Friends of Real Lancashire

The Friends of Real Lancashire are an outsider pressure group affiliated to the Association of British Counties calling for the wider recognition of the historic boundaries of Lancashire. Its chairman is Chris Dawson.


The Friends of Real Lancashire are concerned to promote, what they view as, the true boundaries of the county, which were altered [Dearlove, J., "The reorganisation of British local government", (1979)] Her Majesty's Stationery Office, "Aspects of Britain: Local Government", (1996)] [Hampton, W., "Local Government and Urban Politics", (1991)] following the 1974 enactment of the Local Government Act 1972. Elcock, H., "Local Government", (1994)] [Barlow, I., "Metropolitan Government", (1991)] Lancashire saw more upheaval than most counties, having most of its population transferred to the new counties: Manchester and south east Lancashire became part of Greater Manchester; Liverpool and south west Lancashire became part of Merseyside; Furness became part of Cumbria; and Warrington and Widnes became part of Cheshire. Arnold-Baker, C., "Local Government Act 1972",(1973)]

The boundary changes [Kingdom, J., "Local Government and Politics in Britain", (1991)] were not intended to affect loyalties but they caused concern in some areas and in practice it is the new boundaries Bryne, T., "Local Government in Britain", (1994)] which are now shown on maps and marked by road signs. They have also been widely adopted by the media as geographical designations, despite that many within the new counties continue to regard themselves as Lancastrians.Fact|date=November 2007 The historic county boundaries continue to be used as the basis for organisations such as the Duchy of Lancaster, Lancashire County Cricket Club and Lancashire Football Association (although its area overlaps with Manchester Football Association). [ [ Lancashire FA] - Senior Cup] [ Manchester FA] ]

The area under the control of Lancashire County Council, or shire county, became even smaller in 1998 when Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen became unitary authorities. [ [ OPSI] - "The Lancashire (Boroughs of Blackburn and Blackpool) (Structural Change) Order 1996"] Although they remain part of the ceremonial county, they are often no longer mapped as part of Lancashire and "Welcome to Lancashire" road signs have been placed on their boundaries with the shire county.

The group counts at least six MPs amongst its supporters and has been mentioned in Hansard. cite hansard|url=|house=House of Commons|date=4 December 1995|column=116] It has received limited support within local government, [ [ South Lakeland District Council] - Minutes of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 26 September 1995] and its campaign has also mentioned in the local press. [ [ Lake District News] - Atkinson, D., "Changing boundaries prompt timely research!", (2004)] Lancashire Life magazine identifies itself as an enthusiastic supporter of the group and continues to cover the historic county area. [ [ "Lancashire Life" magazine] ]


FORL has the following aims:

* The restoration of the historic boundaries of the Lancashire ceremonial county with the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire covering everywhere within the historic borders.
* Road signs to mark the historic boundaries with Cheshire, Yorkshire, Westmorland and Cumberland.
* The historic boundaries to be shown on Ordnance Survey and other maps rather than the current boundaries.

The group also campaigns to have public bodies named in accordance with historic rather than contemporary county names e.g. NHS ambulance authority reforms.


FORL's campaign has met with limited success. In 1994 it raised a petition with 30,000 signatures calling "for the restoration of Lancashire's historic boundaries" [cite hansard|url=|house=House of Commons|date= 21 April 1994|column=1146] - the petition requested that the "Metropolitan Counties of Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cumbria (sic) be abolished and the real and historic county of Lancashire be restored". In response to other suggestions of restoring former boundaries, the Government has commented that although it has no plans to restore the historic borders of counties, boundary changes which have occurred need not affect loyalties. [cite hansard|url=|house=House of Commons|date=31 January 1996|column=821]

The Local Government Commission for England made draft recommendations in as part of a review of the structure of local government in Cumbria that the "areas of Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council formerly in Lancashire should be returned to historic Lancashire for ceremonial and related purposes". [Local Government Commission for England. "The Future Local Government of Cumbria: Draft Recommendations". June 1994.] The final recommendations noted that "the Commission heard from few people on this subject during the consultation period, although support was indicated by the Friends of Real Lancashire", and consequently proposed no change. [Local Government Commission for England. "Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of Cumbria". October 1994.]

The group succeeded in having signs erected near Clitheroe, Nelson and Colne marking the traditional border with the West Riding of Yorkshire, on roads which are currently managed by Lancashire County Council- paid for at no expense to the council. [ [ Ancient boundary signs to be revived] Telegraph & Argus. January 8, 2000.] A similar request to Cumbria County Council, to mark the historic borders between Westmorland and Cumberland and Lancashire was denied in 1996. [ [ Cumbria County Council Economy and Environemtn Sub-Committee minutes] 7 May 1996]

In 2001, the leader of the council was presented with a framed map, created by the group, depicting the historic boundaries. It was put on display at County Hall. [ [ This is Lancashire] - "County map shows 'real' borders", (2001)] Lancaster City Council endorsed the group's position in June 2002, resolving that the Council "support the Friends of Real Lancashire’s campaign to restore the former geographical county boundaries". [ [ Lancaster City Council minutes] 10 July 2002]

The Royal Mail no longer require the use of their former postal counties when addressing letters and instead use the postcode and post town to direct mail. As part of their flexible addressing policy, anyone may now include "Lancashire" as part of their address. Where a county is provided however, it will be ignored and to this end, an alias file supplement to the Postcode Address File cross references county and other postally-not-required information to the correct postal address. [Royal Mail, "Address Management Guide", (2004)]

Lancashire Day

As part of its campaign the group has adopted 27th November as Lancashire Day, this being the day in 1295 when Lancashire sent its first representatives to Parliament. It was first celebrated in 1996 with the Loyal Toast to "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster". Lancashire Day paralleled the similar Yorkshire Day, first held in 1975.

Lancashire Day has been widely publicised, including mentions on the BBC website. [ [ BBC] - "Lancastrians' pride in heritage" ] It has also been supported by both district councils [ [ Lancaster City Council] - Meeting of the Lancaster City Council. 17 December 2003 (PDF)] [ [ Wyre Borough Council] - "Lanky Rules OK On Wyre’s Lancashire Day"] and the county council. [ [ Lancashire County Council] - "News: Lancashire Day Fun" ]


ee also


External links

* [ Friends of Real Lancashire]
* [ The Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire]

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