The Friends of Real Lancashire are concerned to promote the true identity of our county which has been extremely confused in the minds of some people, especially those working in the broadcasting and newspaper industries, since the local government reorganisation of 1974.
The Government at that time stated that the "new counties" were administrative areas only, and that the boundaries of traditional counties such as Lancashire had not been changed. Unfortunately, the media refer to these administrative areas all too frequently and ignore the fact that places such as Barrow-in-Furness, Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington, etc. are still in Lancashire.
If administrative areas had not been called counties much of this confusion would have been avoided. The Royal Mail has at last dropped the use of administrative county names in postal addresses, and names such as Cumbria and Merseyside do not appear in the current Royal Mail Postal Address Book.
Greater Manchester was never a postal address, as in 1974 the Royal Mail told people living in that administrative area to continue to include Lancashire in their address. Royal Mail have confirmed that people living in any part of the county can now include Lancashire in their address, without this affecting the way that mail is handled, providing the post code is used.
When the Local Government Commission reviewed Shire Lancashire (their name for the area of the county run by the county council) and 'Cumbria' (a collective name for the county areas of Lancashire North of the Sands, Cumberland and Westmorland, administered by Cumbria council), they received letters from all over the real county asking for the restoration of Lancashire. Consequently, when they published their Draft Recommendations for these two areas in June 1994 they recommended the restoration of the historic county of Lancashire for ceremonial, cultural and related purposes.
This is exactly what F.O.R.L. had been campaigning for and we believed that the wishes of the people of Lancashire were about to be fulfilled. Then in stepped Mr Gummer and the Department of the Environment, who without consulting anybody, said that this could not be done. Why then had the Local Government Commision bothered to ask people what they wanted if Mr Gummer was not prepared to accept their recommendations?
Our campaign must then continue until it is recognised that the boundaries of Lancashire are still those that were first defined in the twelfth century, rather than those created for administrative purposes in 1974. Ordnance Survey claim that they are only obliged to show administrative areas on maps which means that maps must be altered every time there is a change to local government areas. If real counties were shown instead, then maps would remain constant for ever and a day.
After a delay of eleven years, Ordnance Survey have said that they will remove the defunct administrative 'counties' of Greater Manchester and Merseyside from maps as they are revised. Unfortunately, the unitary authorities in the metropolitan areas will then be named on maps rather than their areas being shown as part of Lancashire, but at least we will finally be rid of the names Greater Manchester and Merseyside on maps.
Blackburn & Blackpool - 1998
Since 1st April 1998 these new unitary authority areas have been mapped as seperate areas to the administrative county of Lancashire. Consequently the area mapped as Lancashire has shrunk and if more areas are given unitary status next time a local government review is carried out, it will shrink once again, and so on, until Lancashire disappears from maps altogether.
We have contacted Cumbria Council to signpost the boundaries of the historic counties of Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland within its administrative area. Recently the leader of the council has agreed that this would help visitors and local people understand the origins of the current configuration. We are pleased to say that the county name has already been added to some place name signs, for example Grange-over-Sands and Ulverston, to show that they are in Lancashire. This could also be done in places like Atherton, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Southport, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan, etc. to emphasise that they also are in Lancashire.
On 27th November 1295 the first elected representatives from Lancashire were summoned by King Edward I to attend Parliament at Westminster, this was later to be know as the Model Parliament and was the beginning of democracy in Britain. Seven hundred years later, on 27th November 1995, Peter Thurnham, the MP for Bolton NE, tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling on all local authorities to signpost the boundaries of Lancashire and other historic counties. Because of its historic connections, this date has been adopted as Lancashire Day, and was proclaimed as such throughout the county on 27th November 1996. There was excellent coverage on radio and television and in most of the local newspapers throughout the county. As an act of unity, and no matter where they were in the world, Lancastrians were asked to raise their glasses at 9pm GMT and drink the Loyal Toast to "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster".
Please make a note of this special day in your diary, further details will appear in our Newsletter and on the Lancashire Day page.
As you will see, the Friends of Real Lancashire are helping to rescue and reinforce the identity of our historic county, but if we are to succeed we need the support of all true Lancastrians. Since 1995 members of the Friends of Real Lancashire have received, by post, both the Spring and Autumn Newsletters and a copy of our annual magazine 'The Lancastrian'. A few articles from these publications are included here, and it is our intention to include more. If you know of anyone who can't access these pages and would like to receive the information in a printed form, get in touch. If you would like to send articles for inclusion please click here.
There are 57 Members of Parliament representing constituencies that are wholly or partially within the traditional county of Lancashire. They are all aware of our campaign, and we are pleased to have the support of at least 9 of them as Patrons.
We would also value your support, details of membership can be found here.
CS Dawson - Chairman
Our county is called Lancashire, not Cumbria,
Greater Manchester, Merseyside or part of Cheshire.