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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 18 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

Middlesex Day 16th May 2022

Middlesex Day is celebrated each year on 16th May. Middlesex Day, as with most county day celebrations, has been growing in popularity year on year. 2022 has unquestionably been the biggest event yet with even the Prime Minister (MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip) joining … Continue reading

Somerset Day 2022

Somerset Day is celebrated on May 11th, commemorating the gathering of his people by King Alfred to battle and defeat the Danes in May 878. You can read our Portrait of Somerset to get a flavour of the many delights that Somerset has to offer. … Continue reading

Surrey Day – 7th May 2022

Surrey Day in 2022 is being celebrated on Saturday 7th May. In celebration we present below our Portrait of Surrey and a Map of Surrey. Whereas most county days have a fixed date, usually reflecting an important date in that county’s history, Surrey Day is … Continue reading

1st May – Staffordshire Day

The first day of May is not only May Day but is also Staffordshire Day –  the anniversary of the founding of Josiah Wedgewood and Sons. We present our portrait of the county and our Map of Staffordshire. Staffordshire is an inland county in the … Continue reading

Cumbria County Council 1974-2023 R.I.P.

The axing of Cumbria County Council has passed its last legal hurdle. The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022 received Royal Assent on 18th March 2022. On 1st April 2023 Cumbria County Council and the district councils in its area will be abolished and replaced by … Continue reading

21 March 2022 8 responses

A portrait of Brecknockshire

In celebration of St David’s Day we present our portrait of Brecknockshire and a Map of Brecknockshire. Brecknockshire (Sir Frycheiniog), also known as Breconshire, is an inland county in Mid-Wales. The county is predominantly rural and mountainous. The county’s most important industries are agriculture, forestry … Continue reading

Shropshire Day – Weds 23rd Feb 2022

The first county day of 2022 is Shropshire Day on Wednesday 23rd February, the feast day of St Milburga. Shropshire has been described as possessing every variety of natural charm: the bold and lofty mountain, the woody and secluded valley, the fertile and widely-cultured plain, … Continue reading

Support Historic Somerset – Give an appropriate name for Somerset’s newest council

A new online petition Support Historic Somerset – give an appropriate name for Somerset’s newest council is calling for the new unitary council replacing Somerset County Council to be given a name which does not undermine the identity of Somerset itself. From April 2023, the … Continue reading

8 February 2022 2 responses

A tale of three Somersets

Among the many outrages of the Local Government Act 1972 was the naming of “Somerset County Council”. Whilst this local authority does cover a large part of the historic county of Somerset, it does not cover the highly populated north of the county. Nonetheless, for … Continue reading

1 February 2022 one response

Boost for the historic counties – ‘Cumbria’ is axed!

Moves towards unitary local government in England provide the perfect opportunity to clear up the longstanding confusion between the historic counties and local government, to the advantage of both. Is this opportunity going to be grasped? The latest news about local government changes in the … Continue reading

26 January 2022 36 responses