What local authorities think about the traditional county of Lancashire

What Local Authorities in Lancashire Feel About the Traditional County.

In January 2008 FORL commenced a project in conjunction with the Association of British Counties to obtain the views of local authorities on the importance of the traditional counties.

A letter was sent to local authorities that were not solely concerned with the current administrative area of Lancashire (for instance, areas that are no longer administratively Lancashire), or where part of another county is governed by a ‘Lancastrian’ authority. The following is an extract from the letter:

ABC has sanctioned a report on awareness within Local Government of the importance of the historic counties to the culture and heritage of the UK. FORL is assisting with this project by contacting the local authorities within the County Palatine of Lancashire.

ABC believes that the historic counties of the UK are an important part of the culture, geography and history of our nation, and this is a view shared by the Government. In a House of Commons debate on 29th June 2007, Gillian Merron MP (Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet) re-affirmed the Government’s view that:

“There is no doubt about the importance of historic counties… as part of our history and cultural life. I agree that they provide many people with a strong sense of identity and local pride. Indeed the continued use of traditional county names and areas in tourism, sport, business, literature and the arts, to name but a few examples, bears testament to that. Of course we should all be proud of where we come from.” (Hansard).

I should be grateful if you would let me know whether your local authority agrees with ABC and the Government about the importance of these historic counties to the culture and heritage of your area. In particular, I would be interested to know whether your local authority has any specific policies aimed at promoting the identities of the historic counties of your area, for example:

  • By marking their borders in an appropriate way;
  • By supporting county based organisations and events;
  • By utilising the historic counties for promoting tourism to your area.

Some Local Authorities responded promptly but unfortunately most had to be prompted with further letters; the Freedom of Information Act was utilized on eleven occasions to elicit a response, with the Information Commissionaire being involved on two occasions.

Laid out alphabetically below are excerpts from the responses we received from each Local Authority. Obviously space does not allow us to show the full extent of the correspondence (much of which relates to specific things the Councils have done or supported), but you can now read for yourself what your Local Authority really thinks about our County.


We are prepared to work with you to help you facilitate any future events you may wish to organise.


As a Council, we are of course very proud to be part of Lancashire and (we) strongly focus on the importance of shared culture and heritage and ways to encourage and support local people developing a strong sense of identity and local pride, There are many things to be proud of in Blackburn with Darwen as part of Lancashire and locally we work hard to promote these.


Upon receipt of our letter, Blackpool Council requested a meeting with FORL to discuss the issues raised.


(The) Council. at a meeting on 27th June 2008, agreed that support be given in principle …. This particularly relates to the issue of the possible erection of signage around the Borough borders.


There are a significant number of activities supported (by the Council) in Bury which recognise the historic counties, notably East Lancashire


Calderdale Council is very proud of the cultural and heritage aspects of our cross-border relationship with Lancashire. We do appreciate that the traditional counties have many fine qualities. In short, we value our past while looking forward,


In the relatively new but geographically distinct County of Cumbria we set great store by celebrating our cultural diversity. This includes acknowledging the disparate mix of people and cultures as well as the rich historic and administrative elements that now comprise the current County. (Mention is made to Lancashire North of the Sands, Westmorland and the West Riding of Yorkshire)


The Council currently has no plans or specific policies aimed at promoting the identities of the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.


(The Borough lies) within the West Derby Hundred. In terms of specific policy, the Council does not have a policy to mark the borders to reflect Lancashire in particular, or to support county based organisations and events. Nevertheless, should you have any specific events that you feel would benefit the people of Knowsley, please do not hesitate to forward them to us (sic).  


Lancashire County Council seeks to support Lancashire Day and sees that as an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation of the importance of the historic county.


Liverpool City Council is only in a position to offer information regarding events, organisations and tourism activities within the boundaries of the City of Liverpool.


Manchester celebrates its own culture and heritage in ways which reflect its unique and diverse identity….Whilst I am sure we may have many aims in common, I hope you will appreciate that Manchester City Council does not necessarily share the same priorities as FORL.


Oldham Council works with (various) organisations in relation to the historical counties of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Also the Council…..recognises both Lancashire Day and Yorkshire Day.


Pendle has no formal or specific policies promoting the historic counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. This is not to say that we do not recognise their importance and there would be broad support for the view as expressed by Gillian Merron. (Mention of boundary signs, red & white roses installed, and West Craven’s link to Yorkshire).


Whilst being mindful of the historic county boundaries of Lancashire and the former West Riding of Yorkshire, (the) Council has no specific policies or plans to promote them at present.


In tourism terms….the history and heritage of the borough are recognised as an important aspect as they account for much of the interest shown in the borough by visitors and ex-pat Rochdalians who are proud of their heritage. (Mention of Lancashire in the Tourist Information Office, The Town Hall tours, support for Lancashire Day, and the Lancashire boundary signs recently erected).


The Council has no specific policies within the Local Development Framework Core Strategy relating to historic boundaries. Recognizing Salford as still part of Lancashire could raise an initial problem because of the conflict with the reorganization of Local Government, instigated in 1972, that places Salford within Greater Manchester. (However) we understand the importance of old boundaries….


I have spoken to the three Party Leaders and currently none of them feel they would want to commit expenditure on the items mentioned in your letter. They recognise and respect the history but do not want to take any positive action to recognise Lancashire within Sefton.


There is no doubt that historic counties still add an additional dimension and diversity to our area and for that we are grateful


The Council does not reference Lancashire in its border signs. I am unaware of any support being given or in fact requested in respect of county based organisations and events. We do not use the historic counties (sic) in connection with tourism promotion.


You have raised some interesting issues regarding the identity of this Borough. In general terms, we emphasise the Stockport name in marketing and branding and place an emphasis upon our position as part of the economic sub-region of Greater Manchester. The Council does not have specific policies to promote the identity of the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire. We wish you well with the FORL initiative.


Tameside Council does not have a policy on using the ‘traditional’ county names of Lancashire and Cheshire (the Borough was traditionally split between the two) nor does it officially support the promotion of the traditional counties. Tameside is a unitary authority with

its own identity and is recognised as being part of the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County. I appreciate this does not help your cause but Greater Manchester continues to exist in law

and as a geographic frame of reference.


In relation to the use of the historic boundaries of Lancashire and Cheshire there is very little by means of promotion in this area as we tend to concentrate on the present day Metropolitan boundary of Trafford. On the major North-South route in the Borough on the A56… there are signs to acknowledge the historic boundaries of Lancashire and Cheshire


The authority does not have any specific policies aimed at promoting the identity of the relevant historic counties for the area. There clearly is the historic side (which) applies to the northern part of Warrington which was a rural district until 1974 when it was administered by Lancashire. The old Warrington Borough Council crest is still to be used for civic occasions and the crest depicts the Cheshire wheatsheafs and the Lancashire rose.


For administrative purposes, we are no longer part of Lancashire, but for ceremonial, cultural and related purposes we have always recognised and celebrated our Lancashire traditions.