Administrative counties of England

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The administrative counties of England ( English administrative counties ) were local and regional administrative units . They came into being in 1888, were administered by a county council and replaced the traditional counties of England that had existed until then . They were replaced in 1974 by a division into Metropolitan Counties and Non-Metropolitan Counties, which in turn have been partially replaced by Unitary Authorities since 1996 . Counties with a real administrative function, which are officially no longer referred to as Administrative Counties , are today the remaining Non-Metropolitan Counties and most of the Unitary Authorities.

The administrative counties in England from 1888 to 1974

The English administrative structure from 1888 to 1965

In 1888, the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Marquess of Salisbury, fundamentally changed the administrative structure in England and Wales . The previous division of counties was changed and county councils were set up in the newly established administrative counties. The county boroughs were not affected by the new zoning in administrative counties .

The layout of the traditional counties of Cambridgeshire , Lincolnshire , Northamptonshire , Suffolk , Sussex and Yorkshire has been changed by splitting them into new administrative counties ; these were based on the already existing division of the Court of Quarter Sessions . In addition, the County of London was created, which included those boroughs that are now referred to as Inner London . The Isle of Wight initially belonged to the administrative county of Hampshire , but received its own county council in 1890.

In 1894 a uniform two-tier system was created: the administrative counties were on the upper tier, and the second tier was divided into urban districts , rural districts and municipal boroughs . The county boroughs are not listed as separate administrative units on the map below . The resulting system was the basis for the Ceremonial Counties , which was created for the sake of the Lord Lieutenancy . Here, however, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk and Sussex were not divided.

Administrative Counties of England 1890–1965


With increasing urbanization and the expansion of the suburbs , more and more areas that had previously belonged to one county extended into the area of ​​another. But because boroughs , urban districts and parishes could not go beyond the boundaries of a county, the boundaries of the administrative counties were changed several times in the following period.


The administrative counties from 1965 to 1974

In 1965 the County of London was dissolved and merged into Greater London . Was also dissolved Middlesex , the rose almost completely in Greater London, the residue was counties Surrey and Hertfordshire assigned.

Some other administrative counties were also changed. The Soke of Peterborough and Huntingdonshire were combined to form Huntingdon and Peterborough and Cambridgeshire was merged with the Isle of Ely .

The following map shows the boundaries of the county boroughs .

Administrative Counties of England from 1965 to 1974


The English administrative structure from 1974 to 1995

In the late 1960s it became apparent that the structure of local government was in need of reform. The Labor government under Harold Wilson set up a commission to reform the administrative structure.

The report prepared by the Commission proposed the abolition of two-tier management. Instead, 59 unitary authorities should be created, the layout of which should completely ignore the previous borders of the administrative areas and were based on geographic conditions. In the metropolitan areas of Merseyside, South East Lancashire and North East Cheshire as well as around Birmingham three metropolitan areas with 20 district administrations were to be established.

The Conservatives, led by Edward Heath , turned against this reform proposal . After they won the 1970 elections, they drew up their own administrative scheme. The concept of unitary authorities was rejected; rather, the entire area of ​​England and Wales should be divided into administrative counties and districts in a two-tier system. In England, the proposed redesign of the counties was based on the existing ones, but also included some fundamental changes.

Despite assurances that traditional counties would not formally be abolished and no one would be expected to change their loyalty as a result of the proposed territorial reform, the plan met with considerable resistance from the counties. As a result, most of the fundamental changes have been removed. On the question of the amalgamation of small counties, however, the government was adamant; Initiatives to keep Rutland and Herefordshire unsuccessful.

The administrative reform was implemented by the Local Government Act 1972 , which came into force on April 1, 1974. This law regulated the counties and metropolitan districts, while a commission was set up to shape the non-metropolitan districts.

The main point was the creation of the Metropolitan Counties :

Other significant changes:

In 1986, the Margaret Thatcher government abolished county councils in metropolitan counties. These were preserved as such; The Metropolitan Boroughs have been performing their administrative tasks since then .

Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Counties of England from 1974 to 1996

1 not a county, but a region

Administrative and territorial reforms between 1995 and 2020

In the 1990s, the county boroughs , which were abolished with the 1974 local government reform, were reintroduced in the form of the Unitary Authorities . As a result, the administrative landscape changed considerably in several steps:

On April 1, 1995, the Isle of Wight became a Unitary Authority. Until then, there was a two-tier system consisting of the Isle of Wight County Council and the Boroughs of Medina and South Wight . At the same time, two small areas of Surrey and Buckinghamshire came to Berkshire , which has since bordered Greater London .

On April 1, 1996, the 1974 newly formed counties of Avon , Humberside and Cleveland were abolished. Their previous districts became unitary authorities. At the same time, the area of ​​the City of York was expanded, made a unitary authority and administratively detached from North Yorkshire .

On April 1, 1997, the districts of Bournemouth , Darlington , Derby , Leicester , Luton , Milton Keynes , Poole , Portsmouth , Rutland and Southampton became Unitary Authorities. The districts of Brighton and Hove were combined to form the new Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority .

On April 1, 1998, the districts of Blackpool , Blackburn with Darwen , Halton , Medway , Nottingham , Peterborough , Plymouth , Swindon , Stoke-on-Trent , Southend-on-Sea , Telford and Wrekin , Torbay , Thurrock and Warrington became Unitary Authorities . Hereford and Worcester was dissolved and replaced by the Unitary Authority of Herefordshire and the county of Worcestershire . Berkshire was divided into six Unitary Authorities and its county council was abolished, but it was formally dissolved as a county.

2000, the administrative organization of was Greater London with the establishment of the Greater London Authority revised.

On April 1, 2009, the old districts were abolished in Bedfordshire , Cheshire , Cornwall , Durham , Northumberland , Shropshire and Wiltshire and Unitary Authorities were established across the board, so that there is now only a single-level administrative division in these counties.

On April 1, 2019, the old districts in Dorset were repealed and Unitary Authorities were established across the board. At the same time, several districts were merged in Somerset and Suffolk .

Buckinghamshire Unitary Authority was formed on April 1, 2020 when the districts of Aylesbury Vale , Chiltern , South Bucks and Wycombe merged.

The administrative structure of England since 2020

Counties and Unitary Authories since 2009

Non-Metropolitan Counties

The non-metropolitan counties in England have a county council and are divided into districts . A common name for these counties is Shire Counties , although the ending -shire does not appear in all names. As of 2020 there are 25 non-metropolitan counties in England:

Surname Non-Metropolitan Districts
Cambridgeshire Cambridge , East Cambridgeshire , Fenland , Huntingdonshire , South Cambridgeshire
Cumbria Allerdale , Barrow-in-Furness , Carlisle , Copeland , Eden , South Lakeland
Derbyshire Amber Valley , Bolsover , Chesterfield , Derbyshire Dales , Erewash , High Peak , North East Derbyshire , South Derbyshire
Devon East Devon , Exeter , Mid Devon , North Devon , South Hams , Teignbridge , Torridge , West Devon
East Sussex Eastbourne , Hastings , Lewes , Rother , Wealden
Essex Basildon , Braintree , Brentwood , Castle Point , Chelmsford , Colchester , Epping Forest , Harlow , Maldon , Rochford , Tendring , Uttlesford
Gloucestershire Cheltenham , Cotswold , Forest of Dean , Gloucester , Stroud , Tewkesbury
Hampshire Basingstoke and Deane , East Hampshire , Eastleigh , Fareham , Gosport , Hart , Havant , New Forest , Rushmoor , Test Valley , Winchester
Hertfordshire Broxbourne , Dacorum , East Hertfordshire , Hertsmere , North Hertfordshire , Three Rivers , St Albans , Stevenage , Watford , Welwyn Hatfield
Kent Ashford , Canterbury , Dartford , Dover , Folkestone and Hythe , Gravesham , Maidstone , Sevenoaks , Swale , Thanet , Tonbridge and Malling , Tunbridge Wells
Lancashire Burnley , Chorley , Fylde , Hyndburn , Lancaster , Pendle , Preston , Ribble Valley , Rossendale , South Ribble , West Lancashire , Wyre
Leicestershire Blaby , Charnwood , Harborough , Hinckley and Bosworth , Melton , Oadby and Wigston , North West Leicestershire
Lincolnshire Boston , East Lindsey , Lincoln , North Kesteven , South Holland , South Kesteven , West Lindsey
Norfolk Breckland , Broadland , Great Yarmouth , King's Lynn and West Norfolk , North Norfolk , Norwich , South Norfolk
Northamptonshire Corby , Daventry , East Northamptonshire , Kettering , Northampton , South Northamptonshire , Wellingborough
North Yorkshire Craven , Hambleton , Harrogate , Richmondshire , Ryedale , Scarborough , Selby
Nottinghamshire Ashfield , Bassetlaw , Broxtowe , Gedling , Mansfield , Newark and Sherwood , Rushcliffe
Oxfordshire Cherwell , Oxford , South Oxfordshire , Vale of White Horse , West Oxfordshire
Somerset Mendip , Sedgemoor , South Somerset , Somerset West and Taunton
Staffordshire Cannock Chase , East Staffordshire , Lichfield , Newcastle-under-Lyme , South Staffordshire , Stafford , Staffordshire Moorlands , Tamworth
Suffolk Babergh , East Suffolk , Ipswich , Mid Suffolk , West Suffolk
Surrey Elmbridge , Epsom and Ewell , Guildford , Mole Valley , Reigate and Banstead , Runnymede , Spelthorne , Tandridge , Surrey Heath , Waverley , Woking
Warwickshire North Warwickshire , Nuneaton and Bedworth , Rugby , Stratford-on-Avon , Warwick
West Sussex Adur , Arun , Chichester , Crawley , Horsham , Mid Sussex , Worthing
Worcestershire Bromsgrove , Malvern Hills , Redditch , Worcester , Wychavon , Wyre Forest

