The traditional county boundary of Yorkshire has been formally acknowledged by the government.
In a symbolic move to mark St George’s Day, Yorkshireman Eric Pickles asserted that England’s historic and traditional counties still exist, and are now recognised by the government.
Parts of the county were ‘administratively removed’ by the government in the Local Government Act 1972, while other counties, such as Cumberland and Westmorland, disappeared altogether from many maps.
In Yorkshire, the changes affected locations such as Saddleworth, Barnoldswick, Earby, Middlesbrough and Yarm and the southern part of Teesdale. These places were swallowed up by bordering local authorities such as Lancashire and Durham.
Now councils around the traditional border are being urged to signpost the historic county boundaries.
A government spokesman said Mr Pickles will also “encourage local residents to continue to champion such local identities, irrespective of current tiers of local administration”.
Keighley-born Mr Pickles, who is Local Government Secretary, said, “The tapestry of England’s counties binds our nation together. This government has binned the arbitrary Government Office euro-regions, and instead, we are championing England’s traditional local identities which continue to run deep.
“Administrative restructuring by previous governments has sought to suppress and undermine such local identities.
“Today, on St George’s Day, we commemorate our patron saint and formally acknowledge the continuing role of our traditional counties in England’s public and cultural life.”
Rupert Barnes vice-chairman of the Association of British Counties added, “The counties are the basic tapestry on which countless generations have made their lives. They have shaped our identities and our view of ourselves and have remained a constant throughout centuries of change to become a vital part of British culture, geography and heritage.
“The counties predate any transient lines drawn for convenience or administration and predate the kingdom itself, rooted in history and cultural identity, so that the ancient counties are of the people not of the state. Statutes on administration have respectfully left the ancient counties alone. This pattern of the counties brought down to us through the centuries then is the pattern around which the nation has grown and grown great, and worthy of celebration.”
Further coverage in June’s Dalesman magazine.