View Full Version : Association of British Counties -- Saving Our Shires

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005, 04:22 AM

The Association of British Counties (ABC) is a society dedicated to promoting awareness of the continuing importance of the 86 historic (or traditional) Counties of Great Britain. ABC believes that the Counties are an important part of the history, geography and cultural life of Great Britain. ABC contends that Britain needs a fixed popular geography, one divorced from the ever changing names and areas of local government but, instead, one rooted in history, public understanding and commonly held notions of cultural identity. ABC, therefore, seeks to fully re-establish the use of the Counties as the standard popular geographical reference frame of Britain and to further encourage their use as a basis for social, sporting and cultural activities.

The historic Counties of Great Britain are fundamental to our culture. Older than cathedrals, more historic than stately homes, Counties like Lincolnshire, Cornwall, Middlesex, Anglesey and Fife are basic to our life. Their names belong to the ground we tread. They are an indelible part of our history. They are important cultural entities. They are sources of identity and affection to many people. Organisations galore - sports clubs, businesses, societies, regiments, farmers' unions - are based upon them. Above all else, the Counties are places - places where people live, places they are proud to "come from". And they give us something else. Like every country Great Britain needs a stable geography- a set of commonly accepted names and areas for communication between people in all walks of life: business, education, the media etc. For centuries, the traditional Counties have fulfilled this role.

Now its all at risk. From 1888 to 1965 local government "administrative counties" were closely based upon the traditional Counties. The last 40 years have seen numerous local government reforms: a modern local government map now bears little resemblence to the traditional Counties. However, the Government has always maintained that local government changes do not actually directly affect the Counties themselves. Despite such re-assurances, the tendency for the media, map-makers, publishers etc. to use local government areas as a basis for popular geography has obscured the identities of the Counties. In fact, local government names and areas change so frequently that they are totally unsuitable for such a geographical purpose. Surely we cannot be expected to re-learn our whole notion of "where places are" every 20 years or so ? Neither should we be robbed of our cultural inheritance. There really is no need for it. The 6 Counties of Northern Ireland - Antrim, Armagh, Down and the rest - have no role in local government but are used by everyone as the basis of its geography. ABC advocates the same practice for Great Britain.

ABC encourages the use of the historic Counties in postal addressing, in guide books, on boundary signs and maps and encourages their further use as a basis for sporting, social and cultural activities and organisations. ABC is voluntary, non-party political and non-sectarian.

Meet the Counties (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/counties/list.htm)

A list of the 86 Counties of Great Britain. It includes common alternative names and names of major towns and cities.

Map of the Counties (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/counties/map.htm)

A large-scale map of the Counties of Great Britain.

ABC's Aims and Objectives (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/aims.htm)

A concise statement of what we want to see.

Gazetteer of British Place Names (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/newgaz/index.htm)

The standard authority on the geography of Great Britain. It has three main features:

it provides the most exhaustive Place Name Index to Britain currently available, containing over 50,000 entries including commonly accepted alternative spellings and Welsh and Gaelic versions.
it lists the County in which each place lies
it lists the name of the most important administrative areas (i.e. of local government, police, region and lieutenancy) in which each place lies.

Be Properly Addressed: A Traditional County Postal Directory (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/bpa/bpacontents.htm)

Under the Royal Mail's Flexible Addressing policy, the correct traditional County name can now be included in any U.K. postal address. This Directory lists the correct County for every U.K. Post Town.

The ABC Archive (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/archive.htm)

Past ABC submissions to government consultations.

The problem of "county confusion" - and how to resolve it (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/counties/confusion.htm)

This provides a detailed explanation of the difference in type between the historic Counties of Britain and those administrative areas also labelled "counties" by the Local Government Act 1972 or the Lieutenancies Act 1997. This document also proposes a terminology to enable the three types of "county" to be clearly differentiated.

Frequently Asked Questions (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/FAQ.htm)

County Links (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/counties/links.htm)

Join A.B.C. (http://www.abcounties.co.uk/FAQ.htm#question7)


Wednesday, December 21st, 2005, 04:23 AM

Sunday, December 25th, 2005, 07:20 PM
I never could understand why they messed around with the traditional counties.

Saturday, January 7th, 2006, 08:00 AM
I never could understand why they messed around with the traditional counties.
All part of the plan to destroy our sense of ourselves and our link with our own past, rendering us easy prey to the forces of .... well, take your pick!