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England

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Traditional
1974 creations

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County Towns: England

Traditional Counties

This subject is littered with pitfalls for the unwary question setter.

According to Wikipedia, "A county town in Great Britain or Ireland is usually, but not always, the location of administrative or judicial functions within the county. The concept of a county town is ill–defined and unofficial. Following the establishment of county councils in 1889, the administrative headquarters of the new authorities were usually located in the county town of each county. However, this was not always the case and the idea of a "county town" pre–dates the establishment of these councils." By way of example, Wikipedia cites Lancashire (see below).

As a result, many counties have more than one candidate for the title of county town. I've tried to clarify matters in the table below, and if setting questions on this subject (it's a perennially popular one) I would suggest that you include clarification where appropriate.

The following are self–evident: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Durham, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire (now a district of Cambridgeshire), Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire

Berkshire Since 1867 Click to show or hide the answer
Previously (sharing duties and honours with the above from 1714; town now in Oxfordshire) Click to show or hide the answer
Buckinghamshire Click to show or hide the answer
Cheshire Click to show or hide the answer
Cornwall Currently Click to show or hide the answer
Previously Click to show or hide the answer
Before 1835 Click to show or hide the answer
Cumberland Click to show or hide the answer
Derbyshire County Council headquarters moved in 1956, from Derby to Click to show or hide the answer
Devon Click to show or hide the answer
Dorset Click to show or hide the answer
Essex Click to show or hide the answer
Hampshire (formerly Southampton) Click to show or hide the answer
Kent Click to show or hide the answer
Lancashire Traditionally Click to show or hide the answer
County Council headquarters (County Hall), since 1882 Click to show or hide the answer
Norfolk Click to show or hide the answer
Northumberland Traditionally Click to show or hide the answer
County Council headquarters, 1889-1981 Click to show or hide the answer
County Council headquarters, since 1981 Click to show or hide the answer
North Yorkshire Click to show or hide the answer
Rutland Click to show or hide the answer
Shropshire Click to show or hide the answer
Somerset Since around 1366 Click to show or hide the answer
From the late 13th century (until around 1366) Click to show or hide the answer
Before that ... Click to show or hide the answer
Suffolk Since 1974, when East and West Suffolk were merged (formerly the county town of East Suffolk) Click to show or hide the answer
Some departments are at (former county town of East Suffolk) Click to show or hide the answer
Surrey Traditionally Click to show or hide the answer
Administrative headquarters (since 1893 – part of Greater London since 1974, with a borough named after it) Click to show or hide the answer
Wiltshire Click to show or hide the answer

The following counties were created in 1888 but re–merged in 1974:

West Suffolk Click to show or hide the answer
East Suffolk Click to show or hide the answer

1974 creations

The following counties were created in 1974:

Cumbria Click to show or hide the answer
Isle of Wight Click to show or hide the answer
East Sussex Click to show or hide the answer
West Sussex Click to show or hide the answer
North Yorkshire Click to show or hide the answer

Metropolitan counties, created in 1974 but abolished in 1986:

Greater Manchester Click to show or hide the answer
Merseyside Click to show or hide the answer
South Yorkshire Click to show or hide the answer
Tyne & Wear Click to show or hide the answer
West Midlands Click to show or hide the answer
West Yorkshire Click to show or hide the answer

Greater London was created as a county in 1965 and abolished in 1986. The Greater London Authority was created in 2000 with an elected mayor.

The following counties were created in 1974 and abolished in 1996 (except for Hereford and Worcester, which survived until 1998):

Avon Click to show or hide the answer
Cleveland Click to show or hide the answer
Hereford and Worcester Click to show or hide the answer
Humberside Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017