Stuart Maconie spent a year working in a cotton mill, and so can personally testify to the many ways the industrial landscape influenced different aspects of life in northern England. One of those, he argues, is the nature of friendships between men.
While these relationships have much in common with male friendships generally, he says that under the particular conditions of industrial life , the emphasis is more pronounced.
For over two hundred years, a high proportion of men worked alongside each other in tough jobs and tougher locations. This, combined with the long hours spent alongside mates in the bars, societies and sports teams, bred a tightness and loyalty between northern men.
Chatting to miners from the Sutton Manor Colliery in St Helens and to his own friend, singer-songwriter Richard Haley, he considers whether the impact of that former industrial life had ripples that affect today's northern male and his mate.
Produced by Geoff Bird
A Pennine productions for BBC Radio 4.