Sometimes Berkshire is also counted among the non-metropolitan counties. Berkshire has no administration at the county level and is divided into six Unitary Authorities, but they do not have county status.

Metropolitan Counties

Since the abolition of the Metropolitan County Councils in 1986, the six Metropolitan Counties are no longer administrative counties in the strict sense and are subdivided into Metropolitan Boroughs .

Surname Metropolitan Boroughs
Greater Manchester Manchester , Bolton , Bury , Oldham , Rochdale , Salford , Stockport , Tameside , Trafford , Wigan
Merseyside Liverpool , Knowsley , Sefton , St Helens , Wirral
South Yorkshire Sheffield , Barnsley , Doncaster , Rotherham
Tyne and Wear Newcastle-upon-Tyne , Gateshead , South Tyneside , North Tyneside , Sunderland
West Midlands Birmingham , Coventry , Dudley , Sandwell , Solihull , Walsall , Wolverhampton
West Yorkshire Leeds , Bradford , Calderdale , Kirklees , Wakefield

Unitary Authorities

Unitary Authorities are administrative units in which the tasks of a non-metropolitan county and a district are combined in one local authority. In England there are 50 unitary authorities with county status:

Bath and North East Somerset , Bedford , Blackburn with Darwen , Blackpool , Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole , Brighton and Hove , Bristol , Buckinghamshire , Central Bedfordshire , Cheshire East , Cheshire West and Chester , Cornwall , Dorset , County Durham , County of Herefordshire , Derby , Darlington , East Riding of Yorkshire , Halton , Hartlepool , Isle of Wight , Kingston upon Hull , Leicester , Luton , Medway , Middlesbrough , Milton Keynes , North East Lincolnshire , North Lincolnshire , North Somerset , Northumberland , Nottingham , Peterborough , Plymouth , Portsmouth , Redcar and Cleveland , Rutland , Shropshire , Southampton , Southend-on-Sea , South Gloucestershire , Stockton , Stoke-on-Trent , Swindon , Telford and Wrekin , Thurrock , Torbay , Warrington , Wiltshire and York

The six districts in Berkshire ( West Berkshire , Reading , Wokingham , Bracknell Forest , Windsor and Maidenhead and Slough ) and the Isles of Scilly are also Unitary Authorities, but do not have county status.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Local Government Law. Law on the web, 2012, archived from the original on February 16, 2013 ; accessed on January 1, 2013 .