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A society dedicated to promoting awareness of the continuing importance of the 92 historic (or traditional) Counties of the United Kingdom.

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The county borders in the twenty-first century, seen here on a web map

Our vision for the Historic Counties

The ABC contends that Britain needs a fixed general-purpose geography, one divorced from the ever changing names and areas of local government, but instead rooted in history, public understanding and commonly held notions of community and identity. The ABC, therefore, seeks to fully re-establish the use of the historic counties as the standard general-purpose geographical reference frame of Britain.

We contend that:

  • the borders of the historic counties should be marked on maps and appropriately signed;
  • the geography of the historic counties should be adopted by writers, editors, publishers, organisations, and businesses for all suitable (non-administrative) purposes;
  • the historic counties should be the standard for use in studies of history, local history, historical geography and genealogy, and to be that used in cataloguing, indexing and organising historical records and documents;
  • the historic counties should be used as the county line in all UK postal addresses.

The ABC wishes to see the main governmental and non-governmental heritage organisations of the UK (e.g English Heritage, the National Trust, CADW, Historic Scotland etc.) fully recognise the importance of the historic counties to our heritage and culture, make full use of them in publications, display boards etc. and to promote them as a vital part of our living, common heritage.

The ABC seeks to promote the fact that the historic counties have an existence and importance totally separate from any set of administrative areas. We wish to see a form of local government names and terminology which draws a clear distinction in the public mind between the historic counties and local government. We therefore, seek an end to the naming of local authorities after the historic counties, and an end to the use of the terms ‘county’ and ‘county council’ to describe a local authority or its area.

The ABC wishes to see the continuation and extension of the use of the historic counties as a basis for sporting, social and cultural organisations and activities.

The ABC wishes to see each of the historic counties have a registered flag and for this flag to be commonly flown within the county and recognised as a symbol of that county.

The ABC wishes to see each historic county have a “county day” on which all aspects of the history and culture of that county can be celebrated.

The ABC contends that an appreciation of the history and culture of the historic counties should form a part of the national curriculum and be taught in an appropriate manner to all schoolchildren.

The ABC seeks fair access to public funding for organisations based upon the historic counties and fair representation for organisations based upon the historic counties on governmental and quasi-governmental advisory bodies, panels, committees, consortia etc. in relation to the arts, sport, and other social or cultural issues.

The ABC wishes to see the historic counties fully used by the tourism industry as a basis for promoting tourism.

FAQs about our vision for the historic counties…

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