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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 one response

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

A Portrait of Cornwall

For St Piran’s Day (5th March) we present our portrait of Cornwall. The Royal Duchy of Cornwall is a maritime county which forms the tip of the south-west peninsula of Great Britain. Cornwall is a county of astounding landscapes and distinct identity. Both coasts provide … Continue reading

Shropshire Day – 23rd February

The first county day of 2021 is Shropshire Day on Tuesday 23rd February, the feast day of St Milburga. Sadly, the covid restrictions will mean this is a lower key affair than usual but there are still many ways to celebrate the charms of this … Continue reading

20 February 2021 2 responses

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

26 January 2021 14 responses

Leicestershire Flag Competition – Time to Press ‘Pause’

Leicestershire is the only historic county of England which does not yet have a flag registered with the Flag Institute. We were delighted, therefore, when BBC Radio Leicester agreed to run a Flag of Leicestershire competition, endorsed by the Flag Institute, to select a flag … Continue reading

Caernarfonshire Day – 28th Nov

Caernarfonshire (Sir Gaernarfon) is a maritime county in north Wales. A large proportion of the population is Welsh-speaking. The county may be reckoned to have three distinctive areas: the coastal lands (Arfon and the coast to the River Conwy), Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula. The … Continue reading

Bedfordshire Day 28th Nov

Bedfordshire is an inland county in the south-eastern Midlands of England. The southern end of the county is swept by the chalk ridge of the Chiltern Hills. The rest of the shire is part of the broad drainage basin of the River Great Ouse and … Continue reading

28 November 2020 one response

Westmorland Day 2020

Both Westmorland Dales Day and the Westmorland County Show had to be cancelled in 2020. All the more reason to celebrate this year’s Westmorland Day on Tuesday 29th September 2020. On this day in 1397, Ralph Neville was created the first Earl of Westmorland by … Continue reading

28 September 2020 start the discussion

Gazetteer of British Place Names in Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Websites for Genealogy!

Family Tree Magazine selected the Gazetteer of British Place Names as one of seven websites featured in the 2020 edition of their ‘101 Best Websites for Genealogy’ within the ‘best UK and Irish genealogy websites’ category! Family Tree Magazine say that the list is an annual favourite … Continue reading

Wiltshire Day – 5th June

The lockdown has done nothing to dampen the celebration of county days this year. Although celebrations have been restricted to being on social media, the year on year growth in their popularity continues. On 23rd February we celebrated Shropshire Day. In March we celebrated Cornwall … Continue reading

More “county councils” to go – to the huge benefit of our historic counties

Upcoming local government changes continue the trend which will eventually clear-up the confusion in the public mind between the historic counties and local government – to the huge benefit of both. A core aim of ABC is to see a clear line drawn between the … Continue reading

27 February 2020 10 responses