In 2014 ABC member Brady Ells, conceived the idea of Historic County Flags Day as an occasion to celebrate the nation’s historic counties through the flying of flags. The inaugural “County Flags Day” was Wednesday, 23rd July, 2014, chosen because it was the anniversary of the creation of the flag of Devon in 2002, which started the momentum of the modern concept of a county flag. The notion was embraced by government.
Two years later, seeking further methods to promote the occasion and encourage the flying of county flags to celebrate our counties, fellow ABC member Jason Saber approached the Parliamentary Flags and Heraldry Committee with a novel suggestion, inspired by annual displays around Westminster. Each year, the second Monday in March is recognised as Commonwealth Day which is marked by the flying, on Parliament Square, Westminster, next to the Houses of Parliament, of the flags of member states. This prompted a campaign to have our county flags displayed on the site on County Flags Day in the same manner.
In July 2019 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government issued guidance for councils on Celebrating the Historic Counties of England. This guidance set out the rationale for the promotion of the historic counties and what local authorities can do in relation to placing boundary signs, flying county flags and celebrating county days.
Minister Jake Berry MP said “I am proud that we’re helping councils celebrate our nation’s great historic counties and their rich cultures.”
Peter Boyce, Chairman of ABC, said “We are delighted that the Government has issued this guidance. It draws together the various positive moves the Government has made in recent years, at the suggestion of ABC, to encourage the proper recognition of the importance of the historic counties to our national life. It is good to know that the Government is committed to our historic counties.” As part of his efforts to promote the historic counties, Mr Berry put the ABC initiative into operation and agreed to display the registered historic county flags outside Parliament on Historic County Flags Day, July 23rd 2019. This was a magnificent display and received a huge amount of media and social media coverage.