I’m guessing that your post here is meant at least somewhat humorously – I get the impression that while Coventry is indeed a fairly dismal place, with a good many “unsatisfactory” inhabitants, it does have a few redeeming features.
I’d understood that the “sending to Coventry” expression originated in the English Civil War in the 17th century. With Coventry being in solidly Parliament-held territory, and with its being a fanatically Puritan town: particularly troublesome Royalist prisoners of the Parliamentarian side, were imprisoned at Coventry – where few people would be nice to them (despite the Christian precept of “love your enemies”), and nobody would help them to escape.
Not sure if it belongs on a “worst” list, but Gillette, Wyoming is one of the most depressing places I ever visited (I had a friend that worked there). Ugly mining boom town (with scenic slag heaps) that is now facing decline of the coal industry (and low oil and gas prices). A local church recently held a prayer vigil for laid-off miners.
Should be an even more lovely place once people start moving out in droves.
*although I hear that Gillette ranked as one of the Top Ten Manliest Cities by livability dot com for access to huntin’, fishin’, motocross and such.
**Wyoming supposedly has long had one of the nation’s highest suicide rates.
Worst I’ve been to is Juarez Mexico. And that was before the drug violence. Even most, but not all, of the places that seemed bustling still looked pretty run down. I was there in the early 90s and it sort of reminded me of NYC in the late 70s or early 80s. Including the video game parlors that had video games almost from that era, which I would have tried if we had had time.
Of the places I occasionally pass through, Petrolia, PA is way up there.
We pass through on our way to kayak the section of the Allegheny that passes through beautiful Foxburg, PA. We always keep our windows up and drive quickly through the sleepy town.
Petrolia is named for the petroleum “plant?” that comprises most off the town. People who live in Petrolia do so because they work at the plant. Their homes view the plant and the air is filled with the noxious discharges of the plant. Periodically the town is evacuated for various leaks.
I lived in both Bamako and Kampala. At the time, Bamako was typically poor, but peaceful. We never felt nervous about being out and about, as street crime and public intoxication were extremely rare. We made trips to Mopti, Segou, the Bandiagara Escarpment, and even Timbuktu (in my wife’s case) without any issues. Bamako itself had crooked cops who would try to shake you down, the traffic was awful, the heat was brutal, and the open sewers were aromatic. There were also no restaurants that were safe for the western digestive system. Still, it was safe, and the remaining French influence meant that there was a croissant bakery still in operation.
Kampala, on the other hand, had the typical ‘Christian’ country problems of drunkenness and petty crime, likely resulting from the abject poverty. Cars were broken into and theft was common. We didn’t like walking there, as the hostile stares from the locals were disconcerting. But the Indian restaurants were superb and the government was stable.
Pretoria was a dangerous place, as evidenced by all the barbed wire on the high walls surrounding most homes. Theft was rampant and bold, and we were warned repeatedly about venturing out after dark. I was happy to return to Bamako when we left.
Kabul’s actually quite nice for a third world capital: it’s polluted and impoverished, but the weather’s very nice, it’s relatively safe for being in a war zone, and the population is reasonably welcoming. There are a lot of small towns in the south of Afghanistan that are much bigger candidates for worst town in the world. I’d nominate Bost.
Then again, my information is about 3 years old. I might be completely wrong at this point.
My week in Kampala was during the reign of Idi Amin. There was a horrible lack of anything, but the people were stoic, hospitable and friendly. No internal theft because there was nothing to steal, and I never felt that anything of mine was targeted or coveted, and there were no beggars.
I haven’t been in Africa in 40 years, but I’ll be in Ethiopia for three weeks this summer, so it will be interesting to see how things have changed.
Gillette, Williston and others have been going through this for more than 40 years. That’s the way they were during an oil shale boom in the '70s, which I think pretty much died out, and now theiy’re up there fracking and the same thing is happening again.
Some of those states have imposed a mineral severance tax on all resources send out of the state, with the revenues designated to mitigate social issues arising from the living conditions of the workers.
Okeechobee Florida and Sells Arizona and Camden Alabama and Calipatria California and Jean Nevada and Rock Port Missouri and Golden Meadow Louisiana (beautiful name notwithstanding).
I was in Williamson West Virginia in 1960, and that was the most godawful depressing looking place I have ever seen, before or since. Everything, including the people’s faces and clothing, was exactly the color of coal dust. It was a rainy morning, and even the rain looked black, and all it did was make the coal dust look streaky. That is a mental picture I’lll never forget.