Article in The Telegraph, 23 April 2018.

On 23rd April 2018 an article by Christopher Hope, Chief Political Correspondent for The Telegraph was published:

Four in 10 Britons still using traditional county names to describe where they live.

Warrington town centre – Most definitely in Lancashire!

More than four in 10 people are still using traditional county names to describe where they live, rather than more modern administrative districts.

A poll by IPSOS-Mori found that 45 per cent of people used historic county names in their postal addresses despite the fact that many have been replaced by modern administrative districts.

This means that, for example, people in Warrington say live in Lancashire, rather than Cheshire, or those in Birmingham are part of Warwickshire rather than the more modern “West Midlands”.

Similarly people living in Enfield often say their homes were in Middlesex rather than in London, according to the research by the British Counties Campaign.

In other cases people in Bournemouth prefer Hampshire to Dorset, and in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne they opt for the traditional Northumberland to the more modern Tyne & Wear.

The campaign, which wants to change the law to bring back traditional county names, has now won the support of MPs after launching a Parliamentary campaign.

It is proposing a law so that the word “county” would only apply to the historic 92 counties of the UK. Local authority areas would be called simply “council areas”.

Just a few of the many places affected by county confusion.

The IPSOS-Mori study, commissioned by the campaign, also found that more than half of over-45 year olds – 53 per cent – were in favour of bringing back the historic county names.

Gerard Dugdill, the campaign’s manager, said: “People still are using the historic county definitions when they are asked what county they live in or what county they come from, they still are clinging on – using their historic county names, and we want to encourage continued use of that.”

Repeated overhauls of local government since 1965 have meant that few local authorities now have an area anything like a county, although the words “county” are still used in local government terminology.

Tory MP Henry Smith, who was the leader of West Sussex county council from 2003 to 2010, said he backed the campagn.

He said: “The historic counties of the United Kingdom go back many centuries and indeed some of our counties are older than England itself.

“For such a long time they have formed the key constituent parts of our nation and have a strong identity and a wonderful heritage, and sadly really, over the last half century we have seen the county map shattered in many ways by local government reorganisation, a desire for there to be regional government rather than county government.

Sedbergh in the West Riding of Yorkshire, not ‘Cumbria’.

“I think there’s a real opportunity on Brexit as we are looking to the future but also taking account of our history and our past that we can rejuvenate the counties.

“I’m very hopeful that the historic counties that we’ve all grown up with, that we love so much, can once again have official status.

The campaign’s draft “Bill” says that the UK’s 92 historic or traditional counties “are an important part of the culture, geography and heritage of the UK, often dating back more than 1,000 years.

“They stem from history, are recognised by the public and form the basis of community and identity.

“They must be re-established as the standard geographical frame of reference in Britain and used for cultural, social, sporting and tourism purposes, among others.”

Specifically it says “huge confusion has been caused in relation to county identity through England, Scotland and Wales since the 1960s, and especially since 1974, against the wishes and despite the protests of ordinary people”.

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