Friends of REAL Lancashire

Our county is called Lancashire: Not Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside or part of Cheshire

Map of the North West Counties
Map of the North West Counties

Friends Of Real Lancashire:

The beginning of the confusion



County Councils were created - the areas that they controlled more or less coincided with the ancient geographical county and so county identity was very little affected.



New administrative counties were created, but these did not affect the boundaries of the ancient and geographical counties and the boundaries of Lancashire remained unaltered. However, because the media began to refer to these new administrative counties instead of continuing to use the names and identities of the geographical counties, some people were misled into thinking that they had been moved over night into a new county.



The councils of the Metropolitan counties of Greater Manchester and Merseyside were abolished and replaced with a number of unitary authorities. Greater Manchester and Merseyside thereby ceased to be administrative areas.



Other administrative counties were abolished, e.g. Avon, Cleveland and Humberside. To take account of this the Royal Mail eliminated administrative counties from postal addresses, but stated that the inclusion of a geographical county name would not affect the way that they handled the mail providing the Post Code is included. This means that if you live in the real county you can include Lancashire in your address no matter which administrative area or 'county' you live in. 



New Ordnance Survey maps and road atlases no longer depict the defunct administrative counties of Greater Manchester and Merseyside, but show instead the unitary authorities of southern Lancashire and north Cheshire.



New Unitary Authority areas of 'Blackburn with Darwen', 'Blackpool', 'Halton' and 'Warrington'. These new administrative areas will now be shown on Ordnance Survey maps which means that the towns of Blackburn, Darwen and Blackpool will no longer be shown on maps as part of Lancashire.


The future

The counties of this country are an integral part of our history and culture and it is essential that their true identity is preserved. Until 1974 the identities of most of the ancient and geographical counties of the United Kingdom had remained essentially unaltered for over a thousand years. Very little needs to be done to undo the damage to this county identity that has occurred since 1974, but unless steps are taken now, we run the risk of losing this very important part of our heritage.


You can help by always referring to the geographical county in which you live, not the administrative county.


Official statements confirming that the traditional counties, still exist despite changes to administrative areas since 1888.


"The new county boundaries are administrative areas, and will not alter the traditional boundaries of counties, nor is it intended that the loyalties of people living in them will change despite the different names adopted by the new administrative counties.”

Government statement issued on 1st April 1974 and printed in the Times newspaper

“I can confirm that the Government still stand by this statement,.…that the local authority areas and boundaries introduced in April 1974 do not alter the traditional boundaries of counties. The 1974 arrangements are entirely administrative, and need not affect long-standing loyalties and affinities.”

Michael Portillo MP, Minister of State for Local Government – 11th July 1990

"The Local Government Act 1972 did not abolish traditional counties, only administrative ones. Although for local government purposes some of the historic counties have ceased to be administrative areas, they continue to exist for other purposes, organisations and local groups.”

Department of the Environment – 3rd September 1991

“Although the Local Government Act of 1888 and subsequent legislation transferred to newly constituted Councils administrative business and responsibility for redefined areas, such legislation did not alter or affect the Duchy palatinate boundaries which remain the same as the old (pre 1888) geographical County of Lancaster. Both Furness and Cartmel lie within the County Palatine”

Duchy of Lancaster Office – 23rd September 1992

“The Government is aware that many people attach importance to historic and traditional county areas and it is not their intention that people’s identification with their counties will be diminished”

John Powell, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister – 29th August 2003

“I can confirm that these Acts (1933, 1972) did not specifically abolish traditional counties so traditional counties still exist but no longer for the purposes of the administration of local Government ...”

Department for Communities and Local Government – 22nd August 2006

“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.”

Gillian Merron MP, Private Secretary to the Cabinet Office – Hansard 29th June 2007

“The legislation that currently defines counties for the purposes of administration of local government is the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended by various Orders in the 1990s). This legislation abolished the previous administrative counties, which were established by the Local Government Act 1933. However, these Acts did not specifically abolish traditional counties, so traditional counties still exist, but no longer for the purpose of the administration of local government.

We are certainly aware that many people attach importance to historic or traditional county areas and that they feel strongly about such issues. It is true that the traditional counties continue to play an important part in national life, and their names are often used in sport, business, local and family history, military history, literature and the arts”. 

Parjit Dhanda MP, PUSS at the Department for Communities & Local Government -16th April 2008

"English counties continue to form an important part of our cultural and local identity in this country and many people remain deeply attached to their home county ... This sense of pride and shared identity is one of the things that binds communities together and it's right that the Government department responsible for communities and local government should be actively recognising the important role they play."

Secretary of State Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Department of Communities & Local Government - 10th September 2010