved here. Moved into Wales, to Ceredigion, to live and work and study. Though, with Brexit making travel harder, the pandemic and cost of living, travel within the UK is seeing an increase again, with domestic overnight visits hitting a ten year high post-covid.

Which comes to the stupid part of the note.

aerial view of city near body of water during daytime
Photo by Andrew Jephson on Unsplash

A lot of the population of Aberystwyth – the town proper – such are the street the note was found is made up of a small smattering of people who grew up here and can afford to live in town, students who go to the university or people who work at the hospital. The one that’s round the corner from street in question. The town isn’t Welsh anymore in its make-up and probably hasn’t been for a long while. Instead it’s a mix of students, both from the UK and international students, people from other parts of Wales, of England, and other parts of the world who have come over here to work in one of the larger employers of the county.

The NHS.

To ask the Brummies to go back to the Midlands, to take the others with them, is to ask us to go without nurses, doctors, consultants, health care assistants, cleaners, porters, technicians. It’s the same with telling anyone to ‘go back to where they came from’; you have to be ready to face the consequences of a huge chunk of your workforce just effing off back home.

Which is part of the issue the NHS and other industries (lorry drivers, vegetable pickers to name a few) are struggling so much from labour shortages. We left the EU and expected all the EU workers to settle out go back home.

And a lot have gone back home.

Unless the author of the note is able to fill a lot of jobs across the North of the county, the Brummies are here to stay. As well as all the others and their ‘’offensive’’ accents.

And on that accent – yeah, okay, it’s not the most melodic, but hell, rather hear a yam-yam chatting shit than a townie moaning about it any day.

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