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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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Local government naming that respects the historic counties

The Association of British Counties (ABC) promotes the importance of the historic counties of the UK to our history, heritage and culture. The biggest challenge facing the identities of the historic counties in England is the continued confusion of the historic counties with local government … Continue reading

15 September 2021 17 responses

Gazetteer Gets An Upgrade

We’ve spent the last few months giving the Gazetteer of British Place Names (http://www.gazetteer.org.uk) a major upgrade. We first published the Gazetteer back in 1997 and it quickly became the standard reference work for the geography of Great Britain. Since then it has been hugely … Continue reading

11 February 2020 2 responses

Doom-mongers have been predicting the death of county cricket almost since it was first established. However, its willingness to re-invent itself every generation has kept it a key part of the English (and Welsh!) summer. After a period of declining crowds, the introduction of twenty-twenty cricket in 2003 re-established county cricket as a mass spectator sport. Fourteen years later it continues to thrive and grow. The T20 Blast competition recorded record attendances in 2017.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/20531121/blast-attendances-record-883000

Many commentators see the buzz around the 2017 county competition as a reaction by fans against plans by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to stage a new twenty-twenty competition from 2020, based around 8 regional teams. The ECB wants to fill the big grounds with a new audience for cricket. It hopes to emulate the mass popularity of such competitions in Indian and Australia. It’s a risky strategy. The whole culture of cricket support is totally different in those countries. Can you create an audience for contrived regional teams? How can you replace a sold-out Old Trafford for the roses clash? Will the crowd which fills Lords for Middlesex vs Surrey really show up for ‘North London’ vs ‘South London’?

The new competition will not replace the county-based T20 Blast though. Whilst the new competition will be played in August, the T20 Blast will be played first, from June to mid-July, a much better slot in terms of the weather and the lack of competition from football. Is there a sufficient audience for both? Which will fare better?

Given the record crowds in 2017, the ECB would be well advised to revisit its plans for a regional competition. A less risky approach would be to build on the success of the Blast. So much could be done. Learn the lessons from counties like Surrey, Middlesex, Somerset and Nottinghamshire who attract capacity, enthusiastic crowds. How do they market their games? Play no international cricket whilst the Blast is on. Allow the England players to play alongside the world’s best stars, especially the biggest stars from the sub-continent. Play some games on smaller grounds where locals rarely get the chance to see top quality cricket. Above all, get the game on terrestrial TV. The ECB’s decision to sell all rights to domestic and international cricket to satellite TV was short-sighted, robing it of a huge audience and its status as our national summer sport. Put the promotion and marketing into the Blast. It’s already a great competition. Some imagination, some proper planning and marketing could make it truly huge.

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Link 1 October 2017 16 October 2017 Featured, News 2 responses

Caernarfonshire Day – Sun 28th Nov 2021

Caernarfonshire Day is celebrated on 28th November, the date of death of Owain ap Gruffudd (1100 – 1170). In celebration we present a Map of Caernarfonshire and our portrait of the county. Caernarfonshire (Sir Gaernarfon) is a maritime county in north Wales. A large proportion … Continue reading

Bedfordshire Day – Sun 28th Nov 2021

#BedfordshireDay is celebrated on 28th November, the birthday of John Bunyan (b. Elstow 1628). In celebration we present a Map of Bedfordshire and our portrait of the county. Check out the Friends of Bedfordshire Society (also on Twitter and Facebook) for more information about Bedfordshire … Continue reading

Lancashire Day – 27th November

#LancashireDay is celebrated on 27th November. On this day in 1295 the first elected representatives from Lancashire were called to Westminster by King Edward I to attend what later became known as “The Model Parliament”. We present our portrait of the county and a Map … Continue reading

27 November 2021 one response

Essex Day – 26th October

Essex Day is celebrated on October 26th, the feast day of St Cedd, bishop of the East Saxons and the county’s patron saint. Cedd founded many churches, among them the Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall at Bradwell-on-Sea, one of the oldest intact Christian churches in England. … Continue reading

Monmouthshire – geographical confusion taken to its illogical conclusion

The biggest challenge facing the identities of the historic counties is their continued confusion with local government areas. Whilst moves towards unitary local government in England provide an opportunity to clear up this longstanding confusion, a quick look at the local government map of Wales … Continue reading

22 October 2021 3 responses

Westmorland Day – 29th September

Westmorland Day is celebrated on 29th September. On this day in 1397, Ralph Neville was created the first Earl of Westmorland by Richard II. This date was chosen in a public vote at the Westmorland county show in 2013. Westmorland was one of the last … Continue reading

29 September 2021 start the discussion

Monmouthshire Day – 25th September

Monmouthshire Day is celebrated on September 25th, the feast day of Saint Cadoc. We present our portrait of the county and a Map of Monmouthshire. Monmouthshire is a maritime county in south-east Wales. Monmouthshire was once the heart of the Kingdom of Gwent, then the … Continue reading

25 September 2021 start the discussion

Yorkshire Day – 1st August

Yorkshire Day, held annually on 1 August, was created by the Yorkshire Ridings Society in 1975 as a celebration of the county. It has grown to become a huge event, both within the county and for Yorkshire men and women throughout the world. In celebration … Continue reading

31 July 2021 8 responses

Buckinghamshire Day – 29th July

Buckinghamshire Day is celebrated annually on July 29th, chosen to commemorate the first ever Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948. The Games, originally held for servicemen who had suffered injuries, became the precursors of the Paralympic Games. In celebration we present our portrait of the county … Continue reading