British Counties Campaign (BCC) wants the current ‘ceremonial’ counties to be abolished and hopes the boundaries of traditional counties will be marked on maps and signage in the future.
Historically, Warrington was located within Lancashire but, following local government reforms in 1974, it became a borough within Cheshire for administrative purposes.
BCC acknowledges it may ‘come as a surprise’ to many residents living north of the Mersey to be told that ‘their home county is still in Lancashire and not Cheshire’.
But the group is hopeful of changing people’s beliefs on the matter.
During Lancashire Day on Tuesday, Colin Ballard, a town crier, read out the Lancashire Day proclamation in Warrington town centre.
Group member Des Wilcox, from Padgate, said: “It stimulated curiosity and debate from people who were not aware that Warrington is, and always was, in the county of Lancashire, so Colin’s efforts resulted in the education of these good people, as well as being quite a spectacle.
“The preservation of our heritage is vital for future generations – it is so easy to lose but difficult to reinstate once forgotten. The majority of people either firmly believe Warrington is in Cheshire, or are not interested. It is surprising.
“The young people have been brought up on it and it is very, very hard to change things around once they have been established.
“We are not out to change the administration side of things, we just want recognition for the historic counties.”
A parliamentary debate on the issue is due to be held next year, which the group hopes will accelerate its efforts to get a Counties Bill through Parliament.
The group says key aims set out in a future Bill would include the word ‘county’ only referring to the 92 historic counties of the UK, the current ‘ceremonial’ areas to be abolished and recreated based on the traditional counties, the ‘appropriate’ county to be used on all UK postal addresses and counties to be indicated on street signs and maps, with boundaries signposted properly.
Campaign manager Gerard Dugdill added: “It is vitally important we get our message through in great towns, like Warrington, where historic identity has been so badly mangled by 40 odd years of contradictory Government meddling.”
Lancashire Day was first held in 1996, the 27th day of November commemorates the day in 1295 the first elected representatives from Lancashire were called to Westminster by King Edward I to attend what later became known as “The Model Parliament”.
The Lancashire Day proclamation is read out by town criers throughout the county on 27th November:
“To the people of the city and county palatine of Lancaster:
Know ye that this day, November 27th in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eighteen, the 67th year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Lancaster, is Lancashire Day.
Know ye also, and rejoice, that by virtue of Her Majesty’s County Palatine of Lancaster, the citizens of the Hundreds of Lonsdale, North and South of the Sands, Amounderness, Leyland, Blackburn, Salford and West Derby are forever entitled to style themselves Lancastrians.
Throughout the County Palatine, from the Furness Fells to the River Mersey, from the Irish Sea to the Pennines, this day shall ever mark the peoples’ pleasure in that excellent distinction – true Lancastrians, proud of the Red Rose and loyal to our Sovereign Duke.
God bless Lancashire, and God Save the Queen, Duke of Lancaster.”